Available to buy from January, a superb new three-volume set of ‘Shackleton’s Antarctica’ celebrates great British explorer Ernest Shackleton on the centenary of his death. The deluxe Folio Society edition combines Shackleton’s gripping accounts of his two most famous expeditions to the frozen wastes of the Antarctic. His daring feats established the renowned polar explorer’s reputation as an inspirational leader with an instinct for survival.
This sumptuous edition from The Folio Society presents ‘The Heart of the Antarctic’ and ‘South’, together for the first time. The complete texts are included, alongside original photographs, drawings, maps, and panoramas. His granddaughter, Alexandra Shackleton, contributes the introduction – an incisive, intimate sketch of his extraordinary character and achievements.
The British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-9 is the subject of The Heart of the Antarctic. After sailing south on Nimrod and overwintering in a cramped hut, Shackleton led three companions to within 97 miles of the Pole. Facing crevasse-ridden terrain, storms, hunger and exhaustion, Shackleton made ‘one of the great decisions of polar history’ – to turn back, saving the lives of his men. This is the most complete edition available, with more than 200 of their photographs – a compelling visual diary of expedition life – plus George Marston’s watercolours and panoramas and fold-out maps in a separate pocket.
After Roald Amundsen claimed the Pole in 1911, Shackleton focused on a new goal. South tells of his attempt to cross the continent by land in the Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-17: a plan thwarted when the Endurance sank, condemning the men to months on the open ice. In a legendary voyage, Shackleton and five companions sailed the 22½-foot James Caird across 800 miles of rough, sunless ocean to raise help in South Georgia. Every man in the Endurance party was saved. Frank Hurley’s photographs – salvaged after the shipwreck – include the most iconic images from the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration. The edition includes almost 90 of them as full pages or spreads, newly digitised from the originals for supreme sharpness and clarity. A pocket with a large fold-out map completes the volume.
In her introduction, the author’s granddaughter Alexandra Shackleton writes: “So, what sort of man was Ernest Shackleton? Pragmatic, always planning, never looking back. A romantic man who wrote poetry and grew up in an era when fine words abounded. The quest for the South Pole was likened to the search for the Holy Grail; yet when he was asked to describe the qualities he required for a polar explorer, he used simple, everyday language and listed: Optimism, Patience, Idealism and Imagination, Courage.”
‘Shackleton’s Antarctica’ is available exclusively from The Folio Society.