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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 to the Antarctic have captivated generations. He joined the Empire’s last great endeavor of exploration: to conquer the South Pole with Scott on the Discovery expedition. A clash with Scott led to Shackleton being ordered home and started a bitter feud between the two. Shackleton's riposte was the Nimrod expedition, which uncovered the route to the Pole and honed the leadership skills that later encouraged men to overcome unimaginable hardship on the Endurance expedition of 1914. But Shackleton was a flawed character whose chaotic private life, marked by romantic affairs, unfulfilled ambitions, and failed business ventures, contrasted with celebrity status as the leading explorer. Persistent money problems left his men unpaid and his family with debts.
Drawing on extensive research of original diaries, letters, and many other publications, Michael Smith brings a fresh perspective to the heroic age of Polar exploration, which was dominated by Shackleton's complex, compelling, and enduringly fascinating story.
Michael Smith is an author and journalist who specializes in the history of Polar exploration. He has written books on Polar history for adult audiences and children, lectured extensively and contributed to a wide range of television and radio programs, newspapers, magazines and websites. He lives in Dublin.