Using known facts and details gleaned from the personal diaries of many of the sailors aboard the Endurance, the author has woven a fascinating tale of bravery and adventure. Because it is presented as a gripping story, rather than a stark informational text, this book would be easily accessible to most readers, 12 years and above. The 20 month adventures of this group of men follow an alternating good news, bad news type of plot, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. Although they were unsuccessful in their intended mission to spend “One short Antarctic summer” crossing the Antarctic Continent (a distance of 3000 kilometres), what they actually achieved - surviving 20 months with little food and threadbare clothing and equipment on the coldest continent on Earth - is a way bigger achievement.
Although Shackleton’s bravery is celebrated, he is presented as a real human being and his men are not just bit players in his story, but fully rounded characters in their own right. The anecdotes about Shackelton’s early life, starting from when he was eight, are sprinkled through the first half of the book. These show the development of Shackleton’s personality and what made him not just so able as an explorer, but also a great leader with incredible interpersonal skills.
Title: Shackelton's Endurance; An Antarctic Survival Story
Author: Joanna Grochowicz
Illustrator: Sarah Lippett
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
ISBN: 978 1 76052 609 2
Publication: May 2021
Age Range: young adult upwards
Any advisory warnings? No
Reviewer: Carola Crawford, English teacher, Karanga Mai Young Parents’ College
How are you recommending this book? Highly Recommended
Opening sentence: The explorer has known moments of great excitement and this is one of them.