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BOOK REVIEW: “Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey” by Nick Bertozzi

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In the beginning, Shackleton is obsessed about succeeding, after several failed attempts, to reach the South Pole.
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BOOK REVIEW: Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi (First Second Press) 2014

Synopsis from the publisher: Ernest Shackleton was one of the last great Antarctic explorers, and he led one of the most ambitious Antarctic expeditions ever undertaken. This is his story, and the story of dozens of men who threw in their lot with him – many of whom nearly died in the unimaginably harsh conditions of the journey. It’s an astonishing fear – and was unprecedented at the time – that all the men in the expedition survived.

Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey depicts one man’s obsession with conquering a land that can’t be conquered. However, his journey wasn’t just about his longing to be the first man to cross Antarctica; it’s about the loyalty he had to his men and their survival.

In the beginning, Shackleton is obsessed about succeeding, after several failed attempts, to reach the South Pole.  His wife begs him to give it up; his peers jeer him for his idiocy. Shackleton is oblivious to it all. His sole focus is reaching the Antarctic and crossing it. Everything comes second, including his family. He was willing sacrifice everything to achieve his goal.

Even though the illustrations are fairly simple and in black and white, they are able to tell a very interesting and intense story. After Shackleton and his crew board the Expedition, the adventure begins. At first, the journey seemed exciting and hopeful. Then the ship was trapped in the Antarctic’s deadly ice flow. Once they lost their ship, they set out of foot to cross the ice-covered water to reach land. And that is when the journey became extremely dangerous and unbearable.

I thought this book’s depiction of the unbelievable and deadly conditions the men faced was drawn with honesty and detail. Frost bite took its toll on many men; however, I found it amazing how the men took it in stride and focused more on just surviving. When Shackleton’s men faced such a deadly environment, it was at that time that his efforts switched from the Antarctic crossing to keeping every one of his men alive. He absolutely refused to lose anyone. He made every effort to keep his men from losing hope. Another aspect I found amazing was that there seemed to be very few feelings of mutiny. Only one man wanted to reject Shackleton’s leadership.

In the end, every single man returned from this journey. It may not have been a successful crossing of the Antarctic; but it was a success of human strength and survival. Shackleton was an incredible explorer and hero. This book really captures Shackleton’s strength and should be read by anyone who loves adventure and exploration.

For more reviews from Kendal Stegmann visit her blog at

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About the Author

Kendal Stegmann

Who am I? Wife, mother, book-lover! I have two beautiful girls, two dogs, two cats and one...

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