South with Endurance, The Photographs of Frank Hurley

Shackleton 008GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / BOOK REVIEW, BOOK MY PLACE – We are approaching the hundredth anniversary of what must still be the most inspiring and heroic of all journeys, the astounding crossing of the Wedell sea by Shackleton and his four men in the James Caird, from Elephant Island to South Georgia, then the even more astonishing crossing of the mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to the Stromness Bay whaling station.

Shackleton is my hero. From all the Arctic and Antarctic explorers of the last century, he stands out. While he and his 28 men were struggling to survive after the loss of the Endurance, he proved himself to be a perfect leader and (apart from three men lost on the other side of the Antarctic continent in the Aurora expedition that had intended to support Shackleton’s continental crossing) all his men miraculously survived.

Frank Hurley was a gifted photographer and this collection of photographs from Australian and British archives could almost have been taken with modern equipment. Together with a detailed text, they bring to life those years ranging from distressing pictures of the doomed Endurance to an enchanting one of Mrs Chippy, the ship’s cat, sitting on the shoulder of the stowaway, Perce Blackborow.