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Antarctic Accounts

Amundsen 1910-1912 and Shackleton 1914-1917

Narratives of Antarctic exploration and adventure by two world-renowned polar explorers – Captain Roald Amundsen’s account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the “Fram” (1910-1912) and Sir Ernest Shackleton’s account of the British expedition (1914-1917) aboard the Endurance and the Aurora. Amundsen (1872-1928), noted for his efficiency, presents a conversational, candid, and engrossing account of his Norwegian expedition’s successful race, first aboard the Fram and then by dogsled, to be the first to reach the South Pole, arriving on December 14, 1911, a full month before the rival British expedition led by Captain Robert F. Scott. Shackleton (1874-1922), on the other hand, recounts a compelling tale of feats of survival against overwhelming odds. The goal of his expedition (which it failed to achieve, but not for want of perseverance) was to be the first to cross the Antarctic by dogsled. However, the Endurance became trapped in ice floes and was eventually crushed, leaving the twenty-eight members of party to make their way 300 miles across the ice and establish a camp on Elephant Island. From there, Shackleton and five of his men courageously set out by small boat on a sixteen-day journey to Stromness Whaling Station on South Georgia Island to bring help, enduring numbing cold, extreme thirst, and two fierce gales. It is a tribute to Shackleton’s remarkable energy, his tireless persistence, and his admirable leadership qualities that all members of his party survived the extraordinary hazards and dangers encountered by his expedition.