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Ernest Henry Shackleton


Date Born: 2/15/1874
Place of Birth: Athy, Ireland

Date Died: 1/25/0

Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton CVO, OBE (February 15, 1874 – January 5, 1922) was an Anglo-Irish explorer, now chiefly remembered for his Antarctic expedition of 1914–1916 in the ship Endurance. Shackleton was born at Kilkea House, near Athy, County Kildare, Ireland in 1874, and served as a merchant marine officer, becoming a captain in the Royal Naval Reserve. He went to school at Dulwich College from 1887 to 1890. In 1890 Shackleton announced that he wasn't going to follow his father into a medical career. He later joined Union Castle line, England's most prestigious shipping company. Shackleton did this to impress the father of Emily Dorman, whom he married in 1904. They had three children: Raymond, Cecily and Edward.

Shackleton's first experience in exploration was in the National Antarctic Expedition, which was organized by the Royal Geographical Society in 1901, and led by Robert Falcon Scott. He may have placed what has become one of the world's most famous advertisements in the Times of London in December 1901: "Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success."

Shackleton with Scott and Dr Edward Wilson trekked south towards the South Pole in 1902. The journey proceeded under difficult conditions, partially the result of their own inexperience with the Antarctic environment, poor choices and preparation and the pervading assumption that all obstacles could be overcome with personal fortitude. They used dogs, but failed to understand how to handle them. As with most of the early British expeditions, food was foolishly in short supply; the personnel on long treks were usually underfed by any sensible measure and were essentially starving. Scott, Wilson and Shackleton made their "furthest south" of 82°17'S on December 31, 1902. They were 463 nautical miles (857 km) from the Pole. Shackleton developed scurvy on the return trip and Dr. Wilson suffered from snow blindness at intervals.

When Morning relieved the expedition in early 1903, Scott had Shackleton returned to England, though he had nearly fully recovered. There is some suggestion that Scott disliked Shackleton's popularity in the expedition and used his health as an excuse to remove him; he was Merchant Marine and Scott was Royal Navy—which was also part of the contention with whether Albert Armitage was to remain for the second winter. In part, Scott exhibited unusual stamina and may not have recognized differing abilities of others.

Shackleton organized and led the "British Antarctic Expedition" (1907–1909) to Antarctica. The primary and stated goal was to reach the South Pole. The expedition is also called the Nimrod Expedition after its ship. Shackleton's base camp was built on Ross Island at Cape Royds, approximately 20 miles (40 km) north of the Scott's Hut of the 1901–1904 expedition; the hut built at this camp in 1908 is on the list of the World Monuments Watch's 100 most endangered sites [2]. Because of poor success with dogs during Scott's 1901–1904 expedition, Shackleton used Manchurian ponies for transport, which did not prove successful.

Accomplishments of the expedition included the first ascent of Mount Erebus, the active volcano of Ross Island; the location of the Magnetic South Pole by Douglas Mawson, Edgeworth David and MacKay (January 16, 1909); and locating the Beardmore Glacier passage. Shackleton, with Wild, Marshall, and Adams, reached 88°23'S: a point only 180 km (97 nautical miles) from the South Pole. While the expedition did not make it to the pole, nonetheless, Shackleton, Adams, Marshall, and Wild were the first men to not only cross the Trans-Antarctic mountain range, but also the first men to set foot on the South Polar Plateau.

Shackleton returned to the United Kingdom a hero and was immediately knighted. For three years he was able to bask in the glory of being "the man who reached furthest to the south." Of his failure to reach the South Pole, Shackleton remarked: "Better a live donkey than a dead lion." It should, however, be pointed out that Shackleton and his group were exceedingly fortunate to return from the Pole. They had cut rations severely, such that there was no margin of safety. They had very good weather throughout their return, in contrast to Scott's experience three years later.

The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition set out from London on August 1, 1914 with the goal of crossing the Antarctic from a location near Vahsel Bay on the south side of the Weddell Sea, reach the South Pole and then continue to Ross Island on the opposite side of the continent. The expedition's goal had to be abandoned when the ship, Endurance, was beset by sea ice short of its goal of Vahsel Bay. It was later crushed by the pack ice. The ship's crew and the expedition personnel endured an epic journey by sledge across the Weddell Sea pack and then boat to Elephant Island. Upon arrival at Elephant Island off the Antarctic Peninsula, they rebuilt one of their small boats and Shackleton with five others set sail for South Georgia to seek help. This remarkable journey navigated by Frank Worsley in the 6.7-meter boat James Caird through the Drake Passage to South Georgia in the late Antarctic Fall (April and May) is perhaps one of the greatest small boat navigation feats in history. They landed on the southern coast of South Georgia and then crossed the spine of the island in an equally remarkable 36-hour journey. The 22 men who remained on Elephant Island were rescued by the Chilean ship Yelcho, commanded by Luis Pardo, after three other failed attempts on August 30, 1916 (22 months after departing from South Georgia). Everyone from Endurance survived.

In 1921, Shackleton set out on another Antarctic expedition. Its purpose was to circumnavigate the Antarctic continent by sea, but it was derailed when Shackleton died of a heart attack on board his ship, the Quest, while anchored off South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands on January 5, 1922. His body was being returned to England when his widow requested that the burial take place on Grytviken, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands instead. Shackleton was buried there on March 5, 1922.

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Books by Ernest Henry Shackleton on Riapress.com

South (Illustrated)

By: Ernest Shackleton

The legendary true story of Victorian gumption, leadership and seamanship.

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Author Bibliography

Selected Shackleton bibliography

Books by Ernest Shackleton:
The Polar Journeys. Birlinn, Limited: United Kingdom. 2002.
South: A Memoir of the Endurance Voyage. Avalon: United States. 1998.
Aurora Australis. Archival Facsimiles, Limited: United Kingdom. 1989.
A Visit to Nansen and Adventure. Oxford University Press: United Kingdom. 1928.

Books about Ernest Shackleton:
Albert, Marvin H., The long white road; Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic adventures. D. McKay Co.: United States. 1957.
Alexander, Caroline, The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition. Knopf : United States. 1998.
Armstrong, Jennifer , Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance. Turtleback: United States. 2000.
Bakewell, William Lincoln, The American on the Endurance: ice, sea, and terra firma: adventures of William Lincoln Bakewell. Dukes Hall: United States. 2004.
Baughman, T. H., Shackleton of the Antarctic. Eothen Press: United States. 2002.
Begbie, Harold, Shackleton, a memory. Mills & Boon Ltd.: United Kingdom. 1922.
Bickel, Lennard, Shackleton's forgotten argonauts. Macmillan: Australia. 1982.
Bixby, William, The impossible journey of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Little, Brown: United States. 1960.
Calvert, Patricia, Sir Ernest Shackleton: By Endurance We Conquer. Marshall Cavendish: United States. 2002.
Edge, Christopher, Shackleton. Headway: United Kingdom. 2002.
Fine, Jill, Shackleton Expedition. Sagebrush Education Resources: United States. 2002.
Fisher, Margery Turner, Shackleton and the Antarctic. Houghton Mifflin: United States. 1958.
Fuchs, Arved; trans Sokolinsky, Martin, In Shackleton's Wake. Sheridan House: United States. 2001.
Grosvenor, Charles, The forgotten: Dick Richards and Shackleton's trans-Antarctic expedition, 1914-1917. Otterden Press: United States. 2000.
Heacox, Kim , Shackleton: The Antarctic Challenge. National Geographic: United States. 1999.
Hoena, B. A., Shackleton and the Lost Antarctic Expedition. Capstone: United States. 2006.
Hoflehner, Josef, Frozen history : the legacy of Scott and Shackleton. Hoflehner: Australia. 2003.
Hooper, Meredith and Robertson, M.P., The Endurance: Shackleton's Perilous Expedition in Antarctica. Abbeville: United States. 2001.
Huntford, Roland , Shackleton. Simon & Schuster: United States. 1986.
Hurley, Frank, Shackleton's argonauts, a saga of the Antarctic ice-packs. Angus and Robertson: Australia. 1948.
Hussey, Leonard Duncan Albert, South with Shackleton. Low: United Kingdom. 1949.
Johnson, Rebecca L., Ernest Shackleton: Gripped by the Antarctic. Lerner: United States. 2005.
Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody, Ice Story: Shackleton's Lost Expedition. Houghton Mifflin: United States. 1999.
Kostyal, K. M., Trial by Ice: A Photobiography of Sir Ernest Shackleton. National Geographic: United States. 1999.
Lansing, Alfred, Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage. Morrow/Avon: United States. 1976.
Marcovitz., Hal, Sir Ernest Shackleton and the Strug
gle Against Antartica. Facts On File: United States. 2001.
Marr, J. W. S., Into the frozen south / by Scout Marr, of the Quest Expedition. Funk and Wagnalls: United States. 1923.
McCurdy, Michael, Trapped by the Ice!: Shackleton's Amazing Antarctic Adventure. Walker & Company: United States. 1997.
McElrea, Richard, Polar castaways: the Ross Sea party (1914-17) of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Canterbury University: New Zealand. 2004.
Mill, Hugh Robert, The life of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Heinemann: United Kingdom. 1923.
Morrel, Margot and Capparell, Stephanie, Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer. Penguin: United States. 2001.
Mortimer, Gavin, The Story of Ernest Shackleton and the Antarctic Explorers. Carlton: United Kingdom. 2002.
Mountfield, David, A History of Polar Exploration. Dial: United States. 1974.
Mueller, Melinda, What the Ice Gets: Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1916. Van West: United States. 2000.
Penner, Lucille Recht, Ice Wreck. Sagebrush Education Resources: United States. 2001.
Perkins. Dennis N. T., Leading at the Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition. NetLibrary: United States. 2000.
Plimpton, George, Ernest Shackleton. Dorling Kindersley: United States. 2003.
Ponting, Herbert and Hurley, Frank, 1910 - 1916 Antarctic Photographs. St. Martin's: United States. 1980.
Riffenburgh, Beau, Shackleton's forgotten expedition: the voyage of the Nimrod. Bloomsbury: United States. 2004.
Roop, Connie, Escape from the Ice: Shackleton and the Endurance. Sagebrush Education Resources: United States. 2001.
Shackleton, Jonathan, Shackleton: An Irishman in Antarctica. University of Wisconsin: United States. 2004.
Sipiera, Paul P., Ernest Shackleton: A Life of Antarctic Exploration. Kendall/Hunt: United States. 2001.
Smith, Michael, Boss: The Remarkable Adventures of Ernest Shackleton, Heroic Antarctic Explorer. Collins Press, The: Ireland. 2005.
Thomson, John, Shackleton's Captain: A Biography of Frank Worsley. Mosaic Press: United States. 1998.
Tyler-Lewis, Kelly, The lost men : the harrowing saga of Shackleton's Ross Sea. Viking: United States. 2006.
Van der Merwe, Peter, South: The Race to the Pole. National Maritime Museum: United Kingdom. 2001.
White, Matt, Endurance: Shipwreck and Survival on a Sea of Ice. Capstone: United States. 2001.
Wild, Frank, Shackleton's last voyage : the story of the Quest, from the official journal and private diary kept by A.H. Macklin. Cassell: United Kingdom. 1923.
Worsley, Frank Arthur, Endurance. Cape and Smith: United States. 1931.
Worsley, Frank Arthur , Shackleton's Boat Journey: The Narrative from the Captain of the 'Endurance'. Norton: United States. 1977.