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Ernest Shackleton’s quest to cross Antarctica could not be completed by the Endurance crew alone.  The Ross Sea party, led by Captain Mackintosh, were tasked with depositing supplies for Shackleton to pick up on the other side of the South Pole.  Without these supply depots, Shackleton and his men would starve to death half-way through their journey.

While the Endurance and her crew were beset in ice, Mackintosh and his men were facing their own life and death struggle.  They were separated from their ship and supplies and stranded on the Ross Ice Shelf.  Knowing that Shackleton’s life was in their hands, they refused to give up, and at great sacrifice to their own health and lives, managed to deposit all of the supplies that Shackleton would have needed, had he been able to begin his cross-continent journey.

Once again, I am overwhelmed by the strength, devotion and sheer determination that these men showed in the face of such a great challenge.  It’s haunting to think that their supply depots, laid at such great cost, were never used, and remain encased in ice and snow to this very day.

A few weeks ago, I read and briefly reviewed a fictionalized account of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition: Shackleton’s Stowaway.  That book was phenomenal, and made me curious to learn more.

Lansing’s account of the Shackleton expedition did not disappoint.  I rarely read non-fiction, and even more seldom will I read a non-fiction history book.  Lansing’s book was not a dry history book, but a fascinating, fast-paced account of Shackleton and his men.  I had a hard time putting it down, and now I’m hooked on this amazing story.

Next up, I plan to read Endurance : An Epic of Polar Adventure, by F.A. Worsley, Captain of the Endurance, and Shackleton’s Forgotten Men : The Untold Tragedy of the Endurance Epic, by Lennard Bickel, which tells the story of the men who were tasked with dropping off supplies for Shackleton to use as he traveled across Antarctica.

Book Overload

08th October 2009

The stack of books on my desk, waiting to be reviewed, is insurmountable.  I will never get to them all.  So for the sake of time, I need to do a combo post.  Here are the books I’ve been reading the past few weeks.  Most of them have been fantastic:

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf–Two young girls are missing in the woods.  Told through multiple perspectives, the families work to find their girls, and one of the girls, Callie, works to regain her voice.  I had a hard time putting this one down.

Day After Night by Anita Diamant–A fictional account of the October 1945 rescue of Jewish detainees from the Atlit internment camp in Israel.  A grim reminder that the plight of the Jews didn’t end with the surrender of Germany.

The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam–The autobiographical account of Somaly Mam, who was sold into prostitution in Cambodia as a young girl, was able to escape, and returned to help other girls.  An amazing and heartbreaking story that continues today.

While I’m Falling by Laura Moriarty–A college student and her mom try to figure life out.  I love the way Moriarty writes about mother-daughter relationships.

Blood on the River: James Town 1607 by Elisa Carbone–A fictional account of Samuel Collier, page to Captain John Smith and his journey to Jamestown.  I read this after having visited Jamestown Settlement.  The book brings the familiar story to life.

The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick–I can’t believe I didn’t discover this book earlier!  A love of reading and writing saves a dystopic civilization.  Great book.

Lost and Found by Andrew Clements–Twin brothers take turns going to school, and in the process, discover who they are as individuals.  Not my favorite by Clements, but well done nonetheless.

Shackleton’s Stowaway by Victoria McKernan–One of the most amazing adventure stories I’ve ever read, based on the real journey made by Ernest Shackleton and his crew as they attempted to cross the Antarctic continent in 1914.  Highly recommended.