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Ain death and emerged as one of the greatest leaders in historyWorsley felt an overpowering connection to those expeditions He was related to one of Shackleton's men Frank Worsley and spent a fortune collecting artifacts from their epic treks across the continent He modeled his military command on Shackleton's legendary skills and was determined to measure his own powers of endurance against them He would succeed where Shackle. THE WHITE DARKNESS is another absolute winner from author David Grann The photos in this book are fabulous and really add to the richness and history of Antarctica exploration British special forces soldier Henry Worsley was much like a modern day Ernest Shackleton who also happened to be his personal hero Once again David Grann educates entertains and inspires through his compelling factual story writing THE WHITE DARKNESS is a modern day adventure not to be missed

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The White Darkness

Henry Worsley was a devoted husband and father and a decorated British special forces officer who believed in honor and sacrifice He was also a man obsessed He spent his life idolizing Ernest Shackleton the nineteenth century polar explorer who tried to become the first person to reach the South Pole and later sought to cross Antarctica on foot Shackleton never completed his journeys but he repeatedly rescued his men from cert. For scientific leadership give me Scott for swift and efficient travel Amundsen but when you are in a hopeless situation when there seems to be no way out get on your knees and pray for Shackleton Every time I see this photograph of Shackleton s ship the Endurance frozen in the ice I get a chillOne of the most selfless acts in the history of exploration happened in 1908 when Ernest Shackleton made the decision to turn back from his goal of reaching the South Pole a mere 97 nautical miles away The Holy Grail was only a few days travel It was all but within his graspThere was something important to Shackleton than his own personal aggrandizement it was the safety of his men He calculated the status of the remaining supplies and determined that the risk to his men was too great to make it to the Pole and make it back safelyalive He did the unthinkable something few other leaders would have the courage to do he turned back He did not worry about the aspersions that would be cast at him for cowardice or the ridicule that his jeering competition would hurl his direction He would much rather live with that than live with the deaths of his men I had to ask myself would I have been courageous enough to make that decision or would I have given an Antarctica version of the Henry the 5th speech at the Battle of Agincourt and pressed on Being the first to reach the South Pole was what would insure immortality turning back meant in all probability that someone else would have that honor Roald Amundsen the great Norwegian explorer would reach it first in 1911Henry Worsley worshipped Shackleton Whenever he was in a tight spot he would think to himself What would Shacks do which went well with another of his favorite sayings Better a live donkey than a dead lion So who was Worsley Worsley was a retired British Army officer who had served in the Special Air Service a renowned commands unit He was also a sculptor a fierce boxer a photographer who meticulously documented his travels a horticulturalist a collector of rare books and maps and fossils and an amateur historian who had become a leading authority on Shackleton And why did David Grann write a book about Worsley In 2008 he led an expedition to pioneer a route through the Transantarctic Mountains reaching a point 98 miles 157 km from the South Pole The expedition commemorated the centenary of Shackleton s Nimrod Expedition He returned to the Antarctic in 2011 leading a team of six in retracing Roald Amundsen s successful 870 mile 1400 km journey in 1912 to the South Pole marking its centenary In completing the route he became the first person to have successfully undertaken the routes taken by Shackleton Robert Falcon Scott and Amundsen Wikipedia I love this picture of Worsley He broke off a tooth on a frozen candy bar All of this led up to Worsley s dramatic final expedition to be the first person to make a solo crossing of Antarctica without any assistance He had been restless There was something about the polar regions that got in certain men s blood and they just couldn t stay away What is Antarctica other than a blank canvas on which you seek to impose yourself The beauty is not what we usually think of with oceans mountains and trees From a bird s eye view there is nothing much there except ice and snow and cold There is nothing to see but white darkness Desolation is best expressed by deserts the hot ones and the cold ones I find photographs of deserts to be very peaceful the desolate the better I find expeditions that venture out into that desolation seeking what has never been seen before to be invigorating So I understand the obsession that gripped Worsley to keep going back again and again The landscape seduced his mind like a woman who must be chased to be had This is a lovely evocative book filled with amazing photographs David Grann knows how to tell a story and you will find yourself tearing up with joy and pain than a few times as you make these journeys with these brave men The book also reminded me of all the polar expedition books I still have left to read Fortunately there have been many explorers who were as obsessed with those regions as were Shackleton and Worsley and most of them the ones who lived wrote about their adventures This book is a uick afternoon read and hopefully you will all be as seduced by the landscape as Shackleton Worsley and yes even I If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at

characters The White Darkness

Ton had failed in the most brutal landscape in the worldIn 2008 Worsley set out across Antarctica with two other descendants of Shackleton's crew battling the freezing desolate landscape life threatening physical exhaustion and hidden crevasses Yet when he returned home he felt compelled to go back On November 2015 at age 55 Worsley bid farewell to his family and embarked on his most perilous uest to walk across Antarctica alo. 45 stars rounded up This would have been an excellent book to read on January 1 reminding myself to pull up my bootstraps bombard the castle jump into oblivion and just generally get on with something that reuires intense focus and dedication David Grann brings the reader a modern day hero Henry Worsley a man who has just that kind of focus Indeed he carries his focus on an expedition to Antarctica to the point of obsession as many great people doThis is a short book at 160 pages and much of that is superb photography of the alien like landscape of Antarctica Men as stick like figures are subsumed by Antarctica s vast glaciers ice mountains and ice waves known as sastrugi formations sculpted by the wind The glimmering whites and blues in this formidable wind blustering climate where the lowest temperatures on earth have been recorded are startling even in the photographs Worsley s goal along with team members Will Gow and Henry Adams is to exceed Ernest Shackleton s 1907 1909 Nimrod expedition s Farthest South point The South Pole was 97 nautical miles away when Shackleton made the decision to turn back Two years later in 1911 Roald Amundsen a Norwegian became the first man to reach the South Pole Worsley Gow and Adams begin their trek in October 2008 The skis Worsley used were painted with messages from his wife Joanna and their children Alicia and Max Joanna wrote Come back to me safely my darling Despite all the stunning landscape and historical photography of both Shackleton s expedition and Worsley s exploits my favorite photograph is one of a face the face of Henry Worsley He has on goggles that reflect the Antarctic landscape and his face is grizzled He s missing a tooth His knitted headgear covers his scalp and drapes his neck leaving the circle of the polar explorer s face with its almost grin exposed a cigar jutting from the right side of his mouth He looks jaunty and ready to take on anything he is a man with the discipline and mental acuity to survive in one of Earth s harshest environmentsSome of my favorite uotes from the book ones that I hope to take to heart for the New Year of 2020 Always a little further a little further James Elroy Flecker I hold that a man should strive to the uttermost for his life s set prize Robert Browning A man must shape himself to a new mark directly the old one goes to ground Ernest Shackleton To strive to seek to find and not to yield Alfred Lord Tennyson


10 thoughts on “The White Darkness

  1. says:

    35 I have such a fascination with books set in places that are excessively cold and snow laden Not sure why that is especially since I don't really want to live in these places and due to health reasons will proba

  2. says:

    The man felt like a speck in the frozen nothingness Every direction he turned he could see ice stretching to the

  3. says:

    ”For scientific leadership give me Scott; for swift and efficient travel Amundsen; but when you are in a hopeless situation when there seems to be no way out get on your knees and pray for Shackleton” Every time I see this photograph of Shackleton’s ship the Endurance frozen in the ice I get a chillOne of the most selfless ac

  4. says:

    For the life of me I will never understand those people who are inclined to attempt what's never been done before even if it means putting their lives in danger Well I could understand if it was something fun But something like trekking 1000 m

  5. says:

    THE WHITE DARKNESS is another absolute winner from author David Grann The photos in this book are fabulous and re

  6. says:

    What is Antarctica other than a blank canvas on which you can seek to impose yourself?This is another incredible nonfiction work by David Grann I loved his previous book Killers of the Flower Moon so much that I will read an

  7. says:

    45 stars rounded up This would have been an excellent book to read on January 1 reminding myself to pull up my bootstraps bombard the castle jump into oblivion and just generally get on with something that reuires intense focus and dedication David Grann brings the reader a modern day hero Henry Worsley a man who has just that kind of focus

  8. says:

    I saw this book at my library and picked it up because I had read Grann's amazing Killers of the Flower Moon and so I knew I wanted to read it It’s short adapted from a New Yorker article he had published in February 2018 I don’t read much non fiction but I occasionally do read stories like this about extraordinary feats of physical prowess that most people just think of as insane risk taking behavior Int

  9. says:

    35 stars

  10. says:

    My obsession with Antarctic explorers began when I was eleven and read The Great White South by Herbert Ponting the photographer on the 1911 Scott expedition As a girl I held a heroic idealization of Scott and his men freezing in their hut It seemed all so heroic then Later readings lowered Scott in my estimation Henry Worsley idolized Ernest Shackleton for his courage and leadership Although Shackleton was never able

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