Ernest Shackleton is one of history’s great explorers, an extraordinary character who pioneered the path to the South Pole over 100 years ago and became a dominant figure in Antarctic discovery. A charismatic personality, his incredible adventures on four expeditions have captivated generations and inspired a dynamic, modern following in business leadership. None more so than the Endurance mission, where Shackleton’s commanding presence saved the lives of his crew when their ship was crushed by ice and they were turned out on to the savage frozen landscape. But Shackleton was a flawed character whose chaotic private life, marked by romantic affairs, unfulfilled ambitions, overwhelming debts and failed business ventures, contrasted with his celebrity status as a leading explorer.
Drawing on extensive research of original diaries and personal correspondence, Michael Smith's definitive biography brings a fresh perspective to our understanding of this complex man and the heroic age of polar exploration.
'Smith, in illuminating this unforgettable figure, brings his own considerable scholarship in the field to the story'
– Caroline Moorehead, Wall Street Journal
‘A fascinating book - warm, complex, engaging – just like the man himself. This absorbing new biography strips away the myths and misconceptions to reveal one of the twentieth century’s most important explorers in all his flawed genius.’
– Mick Conefrey, author of Everest, 1953
"The epic struggles, heroics and unbelieveable hardships of the voyages are wonderfully told. Compulsive reading."
– The Irish Times on An Unsung Hero
'Perhaps the most riveting biography I've ever read.'