South: The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition, 1914–17


After the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole in December 1911, the British explorer Ernest Henry Shackleton, who had come within 180.6 kilometers of the pole in 1909, decided that the last great Antarctic journey to be achieved was a crossing of the continent. After fitting out the ship Endurance, Shackleton headed south from England in September 1914. The Endurance left the whaling station at Grytviken, South Georgia Island on December 5. In January 1915 the ship encountered heavy pack ice in the Weddell Sea, and eventually, on October 27, was crushed and sank. The men abandoned ship and drifted northward on floes of ice. On April 9, 1916 they left the ice in the three ship’s boats and on April 15 reached Elephant Island. From there Shackleton and five men set out in a small boat on a journey of almost 1,300 kilometers back to South Georgia Island. On May 10 they made landfall at Cape Rosa on the south side of the island. Shackleton and two men hiked overland, crossing the uncharted Allardyce Range to reach Grytviken on May 20. From there they arranged to pick up the three men left on the other side of South Georgia. The men marooned on Elephant Island were rescued with the help of the government of Chile. Six men from another part of the expedition, which had traveled to Antarctica to lay supply depots for the crossing, were rescued in January 1917. Published in 1919, South is Shackleton’s personal account of this story of endurance and survival. The first overland crossing of Antarctica finally was accomplished in 1958 by a British party led by Sir Vivian Fuchs.

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Macmillan and Company, Limited, New York



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380 pages : color frontispiece, plates, portraits, 1 maps folded ; 23 centimeters


  1. Ann Savours, “Shackleton, Sir Ernest Henry (1874–1922),” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Last updated: August 17, 2016