Although Shackleton's (1874-1922) epic expedition to reach the South Pole was a complete disaster, it was rescued from absurdity by his heroic, terrifying crossing of the Southern Ocean in a small boat to a whaling station on South Georgia. Through one of the greatest recorded feats of navigation and of leadership, he overcame almost impossible odds and rescued every one of his men from otherwise certain death.
Great Journeys allows readers to travel both around the planet and back through the centuries – but also back into ideas and worlds frightening, ruthless and cruel in different ways from our own. Few reading experiences can begin to match that of engaging with writers who saw astounding things: Great civilisations, walls of ice, violent and implacable jungles, deserts and mountains, multitudes of birds and flowers new to science. Reading these books is to see the world afresh, to rediscover a time when many cultures were quite strange to each other, where legends and stories were treated as facts and in which so much was still to be discovered.