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The Lost Men: The Harrowing Saga of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party

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The untold story of the last odyssey of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Antarctic endeavor is legend, but for sheer heroism and tragic nobility, nothing compares to the saga of the Ross Sea party. This crew of explorers landed on the opposite side of Antarctica from the Endurance with a mission to build supply depots for Shackleton’s pla The untold story of the last odyssey of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Antarctic endeavor is legend, but for sheer heroism and tragic nobility, nothing compares to the saga of the Ross Sea party. This crew of explorers landed on the opposite side of Antarctica from the Endurance with a mission to build supply depots for Shackleton’s planned crossing of the continent. But their ship disappeared in a gale, leaving ten inexperienced, ill-equipped men to trek 1,356 miles in the harshest environment on earth. Drawing on the men’s own journals and photographs, The Lost Men is a masterpiece of historical adventure, a book destined to be a classic in the vein of Into Thin Air.


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The untold story of the last odyssey of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Antarctic endeavor is legend, but for sheer heroism and tragic nobility, nothing compares to the saga of the Ross Sea party. This crew of explorers landed on the opposite side of Antarctica from the Endurance with a mission to build supply depots for Shackleton’s pla The untold story of the last odyssey of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Antarctic endeavor is legend, but for sheer heroism and tragic nobility, nothing compares to the saga of the Ross Sea party. This crew of explorers landed on the opposite side of Antarctica from the Endurance with a mission to build supply depots for Shackleton’s planned crossing of the continent. But their ship disappeared in a gale, leaving ten inexperienced, ill-equipped men to trek 1,356 miles in the harshest environment on earth. Drawing on the men’s own journals and photographs, The Lost Men is a masterpiece of historical adventure, a book destined to be a classic in the vein of Into Thin Air.

30 review for The Lost Men: The Harrowing Saga of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    5 glorious stars!!! What a brilliant piece of writing this is! The Lost Men: The Harrowing Saga of Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party is just outstanding and every bit as good as one of the very best books I’ve read in my life—Endurance by Alfred Lansing. Ironically, each of these books tells one half of the same story, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917. The main goal of this expedition was for Ernest Shackleton and his party to be the first to traverse the Antarctic continent. The Sh 5 glorious stars!!! What a brilliant piece of writing this is! The Lost Men: The Harrowing Saga of Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party is just outstanding and every bit as good as one of the very best books I’ve read in my life—Endurance by Alfred Lansing. Ironically, each of these books tells one half of the same story, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917. The main goal of this expedition was for Ernest Shackleton and his party to be the first to traverse the Antarctic continent. The Shackleton party traveled to the Antarctic on the Endurance. The Ross Sea Party, commanded by Aeneas Mackintosh, reached the opposite side of the continent via the ship Aurora. Their mission was to set up depots of food and supplies along the latter part of Shackleton’s proposed journey. Let me tell you, these expeditions were not for sissies. The incredible number of things that went wrong was staggering. Most people know the story of the Endurance, but until Ms. Tyler-Lewis took on the job of writing this book, there was not much known about the Ross Sea Party experience. The author took years to research the book. She traveled extensively, including to Antarctica, to collect as much firsthand information as she could. She was also a visiting scholar of the Scott Polar Research Institute of the University of Cambridge for 2 years. Be sure to read A Note on the Sources at the end of the book which gives a fascinating view of how she went about making the account as factual as possible. Interestingly, before writing this book, she won an Emmy for a historical documentary on a film titled Shackleton’s Voyage of Endurancel (2002). This book grabbed me and didn’t let go. The struggles of the Ross Sea Party are almost unfathomable. I will avoid details in order to not drop spoilers. I will just say these men faced disaster after disaster but for the most part let nothing erode their passion to complete their mission and take care of one another. I would swear it was a novel if I didn’t know it was true. Adding icing to the cake was Ms. Tyler-Lewis’s detailed portrayal of the entire Ross Party team with most of the information gleaned from the men’s personal diaries. This lent the narrative that human touch, which I find so necessary in historical nonfiction. Not only that, but the author also wrote one of the best epilogues ever, two chapters actually, devoting at least several paragraphs to each of all of the main characters revealing how they spent the rest of their lives. I loved this! I will never cease to marvel at the courage, stamina, and drive of these early Antarctic explorers. After reading three nonfiction books covering different polar expeditions, my TBR holds many more of this genre and other nonfiction adventure books. I find them exhilarating and cannot wait to read more. Special thanks to my Goodreads friend George Illsey for highly recommending this book for me. I cannot bear to send this book back to the library, so I am off to buy my own copy now.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    ”Men go out into the void spaces of the world for various reasons,” Sir Ernest Shackleton declared. Is the quote above enough rationalization for the enduring quest of Shackleton for polar exploration? Perhaps not for this woman who deplores the cold and thinks ice is only useful in a drink on a 90-degree day. Shackleton’s first venture to the Antarctic interior left he and his men trapped for almost a year and rocketed him to heroism. This story has been captured on paper in many fine books abo ”Men go out into the void spaces of the world for various reasons,” Sir Ernest Shackleton declared. Is the quote above enough rationalization for the enduring quest of Shackleton for polar exploration? Perhaps not for this woman who deplores the cold and thinks ice is only useful in a drink on a 90-degree day. Shackleton’s first venture to the Antarctic interior left he and his men trapped for almost a year and rocketed him to heroism. This story has been captured on paper in many fine books about the Endurance. For all that went wrong in that journey, this second little known outing was even worse, ill planned and seemingly doomed to fail from the start. ”This is hell.” to say the least, not only for the men of The Ross Party who were charged with establishing supply depots for the dogs that were to pull their sleds. It’s amazing anyone lives (three men died) which attests to the strong spirit of these men to survive. A book group pick, I’m glad we read it, as I might not have picked it up on my own. One voyage to this region, that of the Endurance, might have been enough for me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    I had the unique "honor" of recommending this book without reservation to the author. We were at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA and while browsing in the gift shop I was next to a woman who was looking at the book. When I said that she must read it as it was one the most riveting books that had read in quite awhile. The man with her said, "Thank you, this is the author". I wish I had my copy with me! I had the unique "honor" of recommending this book without reservation to the author. We were at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA and while browsing in the gift shop I was next to a woman who was looking at the book. When I said that she must read it as it was one the most riveting books that had read in quite awhile. The man with her said, "Thank you, this is the author". I wish I had my copy with me!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rachelfm

    I ripped right through Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage and I'm so glad that I didn't let that be the last word on the matter of this expedition. The only real criticism I had for Endurance was that its page-turning reportage left no room for reflection and context. Historian Kelly Tyler-Lewis provided that in spades in The Lost Men and I see them as ideal companion volumes. Stylistically, you get Lansing's journalism and then Tyler-Lewis' methodical historical narrative. These books are I ripped right through Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage and I'm so glad that I didn't let that be the last word on the matter of this expedition. The only real criticism I had for Endurance was that its page-turning reportage left no room for reflection and context. Historian Kelly Tyler-Lewis provided that in spades in The Lost Men and I see them as ideal companion volumes. Stylistically, you get Lansing's journalism and then Tyler-Lewis' methodical historical narrative. These books are also a product of their times, as Lansing was able to interview members of the party and Tyler-Lewis was entirely reliant upon journals and other written records to get the first-hand opinions of the party. Tyler-Lewis provides a lot of background information on the funding, wrangling, and public politicking around outfitting the expedition as the First World War dawned. Because the Ross Sea Party was departing Australia/New Zealand to lay supply depot across Antarctica, Shackleton was out of touch when the Aurora set sail, and the ship under the command of Aeneas Mackintosh was woefully under-manned, under-provisioned, under-dogged and under-outfitted. Essentially, Shackleton was too concerned about getting the Endurance out of port as England declared war to fully engage with the outfitting of the Aurora. Coming off reading Lansing, anything about Shackleton that is less than reverent hagiography is pretty hard to take, but Tyler-Lewis makes a great case for why a "chain of command" type leader like Mackintosh would flounder when needing to improvise ala Shackleton. Mackintosh's faults and limitations as a commander are clear in this book, but I think that in the balance, Tyler-Lewis provides some real insights about class hierarchy, cultural differences and the differences in expectations of people with Royal Navy backgrounds vs. civilians The other thing to consider is that despite the arguably more arduous nature of the Ross Sea Party's expedition is that they actually fulfilled their objective, whereas Shackleton never set foot on the continent. Marooned with few supplies, they met their mission with a sledging accomplishment that still stands as the greatest of its kind a century later. While this wasn't the breathless page-turner and sleep-loser that Endurance was, I can say it inspired some benign child neglect and was an excellent example of narrative non-fiction.

  5. 5 out of 5

    George K. Ilsley

    Brilliant, detailed and gripping. A more complete account than a previous book on the same topic (Shackleton's Forgotten Men: The Untold Tragedy of the Endurance Epic). Shackleton's Ross Sea party were intended to help him cross the continent, and while waiting and preparing have their own tales of adventure, discovery, and endurance. [Small spoiler: It is deeply frustrating that after all the effort expended to bring Mackintosh to the cabin, he later made an unnecessary trip on the ice, never to Brilliant, detailed and gripping. A more complete account than a previous book on the same topic (Shackleton's Forgotten Men: The Untold Tragedy of the Endurance Epic). Shackleton's Ross Sea party were intended to help him cross the continent, and while waiting and preparing have their own tales of adventure, discovery, and endurance. [Small spoiler: It is deeply frustrating that after all the effort expended to bring Mackintosh to the cabin, he later made an unnecessary trip on the ice, never to be seen again.] The saga of the Ross Sea Party is in its own way every bit as thrilling as Shackleton's own more well-known adventure.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    Unreservedly 5 stars. This is the epic, harrowing tale of the Ross Sea Party, the lesser known half of Shackleton's attempt to make the first ever crossing of the Antarctic continent. Shackleton failed even to start his crossing but the Ross Sea Party, charged with laying depots of provisions at regular points south of the Pole, didn't know that. Risking their lives and losing three men in the process, they carried out Shackleton's orders in their entirety. The boat that landed them, the Aurora, Unreservedly 5 stars. This is the epic, harrowing tale of the Ross Sea Party, the lesser known half of Shackleton's attempt to make the first ever crossing of the Antarctic continent. Shackleton failed even to start his crossing but the Ross Sea Party, charged with laying depots of provisions at regular points south of the Pole, didn't know that. Risking their lives and losing three men in the process, they carried out Shackleton's orders in their entirety. The boat that landed them, the Aurora, was nearly lost and stranded the men on the ice for over 2 years. This is an excellent account using primary sources throughout. It's harrowing and tragic, frustrating and nail biting but never boring. At the end, the author tells us what became of all the men, some of them losing their lives towards the end of WWI, others living to ripe old ages and enjoying the resurgence of interest in their adventure towards the end of their lives. Highly recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    Excellent book! Very compelling book about the struggles of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party who sailed to the other side of the Antarctic to lay supply depots for Shackleton's attempt to be the first explorer to cross the Antarctic. Very well researched. I liked the analysis of their lack of nutrition, the voyage did not have nearly enough financial backing to properly outfit the ship and men, and the information about the physical and mental struggles the men had to overcome. Many direct quotes fro Excellent book! Very compelling book about the struggles of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party who sailed to the other side of the Antarctic to lay supply depots for Shackleton's attempt to be the first explorer to cross the Antarctic. Very well researched. I liked the analysis of their lack of nutrition, the voyage did not have nearly enough financial backing to properly outfit the ship and men, and the information about the physical and mental struggles the men had to overcome. Many direct quotes from the men's diaries.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    The story of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party and its iron will to survive atrocious conditions, and crushing setbacks, including the enforced separation from the ship 'Aurora' to lay depots for the main exploration party which never arrived. Despite personality clashes, and grievance; a deficit of emotional intelligence, and high level of inexperience, this group of men endured what few will ever experience. The brutal and unforgiving Antarctic. That most of them came home again is a testament to hu The story of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party and its iron will to survive atrocious conditions, and crushing setbacks, including the enforced separation from the ship 'Aurora' to lay depots for the main exploration party which never arrived. Despite personality clashes, and grievance; a deficit of emotional intelligence, and high level of inexperience, this group of men endured what few will ever experience. The brutal and unforgiving Antarctic. That most of them came home again is a testament to human endurance, both physical and psychological. If you have read 'Shackleton' by Ranulph Fiennes. This book is a perfect follow-up.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Greg Brozeit

    The history of polar exploration is filled with human stories on spectrum scaled from despicable-to-craven-to-stupid-to-naïve-to-ambitious-to-noble-to-heroic. The Lost Men, which closes the chapter on the early age of Antarctic exploration, touches on all these emotions to tell a tragic and, ultimately, uplifting story about what happened on the other side of the continent of Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition. I'm always amazed, despite the experience they had, how the British expeditions s The history of polar exploration is filled with human stories on spectrum scaled from despicable-to-craven-to-stupid-to-naïve-to-ambitious-to-noble-to-heroic. The Lost Men, which closes the chapter on the early age of Antarctic exploration, touches on all these emotions to tell a tragic and, ultimately, uplifting story about what happened on the other side of the continent of Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition. I'm always amazed, despite the experience they had, how the British expeditions stuck with outmoded ideas and plans in the polar regions. For example, Amundsen and even Peary understood, after living among the Inuit, how to clothe themselves there. Yet the British stuck with canvas and Burberry. Amundsen and Peary understood how to use dogs, but the British continued to downplay their effectiveness and resorted to tortuous man-hauling. It normally inspired great storytelling but at the expense of great tragedy. Tyler-Lewis's story seems eerily repetitive for those well-versed in these subjects. Most students of polar history know about the Shackleton expedition’s epic struggle of survival following the disaster of the Endurance. Few know about the expedition of the Aurora which was responsible of the laying of supply depots to help Shackleton’s expedition to finish the journey. This book should be read by anyone interested in understanding the entire story. It’s not the place to begin reading, but it is certainly the place to complete the tale.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Parnell

    This book is an abject reminder on the difference that leadership, experience and professionalism plays. We all know the story of Ernest Shackleton and his parties survival in an impossible situation for literally years in Antarctica with the ship Endurance . This book is about the other half of the expedition, who were sent around the other side of Antarctica to lay a series of caches for Shackletons overland party to be resupplied on their way across the continent. Due to poor planning, there This book is an abject reminder on the difference that leadership, experience and professionalism plays. We all know the story of Ernest Shackleton and his parties survival in an impossible situation for literally years in Antarctica with the ship Endurance . This book is about the other half of the expedition, who were sent around the other side of Antarctica to lay a series of caches for Shackletons overland party to be resupplied on their way across the continent. Due to poor planning, there was a lack of supplies, poor communication led to the party unnecessarily trying to lay caches when there was no need for the rush, which led to losing most of the sled dogs in the first season. This then led to the men doing the pulling of supplies in the second season. Lack of experience and bad decisions such as storing most of the supplies on the ship, which was damaged and carried away by the ice, led to severe food shortages. BUT and the biggest but of all is, nothing compares to bravery and determination. The party accomplished what they set out to do and went into the record books for Antarctic travel, supplies moved. And surviving three years with a shortage of clothes, food and fuel. I have always been a fan of Ernest Shackleton, but it is fast growing to include all of the Victorian era explorers.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tuck

    yet another take on the Endurance voyage. You would not believe what these fellows went through, it wadn't no chicha song that's for sure. yet another take on the Endurance voyage. You would not believe what these fellows went through, it wadn't no chicha song that's for sure.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Shackleton was a great personality, well-suited to individual grasps at renown and ill-suited to work within the confines of the Royal Navy’s strictures and regimented hierarchies and rules. His differences with Scott were obvious, and while Scott had official support and was willing to be controlled, Shackleton had neither the support nor the willingness to operate by another’s commands. His first expedition in 1907 was grueling but led to several firsts - farthest south, scaling Mount Erebus, Shackleton was a great personality, well-suited to individual grasps at renown and ill-suited to work within the confines of the Royal Navy’s strictures and regimented hierarchies and rules. His differences with Scott were obvious, and while Scott had official support and was willing to be controlled, Shackleton had neither the support nor the willingness to operate by another’s commands. His first expedition in 1907 was grueling but led to several firsts - farthest south, scaling Mount Erebus, attaining the South Magnetic Pole - but it was his willingness to sacrifice glory for survival on that trek that made him in the eyes of other famed explorers like Nansen and Amundsen. “A live donkey is better than a dead lion”. Words to live by! Ha! After being bested to the South Pole by Amundsen and learning of Scott’s stupidly tragic death in his parallel venture-race, Shackleton needed a new challenge. So he decided traversing Antarctica by land was it, calling his effort the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. I wondered if his use of the word Imperial was to effect monetary or supply donations from the British government, or just a way to make a seemingly impossible venture sound appropriately grandiose. Whichever was the case, he soon found support from many places was not as forthcoming as he had hoped, though he eventually would get what he needed, if only just. His thirst for adventure now had a goal, and planning would be rushed so he could set sail quickly. Eschewing in-depth planning and preparation - Amundsen’s polar trip took two years to set up - Shackleton gave himself eight months, believing as much in actual requirements as on his pluck and ingenuity, the latter two things having served him well enough in his daring 1907 trek. Time would tell if history would repeat itself, or if harsher times were ahead. I found it fascinating that so many of the British’s prejudices influenced the planning and execution of these treks. Goes to show how idiotic and deadly perceived self-importance and cultural superiority are. Even more amazing was how scientists had still not figured out the cause of scurvy, a dreadful and often deadly disease that killed more than a million sailors during the centuries of sea adventures and polar expeditions. Amazing how all this was happening as WWI was getting started, an event that would alter the world for generations. More amazing was the world these men returned to, and that some would even go off to serve in the military in defense of their nations. Nice snapshot bios of most of the men on the expedition, gave some flavor to the telling, but didn’t bog down the narrative with too much extraneous information. As with other polar expeditions, so much of the success or failure resided in the crew’s ability to work as a team, avoid dissension, and adapt not only to the conditions, but to each member’s reactions, physical and mental, to the work in front of them. Mackintosh was a British Navy man, and his style rankled with those with more polar experience and used to Shackleton’s willingness to take advantage of each man’s talents as needed, not simply fall back on rank and privilege for order and progress. By constantly and consistently fighting his men for respect and superiority, he made the results of their work more in doubt, irrespective of unforeseen factors. Still, he was willing to shoulder the responsibility, and while some of the men found it easy to nitpick and argue, they were like most critics, overly harsh yet unwilling to share the blame but more than happy to trumpet their own successes. I don’t think Shackleton did too poorly or too grandly with his men, and while they ultimately succeeded in spades when put to the ultimate hardships, much of their early struggles seemed due to lack of initiative, following rank too strictly or too haphazardly, and a general misunderstanding of the rigors of the weather and its impact on the human body’s functioning and the mind's willingness to cooperate or shut down completely. Bringing dogs was a gamble, as the unschooled British “experts” saw them as low class animals, no decent replacement for horses, a true British man’s animal. Gawd, what fucks the Brits were! Even so, they brought dogs, but they fared quite poorly. None of the men had any experience with running sled dogs, which made the dogs hard to manage and had the men seeing the dogs as unruly beasts, instead of the probably capable animals they could have been. Worse, the breeds they used were ill-suited to the conditions and fared more poorly as a result. Compounding that, the food they had was a mix of ingredients more suited to silly, idling lap dogs, not hard-working sled dogs. The expectation was the dogs were expendable, something modern readers find repulsive and cruel. Many of those same people probably eat beef and chicken from agro-business capitalists, so I find their dissent silly and hypocritical, and well off the mark. Animals have been used by man as work and feed animals for millennia, so utilizing dogs for this purpose made sense, though the treatment of many of the dogs was unduly appalling and horribly unnecessary. In keeping with the Brits and their asshattery, they never considered eating the dogs for sustenance, even as the men starved and suffered. Ah, man-hauling. That quintessentially British chore that bespoke of the true character and quality of man. Patently ridiculous, as man-hauling was exceedingly inefficient for moving things, considering the appalling conditions, and extremely draining on food stores, as the more weight a man moved the more calories he needed to perform the arduous task. Truth be told, few men enjoyed or even wished to haul (besides maybe Amundsen...), but their lack of planning, foresight, and intelligence (to bring the proper, trained dogs, for example) meant the least effective and most draining of chores was needed all too often. How they managed to move so much to so many depots is extraordinary and quite admirable, even so. Accurate though they were, the ending chapters detracted from the thrilling aspects of what came before them, as the egos and poor qualities of some of the major players who decided to vent their frustrations and opinions with little care as to their truth or impact caused much in the way of unneeded strife. But that ugliness can hardly be put on the author of the narrative here, as much as it was bad reading at least it gave full color to the men. All told, this was a fascinating book that details with aplomb the truly heroic and nearly unbelievable efforts put forth by the Ross Sea Party in their desire to do as they promised for Shackleton’s Antarctic trek. One could argue their accomplishments exceed Shackleton’s sea travails, but it is just as easily said both show the strengths that lies in most men untapped can be called to bear if one simply trusts, and tries.

  13. 4 out of 5

    H L

    The story of the Endurance and Shackleton's incredible ordeal has been told in many books, but the story of the other half of his expedition team that started on the far side of Antarctica with plans to meet him halfway and provision the latter part of his journey is largely unknown. If anything it's even more harrowing, and it was certainly less successful in that the entire team definitely did not make it out alive. While Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage deserves 5 stars, I'm only goin The story of the Endurance and Shackleton's incredible ordeal has been told in many books, but the story of the other half of his expedition team that started on the far side of Antarctica with plans to meet him halfway and provision the latter part of his journey is largely unknown. If anything it's even more harrowing, and it was certainly less successful in that the entire team definitely did not make it out alive. While Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage deserves 5 stars, I'm only going 4 here, mainly because there's a somewhat stilted educational thesis feel to the beginning of the book. This soon fades, however, as the narrative builds, and the story told is every bit as compelling as that of the more famous party. In fact, the moderate distance the author builds with her slightly formal writing may have been a good thing - reading of the incredible deprivations and sacrifices these few men suffered through is hard enough; were the writing such as to draw one in completely in identifying with the characters, the story might be too painful to read. Highly recommend this in addition to Endurance.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gary Detrick

    For those who have read the some of the great Antarctic discovery literature, Shackleton's Forgotten Men, The Worst Journey In The World, An Empire of Ice, Endurance, Etc. This is a must read. The sacrifice these men made to successfully complete the depots, of which Shackleton never even made it to is epic in its own right. An amazing well written and documented account. Not only did Shackleton have to make a trip to rescue his crew from the Endurance tragedy, he also endeavored himself to make For those who have read the some of the great Antarctic discovery literature, Shackleton's Forgotten Men, The Worst Journey In The World, An Empire of Ice, Endurance, Etc. This is a must read. The sacrifice these men made to successfully complete the depots, of which Shackleton never even made it to is epic in its own right. An amazing well written and documented account. Not only did Shackleton have to make a trip to rescue his crew from the Endurance tragedy, he also endeavored himself to make sure his surviving Ross Sea Party team were personally rescued. Another important account of the early history of Antarctic exploration.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Schopflin

    This took me some time to get into but it's a very good book. The story is much more complex than Scott's polar mission or even Shackleton's Weddell Sea party survival. There are more people in more diverse situations. But each part is clearly and compellingly told. Some of the personalities came across very clearly and I was struck by the picture the author paints of an expedition out of its time. By the time the survivors returned, the First World War had changed attitudes to discovery and per This took me some time to get into but it's a very good book. The story is much more complex than Scott's polar mission or even Shackleton's Weddell Sea party survival. There are more people in more diverse situations. But each part is clearly and compellingly told. Some of the personalities came across very clearly and I was struck by the picture the author paints of an expedition out of its time. By the time the survivors returned, the First World War had changed attitudes to discovery and personal heroism for its own sake. Although this side of the expedition actually achieved what it set out to do, it is a sadder story because Shackleton's rescue was such an extraordinary achievement.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Greg Miller

    Shackleton's expedition to the South Pole ended in disaster in every possible way, and this is the story that almost no one knows. Reading about the Ross Sea Party, what they accomplished, and why was a pretty amazing story. The British are some crazy people. Adventures like this just dont happen anymore, whether that is good or bad i dont know. Shackleton's expedition to the South Pole ended in disaster in every possible way, and this is the story that almost no one knows. Reading about the Ross Sea Party, what they accomplished, and why was a pretty amazing story. The British are some crazy people. Adventures like this just dont happen anymore, whether that is good or bad i dont know.

  17. 4 out of 5

    SierraKiloBravo

    Video version of this review: https://youtu.be/grKaVWQEVWs “Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised.” This quote from a member of the Ross Sea party pretty much sums up their experiences as shared in the most excellent book, The Lost Men, written by Kelly Tyler-Lewis. I came across this book while doing research for my documentary on the box of photos chipped out of the ice in Antarctica, which turned out to be from the Ross Sea Video version of this review: https://youtu.be/grKaVWQEVWs “Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised.” This quote from a member of the Ross Sea party pretty much sums up their experiences as shared in the most excellent book, The Lost Men, written by Kelly Tyler-Lewis. I came across this book while doing research for my documentary on the box of photos chipped out of the ice in Antarctica, which turned out to be from the Ross Sea party. So what is the Ross Sea party, and what is this book about? Well, here is the blurb: The untold story of the last odyssey of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Antarctic endeavor is legend, but for sheer heroism and tragic nobility, nothing compares to the saga of the Ross Sea party. This crew of explorers landed on the opposite side of Antarctica from the Endurance with a mission to build supply depots for Shackleton’s planned crossing of the continent. But their ship disappeared in a gale, leaving ten inexperienced, ill-equipped men to trek 1,356 miles in the harshest environment on earth. This book was riveting from start to finish. It didn’t matter if it was admin stuff like arranging finance for the mission, or the grind of the mission itself, or the struggles to survive Tyler-Lewis writes in a way that keeps you turning the page looking for what happens next. Her narrative swaps between her research and quotes and comments from the diaries of the men themselves from the mission, in fact the use of the diaries really helps make this come alive. The story itself is incredible, and time and again throughout I wondered how I would have survived there. If I had to treat the frostbitten eye-socket of my team mate, if my ankles had swollen to three times their usual size due to the cold, if I couldn’t bathe for two years, or if I could eat a loyal sled dog because there was nothing else left to eat. I loved this book and was disappointed that there was no more to read at the end. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes true life stories of the exploration of wild frontiers, the power of determination, and humans prevailing against incredible odds.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Leslie McNamara

    Though not the first book I have read about Shackleton and his explorations, this was the first account about the other side of his grand plan to cross the Antarctic. Other readings had me view Shackleton as a hero and a great explorer and leader. After reading this account, my impressions of him have changed dramatically. Still perhaps a great explorer, he seemed to be much better in a crisis than in planning and fundraising, leaving this Ross Sea party in great peril. This well written account Though not the first book I have read about Shackleton and his explorations, this was the first account about the other side of his grand plan to cross the Antarctic. Other readings had me view Shackleton as a hero and a great explorer and leader. After reading this account, my impressions of him have changed dramatically. Still perhaps a great explorer, he seemed to be much better in a crisis than in planning and fundraising, leaving this Ross Sea party in great peril. This well written account was both a wonderful read and a maddening adventure into the past. It was amazing to me how devoted to Shackleton were the men he put in charge. "In the face of calamity, [the men] persevered contrary to the very instinct of survival. When the Aurora disappeared with most of their clothing, food, and equipment aboard, the stranded men chose to risk their own lives for the sake of Shackleton, a man most of them had met only briefly, or not at all. Believing that his life and those of his companions depended upon them, the Ross Sea party made do with homemade clothing, scavenged food, and salvaged gear, marching 1,300 miles to build the lifeline of depots for Shackleton's party. It was an extraordinarily selfless act, carried out with singular fortitude." I was happy to read that, finally, Shackleton made it possible to reach the stranded men who had made this brave passage. Yes, Shackleton was a hero in the Weddell Sea loss of the Endurance, but it must be noted that the Ross Sea party actually succeeded in their mission.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    An interesting story of the Ross sea party and their depot-laying duties as the auxiliary team for Shackleton's trans-antarctic journey. I would only recommend this as a supplementary book for those that have already read or learned of the Endurance voyage (from the main party perspective), because there is very little in this book about the preparations and contingency measures that Shackleton and the Endurance crew went through. That being said, it is a great addition to read alongside (or aft An interesting story of the Ross sea party and their depot-laying duties as the auxiliary team for Shackleton's trans-antarctic journey. I would only recommend this as a supplementary book for those that have already read or learned of the Endurance voyage (from the main party perspective), because there is very little in this book about the preparations and contingency measures that Shackleton and the Endurance crew went through. That being said, it is a great addition to read alongside (or after) Lansing's or Worsley's Endurance, with my personal recommendation being Lansing's account. This book focuses on the depot-laying team of the (stranded) Ross sea party, and unfortunately does not cover much aboard the ship after it loses it's moorings while captained by Stenhouse. It focuses mainly on the Mackintosh-led shore party, and their efforts in laying the depots required of them by Shackleton. The book does a great job covering their journey, and gave detail into a piece of this story that most other books fail to cover (although I have read that Shackleton's South does offer several chapters on the Ross sea party). I really appreciated the detail paid to the relationship and tension between Joyce and Mackintosh, which I think is quite an important detail considering their eventual fates. Overall I think this is definitely a worthwhile book when used as supplemental material to the story of the main Endurance party, but reading it without that context may raise too many questions for the unaccustomed reader. 3.5/5

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    In my day job as an acquisitions editor of History books, I often find myself puzzled by the conclusions of the academics I refer to – especially those who study periods of time I experienced in person such as the 1980s. My kneejerk reaction is often to think ‘that’s not how I remember it’ – but of course a historian can stand aside from the action with the benefit of hindsight and therefore can usually provide a more accurate, bird’s eye perspective on events. That is the case here. Having recen In my day job as an acquisitions editor of History books, I often find myself puzzled by the conclusions of the academics I refer to – especially those who study periods of time I experienced in person such as the 1980s. My kneejerk reaction is often to think ‘that’s not how I remember it’ – but of course a historian can stand aside from the action with the benefit of hindsight and therefore can usually provide a more accurate, bird’s eye perspective on events. That is the case here. Having recently read first-hand accounts of polar exploration from Robert Scott and Apsley Cherry-Garrard, the author here constructs a more wholly convincing account of the events she recounts, taking into account multiple perspectives. She also has an eye for a great story and the book at times reads like a novel. It is also no less convincing for being an account of a support party that is less well known that the ‘big man’ discourse of Antarctic history. The explorers are shown with all their foibles and petty rivalries.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    Such a fascinating and sad true story of the men who worked themselves - sometimes to death - to lay out stores for Shackleton's cross-continental Antarctic trip. As they faced daily temperatures well below freezing, frostbite, gangrene, polar blizzards, starvation, and scurvy, the men of the Ross Sea Party plodded hundreds of miles through the snow and ice to leave food and supplies for the incoming Shackleton party. Unable to communicate with the outside world, these men didn't even know that Such a fascinating and sad true story of the men who worked themselves - sometimes to death - to lay out stores for Shackleton's cross-continental Antarctic trip. As they faced daily temperatures well below freezing, frostbite, gangrene, polar blizzards, starvation, and scurvy, the men of the Ross Sea Party plodded hundreds of miles through the snow and ice to leave food and supplies for the incoming Shackleton party. Unable to communicate with the outside world, these men didn't even know that Shackleton had never landed on the continent because his ship, the Endurance, was trapped in the ice. An inspirational story of men working heroically against the odds to help their fellow men. The author describes the setting so well, using primary sources such as the men's journals, that the reader can't help but feel the chill of the arctic air even in the heat of summer.

  22. 4 out of 5

    David

    Shackleton’s famous expedition hoped to have his ship, the Endurance, drop a party off in the Wendell Sea to then cross Antarctica. The party would find a set of depots filled with food and other supplies placed there by a party on the ship Aurora in the Ross Sea. Many books have been written about the Endurance, this book is about the Aurora. Like the Endurance, the Aurora ran into horrific trouble, stranding the depot-placing party on the ice for well over a year. Three members of the party die Shackleton’s famous expedition hoped to have his ship, the Endurance, drop a party off in the Wendell Sea to then cross Antarctica. The party would find a set of depots filled with food and other supplies placed there by a party on the ship Aurora in the Ross Sea. Many books have been written about the Endurance, this book is about the Aurora. Like the Endurance, the Aurora ran into horrific trouble, stranding the depot-placing party on the ice for well over a year. Three members of the party died. All others were eventually rescued. An amazing story of resilience. This book is a bit different from other books about the Endurance in that Tyler-Lewis includes the animosity between members of the crew and members of the crew and Shackleton. Tyler-Lewis also includes criticism of Shackleton from many people. And she ends the book with brief capsules about each of the crew members.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    Fascinating read about the incredible bravery, fortitude and will to survive of the Ross Sea Party. When Shackleton set about to cross the Antarctic continent in 1914, he had a group go to the southern part of the continent to walk several hundred miles to lay depots knowing that he and his group would run out of food and supplies well before they made it to the other side. Many accounts are written of Shackleton's failed adventure. Very few are written about the Ross Sea Party, the brave men wh Fascinating read about the incredible bravery, fortitude and will to survive of the Ross Sea Party. When Shackleton set about to cross the Antarctic continent in 1914, he had a group go to the southern part of the continent to walk several hundred miles to lay depots knowing that he and his group would run out of food and supplies well before they made it to the other side. Many accounts are written of Shackleton's failed adventure. Very few are written about the Ross Sea Party, the brave men who went about carrying out their duty against all odds and succeeding in their task despite frostbite, scurvy, severe malnutrition, inadequate clothing, tents and supplies. Three of these men sacrificed their life for this feat. Well written and I learned a lot.

  24. 5 out of 5

    evie

    no spoilers! this is the first i have read about the other men with shackleton, not sure why more isn't written about these men. i hope to find more but since this writing is based off personal diaries problem won't be better or different. contractually, all diaries were required to be turned over to shackleton. in my opinion i think shackleton was negligent in clear and concise instructions. had he been, this could had prevented some problems within this small group. this read is a bit dry, and no spoilers! this is the first i have read about the other men with shackleton, not sure why more isn't written about these men. i hope to find more but since this writing is based off personal diaries problem won't be better or different. contractually, all diaries were required to be turned over to shackleton. in my opinion i think shackleton was negligent in clear and concise instructions. had he been, this could had prevented some problems within this small group. this read is a bit dry, and though dire, somewhat unemotional in delivery. i do recommend this as a good read and think 3.5 stars.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kirsteen Gordon

    There is something wild and restless in man. In this book, a historic account of the absolutely heroic selfless efforts of the few stranded survivors from the Trans Antarctic Expedition when their supply ship, the Aurora broke her moorings and drifted out to sea. Leaving them behind in what must be the most inhospitable continent in the world to still carry out their original task against insurmountable odds and drop supplies off across the continent so their fellow explorers would not starve to There is something wild and restless in man. In this book, a historic account of the absolutely heroic selfless efforts of the few stranded survivors from the Trans Antarctic Expedition when their supply ship, the Aurora broke her moorings and drifted out to sea. Leaving them behind in what must be the most inhospitable continent in the world to still carry out their original task against insurmountable odds and drop supplies off across the continent so their fellow explorers would not starve to death. It was not just a battle against the elements but human nature whittled to the core exposing the best and worst of us. An engaging read and one to share.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kevan

    Really interesting read, wanted a change from detective stories, and hadn't read a tale of real adventure for a long time. Told from the collected Journals of the people involved, liked that it seems to tell the real story from different perspectives and not too judgmental. Liked that it added at the end what became of the main characters, took a little time to get going but eventually steamed along to tell the somewhat sad story of needless adventure which went from support actions to become th Really interesting read, wanted a change from detective stories, and hadn't read a tale of real adventure for a long time. Told from the collected Journals of the people involved, liked that it seems to tell the real story from different perspectives and not too judgmental. Liked that it added at the end what became of the main characters, took a little time to get going but eventually steamed along to tell the somewhat sad story of needless adventure which went from support actions to become the main event.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Another fabulous true story from the golden age of exploration. I am already a big fan and this very much warts and all story revealed yet more heroics and failings that make up the history Antarctic exploration. The Ross Sea Party have become very much the bridesmaids to Shackleton's bride but their experiences are no less heroic or worthy of recognition, in fact perhaps their success at achieving their goals against the odds should have made them at least equal in recognition. A well written and Another fabulous true story from the golden age of exploration. I am already a big fan and this very much warts and all story revealed yet more heroics and failings that make up the history Antarctic exploration. The Ross Sea Party have become very much the bridesmaids to Shackleton's bride but their experiences are no less heroic or worthy of recognition, in fact perhaps their success at achieving their goals against the odds should have made them at least equal in recognition. A well written and gripping book and a must for any fan of this genre.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Pritzker

    Absolutely should be on life's required reading list! A story of heros, explorers, hardships, survival, and grit that was lost, until Kelly Tyler-Lewis dug deep into the history of early arctic exploration. What she meticulously researched and uncovered is a page turner of mind-blowing, gut-wrenching American history. Shame on us for forgetting the Ross Sea Party. I found eery similiarities between early arctic expeditions and alpine expeditions. I cannot get enough literature about these forgott Absolutely should be on life's required reading list! A story of heros, explorers, hardships, survival, and grit that was lost, until Kelly Tyler-Lewis dug deep into the history of early arctic exploration. What she meticulously researched and uncovered is a page turner of mind-blowing, gut-wrenching American history. Shame on us for forgetting the Ross Sea Party. I found eery similiarities between early arctic expeditions and alpine expeditions. I cannot get enough literature about these forgotten early explorers.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Derek Cooper

    After reading about Shackleton’s expedition to cross the Antarctic continent from the Weddell Sea, I felt there must surely be a story for the companion expedition to meet them on the ‘other side’ in the Ross Sea. This book is that story. It’s very well told, with warts and all details of extreme courage and sacrifice, as well as the understandable frictions that developed under intense adversity.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brace1737

    Ernest Shackleton led the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expeditioning in August, 1914. Two ships were used- The Endurance and the Aurora. While many books have been written on the Endurance, the Aurora and her crew needed and deserved a book of their own, Kelly Tyler Lewis has done detailed research and the result is an adventure story of survival worthy of your consideration. Comment: Readers nothing nothing about this epic adventure would be wise to read Endurance by Alfred Lansing first.

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