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

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  951 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
The excruciating tale of the Ross Sea party, the other side of Shackleton's Endurance expedition

In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton sailed south aboard the Endurance to make history by crossing the Antarctic continent. Shackleton's story is legend, but few know the harrowing story of the Ross Sea party, Shackleton's support group dispatched to the other side of the continent
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published April 20th 2006 by Viking Adult (first published 2006)
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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
Oct 01, 2013 Peter rated it it was amazing
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!
Jun 05, 2016 Fiona rated it it was amazing
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, ...more
Mar 07, 2009 Sheila rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Greg Brozeit
Jul 20, 2015 Greg Brozeit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone familiar with Shackleton's Endurance expedition
Shelves: polar
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
Andrew Parnell
Jan 10, 2015 Andrew Parnell rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 04, 2008 H L rated it really liked it
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
Greg Miller
Dec 16, 2009 Greg Miller rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who miss the golden age of exploration
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.
George Ilsley
Sep 03, 2013 George Ilsley rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, detailed and gripping. A more complete account than a previous book on the same topic. 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 more well-known adventure.
Jan 21, 2010 Tim rated it really liked it
Two separate parties from the same polar expedition, a continent apart, were for two years the most isolated men on earth, hearing nothing of the other group or of the stupefying horrors of modern warfare as World War I ground on.

Ernest Shackleton's 1914 trans-Antarctic expedition — a planned first crossing of the continent — accomplished none of its goals, yet in the story of the men of the ship Endurance ultimately yielded the greatest survival/adventure story in recorded human history. The sa
May 28, 2008 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Lost Men by Kelly Tyler-Lewis is the story of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party and their experience in Antarctica.

This group of men was charged with the duty of sailing to the far side of Antarctica, where an expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton was to arrive after a historic cross-continent journey. Their job was to sledge nearly halfway across Antarctica and drop caches of food and supplies for the expedition, which would allow Shackleton and his team to successfully cross to the other side.
Feb 13, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing
This was a really interesting, well-written, and well-researched book. For those who enjoy reading about polar explorers or explorers in general, we know well the story of Shackleton and his beleaguered expedition to Antarctica from 1914 to 1916. We know little of the Ross Sea party part of the expedition, whose job was to approach the continent from the other side and depot caches of food and fuel so that when Shackleton and his band of 6 were on the end part of their journey to cross the ...more
Sep 24, 2013 Matt rated it it was amazing
Absolutely harrowing account of an amazing story. Marooned on Antarctica without adequate food or supplies, they were tasked with laying a depot for Shackleton's party, who were supposed to be crossing the continent from the other side of Antarctica. If they failed to lay the depot, Shackleton and his team would starve to death (or so they thought. They had no way of knowing that Shackleton's boat was trapped in the ice a continent away and Shackleton never set a foot on Antarctica). I read this ...more
Feb 18, 2014 Stephanie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booktalk
After reading Bernadette, there were quite a few references made to Antarctic adventures and explorers, so I thought I’d look for a book to read about one of them. I found The Lost Men by Kelly Tyler-Lewis. This book tells the true story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s plans to traverse Antarctica. map on page 20. In order to make it all the way across the continent, Shackleton needed people to put supplies for him and his men in place for the last quarter of their journey (they could only carry so ...more
I'd always wondered about the other half of Shackleton's expedition, and this book is an excellent account of what happened to the men in the Ross Sea party--a story every bit as riveting as the story of what Shackleton's party was enduring on the other side of the continent. It seems like virtually all books about Shackleton hold him up as the most amazing of men; I kind of liked that this book shows him as more human and fallible. The whole expedition sounds as though it was woefully ...more
Aug 16, 2009 Pbwritr rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, travel
Glad I picked this up again! Don't think I ever read any of it after buying it. Shackleton's Antarctic expedition of 1914 included two ships and two separate missions. Shackleton on the Endurance would land in the Weddell Sea and march across the continent to be the first to do so. But they would run out of supplies 2/3 of the way, so another ship went to the Ross Sea to land a party to set up depots of food and fuel for 360 miles. The Ross Sea landing party became stranded for two years when ...more
Dec 25, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing
This is a well written and well researched account of the Ross Sea part of Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Although Shackleton was clearly an amazing and inspiring leader, that skill seemed to apply less in his ability to organize at a distance. It was most interesting to read the epilogue about the lives of some of the party after the expedition--it reminded me of the diverse fates of the enlisted men on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It was also touching to read about the Ri ...more
AdultNonFiction Teton County Library
Teton County Library Call Number: 919.8904 TYLERLEWIS
Suzy's review: ****'s

This is the harrowing adventure story of the Ross Sea Party, that began opposite Antarctica from Ernest Shackleton's epic adventure aboard the Endurance. These were the men that laid the depots for Shackleton's trek across Antarctica. After their ship disappears in a storm, ten ill equipped men are left to rescue themselves in a journey spanning over one thousand miles. The adventurous story has a unique cast of character
Mar 10, 2016 Kyleen rated it liked it
This was a bit difficult for me to read after reading Endurance: Shakleton's Incredible Voyage - maybe a bit of a downer (and yes, rightly so). This portrays Shakleton in a much different, more negative light than the previously mentioned book, and goes into more biographical and contextual details (war. politics, other explorations, etc.).

This felt really bogged down with details to me - and I think I feel that way just because the previous book felt more concerned with taking the reader to th
Dec 11, 2010 Annastaissia rated it liked it
After reading Shakleton's story I was interested in the what happened to the other ship that was sent to the other side of the continent to lay supply depots for Shakleton's men on the 2nd half of their journey. Of course they never made it, but these men could not have known. Their story is, as the title says, "harrowing," but not quite as jaw-dropping as Shakelton's journey. They lost a few men and experienced a lot of hardship, and you could say that in the end, it was really for nothing. ...more
Jun 05, 2012 Jrobertus rated it liked it
This is a interesting but little known story. Many are familiar with Shackleton's amazing trek from the ice locked ship Endeavor to South Georgia in an open boat. Indeed, I reviewed the book myself. What is less well known is that he sent another ship to other side of Antarctica to build a series of depots so that he could complete his march across the continent. Well those depots WERE built at a horrible human cost, and were not used as the big man never even reached Antarctica. This is the ...more
Dec 08, 2015 Jumper rated it really liked it
I have a lot to thank this book for:

It kick-started my fascination with Antarctic exploration (including EVERYONE involved in Shackleton's expedition).

It motivated me to carefully document my life in case anyone (especially myself) cared to remember what my life was like. I have been diligent in taking pictures and writing in my journal since then.

The only drawback with this book is there is sometimes too much information, which caused me some confusion. But that's understandable, since this is
Nov 09, 2013 Peteloaf rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Incredible story of the human spirit. Men putting other's lives before their's, not knowing that they are risking their lives for a mission that has already failed. Ms. Lewis did an incredible job finding first hand accounts of this amazing adventure; the most miles logged by an antarctic expedition. If you intend to read Shackleton's "South" (a must read for any armchair polar explorer), read this first. His collection of accounts of the Ross Sea Party are not nearly as well organized as this ...more
Nov 06, 2015 Boris rated it really liked it
There's a morbidly fascinating recklessness about British Antarctic expeditions. The Shackleton Endurance is awesome as a survival saga and the Ross Sea party of that same expedition went through a harrowing campaign of survival too.

Shackleton's expedition were always poorly prepared and thought-out and created great risks for himself and other expedition members. I regard Shackleton as the luckiest man who ever lived.
Heather Buelow
A good story and I'm glad I know about the Ross Sea Party now, but this book is not written quite as brilliantly as some other Antarctic tales, like the Endurance works. Sadly, a significant portion of the book dwells on people having tiffs with each other and another large chunk focuses on bureaucratic bumbling. While that may be an accurate portrayal of the events, it doesn't make for a very exciting read.
Thomas Allen
This book is a good and worthwhile listen as it provides the completion of the Shackleton story. In this book, I found heroes and frustration. But as the version I read is abridged, I think I missed out on much that would have connected me to the men this book is about.

Bottom line: As information, this is great. As a story, this lacks some character development.
Phil Koehler
Aug 26, 2008 Phil Koehler rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Virtually forgotten in the many historical accounts of Shackleton's failed attempt to traverse the antartic continent, while the survival of Shackleton's party is deserving of the attention it gets, IMHO, these men risked far more and the outcome shows this. If nothing else, this story reveals the incredible hubris of human beings hell bent to "plant flags in the snow."
Oct 20, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it
A stunningly well-researched and engrossing account (a mind-bending 40% of the print version of the book is made up of notes and citations). This is an indispensable companion book to Endurance. You do not know the full story of Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1915 until you have read this book.
Oct 29, 2008 Sue rated it liked it
I'm very intrigued by those who have a certain, special need to leave a "normal" to go exploring in places known and unknown. I enjoyed reading about the challenges the team faced, and how they managed to overcome despite horrible odds. At times the book felt a little over technical but overall it was an interesting read.
Zorro Lopez
May 31, 2015 Zorro Lopez rated it it was amazing
An amazing story about the human spirit. Started reading it on Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 -- finished reading it today! I could not put it down. I recommend downloading a 1914-1917 map of the expedition to reference as you read.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Another look a Shackelton 1 2 Jan 12, 2013 01:20PM  
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  • The Heart of the Antarctic: The Farthest South Expedition 1907-1909
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  • An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean - Antarctic Survivor
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  • Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure
  • Resolute: The Epic Search for the Northwest Passage and John Franklin, and the Discovery of the Queen's Ghost Ship
  • Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition

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