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Shackleton's Boat Journey

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  759 ratings  ·  66 reviews
This is an account of the Shackleton boat journey. The journey began in August 1914 in London and the next the world knew of Shackleton was in May 1916, when three ragged men staggered into the whaling station at Grytviken on South Georgia. On August 1, 1914, on the eve of World War I, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his hand-picked crew embarked in HMS Endurance from London's ...more
Paperback, 164 pages
Published December 1st 2000 by Birlinn Ltd (first published 1940)
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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 ·  759 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'd already read Worsley's "Endurance" and fell in love with the land of Ice. That book covers their entire journey while this little book zooms in on the truly horrifyingly-exciting adventure of that story: The last leg of an amazing time in the Antarctic by Shackleton et al.
Worsley's account of the Endurance journey is my personal favorite so when I stumbled upon this at my public library I grabbed it quick. You know how some story tellers just are more captivating than all the others? That's
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A well written book by the captain of the Endurance, Frank Worsley, which covers, day-to-day, the epic journey of the James Caird over the storm invested South Atlantic in order to save the survivors of Shackleton's Antarctic expedition. The book was written shortly after the journey and is very descriptive of all the things as they happened, good read.
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Holy mackerel! It took a little getting into because there was just so much sailing vocabulary I didn't know, but I ended up reading through without stopping (much to my chagrin tomorrow morning, I expect).

Recommended by a patron as this is the 100th anniversary of Shackleton's expedition. A surprisingly fast read and a gripping adventure, plus the added thrill of being a memoir by a man who actually referred to Sir Ernest* as "Shacks."

*("For scientific discover, give me Scott; for speed and
Oct 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. What a crazy adventure. What could be more fun then hanging with Shackleton in Antarctica? I could almost feel the cold as I read this book. Burr.
Ronnie Strachan
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I generally read this type of book in mid-winter by an open window after having had a cold shower from which I spare myself the luxury of drying off. The level of discomfort doesn't come near to that of the Heroic Age of Exploration super-humans here-in, but it certainly gives my imagination a jumping-off point. I'd previously read Shackleton's account of the journey, so this book was primarily a compare-and-contrast exercise which bestowed the perspective of one who hadn't (at least to ...more
Apr 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I have read as much as I could put my hands on regarding the Endurance expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton. There is simply not a better adventure story out there than this one. Worsley was Shackleton's ship captain; a man of courage, strength, and determination.

Worsley was also an amazing seaman, navigating a 22 foot open boat hundreds of miles through uncharted waters in a hurricane. Amazing just doesn't cover it. But don't start with this book. "Endurance" is his seminal work and you should
Jakob Finch
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book Shackleton's Boat Journey by F.A. Worsley is written about Shackleton’s journey on the Endurance. Shackletons journey began August 1914 in London. This turned into one of the most amazing and breathtaking survival story of all time. Shackleton offered his boat to the war efforts and when they said to do it so they did. The Endurance was trapped and finally turned to splinters by pack ice in late 1915. They ended up drifting on an ice floe for 5 months. Then they were able to get onto ...more
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story of Shackleton's Endurance expedition is one of the great adventure stories of all time. Worsley was the captain of the Endurance, and a phenomenal navigator; his technical skills were as important for the eventual survival of the crew as were Shackleton's vaunted leadership skills. This book doesn't cover the whole expedition; it starts when the men have t0 abandon their camp on the ice, and recounts the voyage to Elephant Island, the further voyage of a small group to South Georgia ...more
Benjamin Wallace
Captain Frank Worsley writes concisely and poignantly in his telling of the heroic journey to survive when all odds were against Shackleton and his men. I loved the insight and peak into this mans brain filled with incredible sailing and navigational knowledge. His skill set was paramount; this I believe with Shackleton's leadership, Wild's steadfast courage, more than Providence itself is what truly guided the men aboard the ill fated Endurance home safely. Excellent and noble adventurers who ...more
Dan Mowbray
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A breathtaking account of survival in extreme conditions on Shackleton's failed Antarctic voyage. This is the written first hand account of the Endurance captain Worsley. Ernest Shackleton's aim was to reach the southernmost point of the continent ended in complete disaster in 1914. The ship broke up whilst entrapped in ice on Elephant island. Whilst the majority of the crew stayed behind, 6 men sailed on a 22 foot boat to the South West Georgia islands for help (the nearest inhabited island). ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because it was recommended by NOLS as a leadership book, but I found it lacking in any details on leadership (besides explaining that Shackleton was a great leader because he always had a positive attitude, knew exactly what to say and had the highest concern for his men). Still it was an inspiring story and a quick read. There was a lot of nautical vocabulary that I didn't know, but I don't think that really took much away from the story.
Ken Peters
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m in awe of the tenacity of the men who survived the adventure this book describes. Their irrepressible hopefulness and the determined resourcefulness is an incredible example to me. It’s truly amazing that they survived such a journey, and the suspense in Worsley’s telling of the tale never lets up until the very last page. I’ve read Shackleton’s own account of this same journey, but I loved this book even more!
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A short book, that took longer to read than expected, because I kept stopping to look-up some of the nautical terms on Google! I feel like I've been on a mini adventure and an emotional rolercoaster reading this book. Surprisingly witty, but all the better for it. A good book, well worth a read.
Christopher Sprague
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Karen C
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First-person account of the fantastic journey to save the men stranded on Elephant island. Most endearing moment: trying to hide his ripped pants from ladies’ eyes.
Dobbo Baggins
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Incredible survival story
Stuart Killbourn
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Brilliantly written and an amazing adventure.
Samantha Flounders
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
EPIC! Do read.
Francis Pellow
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
a direct and straightforward telling of a most extraordinary tale of survival. very good.
Kevin Webster
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow! That this group of humans survived this journey is nothing short of amazing. And 100 years ago! It seemed to take forever to read it; mostly because I paused at the photos for so long. 143 pages should not take so long, but I felt exhausted reading along, as the crew met trial after trial.

Worsley has a great way of telling the story, and although it was sometimes difficult with terminology (not being a seaman myself) I was caught up in it. It makes Jungle: A Harrowing True Story of
Debbie Johansson
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the past few years I have become interested in stories of survival. Every now and again I watch such shows as Man vs Wild and I Shouldn’t Be Alive. However, the most amazing story of survival that I know of is that of Shackleton’s 1914-16 expedition to Antarctica.

Shackleton’s Boat Journey, written by F.A Worsley, captain of the H.M.S Endurance, begins after this ship was crushed by ice. The twenty-eight party members then endured living on ice floes for five months before finally reaching an
John Mccullough
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant courageous héros. Barking mad. Both. In an attempt to have British explorers the first to cross Antarctica, Sir Ernest Shackleton mounted an expedition in 1914. Sailing the ship Endurance into the Weddle Sea, they became beset by ice and the ship eventually crushed. This book,written by the ship's captain, Frank A. Worsley, documents the trek from the crushed ship, using three small (20 to 22 feet long) boats from the Weddell Sea to Elephant Island to South Georgia over the course of ...more
Jan 20, 2011 rated it liked it
I read this edition, written by the captain of this epic expedition thinking that the first-person account would be the very best. I felt like I got a good overview of the basic facts, but from kind of a quiet, humble old sailor. His own name isn't even in the title of the book! He starts when the voyage begins and ends at the end. He reveres Shackleton from start to finish. I liked this guy and appreciated him for telling this incredible story almost casually. As if; "That's what you do". One ...more
Stephanie Herron
Years ago I read Alfred Lansing's book "Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage", and was totally gripped by the endurance and courage of these men. I always had a special interest in Frank Worsley as my parents retired to Akaroa (NZ) about 20 years ago and I have a photo of the house there in which he was born (marked by a plaque). Reading his own (extremely well written) first-hand account of the risky and heroic voyages on the open sea in tiny 20-22 foot open boats, first from the pack-ice ...more
Rick Hollis
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I have read a number of books about Shackleton and his disastrous Antarctic trip. Most are extracts of the real history, pieced together the way histories usually are. This is the real thing. Worsley wrote the book, seven years after he was a key character in the actual events.

Worsely was the navigator. He was not the one who got the Endurance hopelessly caught it the pack ice. He was the won who navigated the three boats from the edge of the ice to Elephant Island. He was the one who navigate
Another truly great adventure story (although the saga of how he came to be in the predicament is a rather sorry one,) is that of Shackleton’s great boat journey. After his ship became trapped and crushed in the ice during an abortive attempt at a sea-to-sea overland journey across Antarctica, Ernest Shackleton led a group of six men (the remaining crew were left behind to wait for rescue) in a 22-foot boat across some 800 miles of the stormiest ocean known to man at the height of winter. The ...more
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fantastic little adventure story. The writing is quite vibrant and feels fresh; the only unfortunate thing is that the author assumes a familiarity with some navigational devices and the geography of the area, which I think is unfamiliar to the modern reader. You can't fault him for that - after all, the book is a hundred years old, but it does mean that there are some confusing passages.

Still, highly worth reading as a late-Victorian tale of real-life adventure, by someone who was actually
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
A first-hand account of Sir Ernest Shackleton's disastrous expedition to Antarctica. Favorite lines:
1. "At all times [Shackleton] inspired men with a feeling, often illogical, that, even if things got worse, he would devise some means of easing their hardships" (170).
2. "It seemed to me that among all [Shackleton's] achievements and triumphs, great as they were, his one failure was the most glorious. By self-sacrifice and throwing his own life into the balance he saved every one of his men--not
Jerry Smith
May 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jerry by:
Shelves: history
This is a fascinating read, written by someone who was actually on the tip and therefore all the more powerful for that. It is couched in terms and language of the day so also makes for a great insight into the thinking of the times.

It is hard to imagine that world in today's high tech situation. If Shackleton hadn't braved this journey all his party would probably have died - nobody knew where they were and of course there was no way for them to contact the outside world.

It is a relatively
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Frank Arthur Worsley was a New Zealand sailor and explorer who served on Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914–1916, as captain of the Endurance.
“It was certain that a man of such heroic mind and self-sacrificing nature as Shackleton would undertake this most dangerous and difficult task himself. He was, in fact, unable by nature to do otherwise. Being a born leader, he had to lead in the position of lost danger, difficulty and responsibility. I have seen him turn pale, yet force himself into the post of greatest peril. That was his type of courage; he would do the job that he was most afraid of.” 0 likes
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