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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The enthralling new biography of Ernest Shackleton by the world's greatest living explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

To write about Hell, it helps if you have been there.  

In 1915, Sir Ernest Shackleton's attempt to traverse the Antarctic was cut short when his ship, Endurance, became trapped in ice.    

The disaster left Shackleton and his men alone at the frozen South Pole, fighting for their lives.    

Their survival and escape is the most famous adventure in history.    

Shackleton is an engaging new account of the adventurer, his life and his incredible leadership under the most extreme of circumstances.  

Written by polar adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who followed in Shackleton's footsteps, he brings his own unique insights to bear on these infamous expeditions. Shackleton is both re-appraisal and a valediction, separating the man from the myth he has become.     

©2021 Ranulph Fiennes (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Shackleton

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Watch BBC miniseries with Kenneth Branagh instead

"Me. me, this is all about me, Ranulph Fiennes, and how cold and courageous and miserable and hungry and ill and dementedly obsessed with Antarctica I am!"

Which author Fiennes reminds us, frequently, throughout his biography of a cracking explorer and certainly complicated Ernest Shackleton.

I gave up ... insane, really. From everything else I have read or viewed about Shackleton, I should have been riveted to the page, er, narrator. E Shackleton ticked so many boxes, none greater than his absolute passion and commitment to rescue his men from their grueling sojourn on Elephant Island.

I never got that far in this audiobook. I was hurled from accounts of early Antarctica explorations (the dog and pony consumption years) by R Fiennes hurling himself across the cruel, vast, freezing expanses many years later.

Fiennes seems utterly obsessed with constant self punishment and Antarctica is his whip and lash.

This audiobook is unfinished and I shall recommned instead the impeccable performance of Kenneth Branagh in the 2012 BBC miniseries ... DO!

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Slow start, amazing story

the narration is fantastic. Story has a bit of a slow start but the story overall is fascinating.

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Great Book The life of Sir Ernest Shackleton

Shackleton....Very informative especially if you're a fan or a Shackleton devotee as I am

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A Oft Repeated Story with Some New Insights

A few of the early reviewers seem put off buy Fiennes inserting himself in first person here and there. I found it mostly useful and was not an overused tool. There are so many other accounts of Shackleton's adventures that you couldn't really have a new book that just retold those. So I enjoy some of the details of his personal and financial struggles that I had not heard of before. Seemed that the fund raising was as arduous and the actual treks. Pleasant narrator and pace made one of the more enjoyable listens of the last few years.

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  • L. BETTLES
  • 10-20-21

A truly epic story!!

I had a passing interest in Arctic explorers and of read books on Shackleton's endurance and so on, so is very pleased to learn that there was finally going to be a definitive biography by someone who was walked in his footsteps.
The book as you would expect is very comprehensive and goes chronologically through Shackleton's life. It also sets out to debunk and challenge preconceived myths of the time about this man and also particularly about the rivalry between Shackleton and Robert Scott. The author makes no bones about the things that he believes are completely inaccurate from previous biographies and this is backed up by extensive research and also the author's own experience in Antarctica.

I was completely gripped by the expeditions that Shackleton undertook and also the extraordinary lengths he went to, to preserve the life of his crew at the expense of reaching his goal.

The book does not shy away from the darkness of Shackleton the sacrifices that his wife made to allow her husband to try and fulfil his dreams relationships with other women and so on.

This is not the tracked from the lasting legacy Shackleton and his accomplishments and indeed, the book does go some way to discuss the legacy after death and the fact that it took many years for Shackleton's name to be given such credence as it is today.

The narration is absolutely superb and I was gripped from the very first chapter. If you think you know Shackleton read this book think your find that you don't and you may be surprised and excited about what you find out! An interesting side note is there are so many things that you can learn about Shackleton's approach to life. I will now be trying to lead by example. This man is a true hero and the book was a privilege to read.

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  • michael hannigan
  • 10-04-21

up there with best audible I've listened to

loved it, story, performance and learning more about a great man from history from someone that's experienced what he went through on his expeditions.. 5 stars all the way.

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  • C. Stubbs
  • 09-26-21

Well researched and brilliantly narrated

I really enjoyed Sir Ranulph Fiennes’s ‘Scott’, so when I saw ‘Shackleton’ had been published I knew it would be good. It wasn’t good - it was excellent. Fiennes’s is in the pretty much unique position of being able to empathise and related to the highs and lows of Antarctic travel because he has done it himself. He has literally walked the proverbial mile in Shackleton’s (and Scott’s) shoes. His perspective therefore lends
a new way to interpret Shackleton’s questionable decision making, and he is able to review Shackleton’s adventures in an objective way. The narrator, by the way, is brilliant - the way he lends gravitas to the serious accounts but then injects a real sense of peril through his tone of voice into the dangerous parts made this book all the more enjoyable. I recommend it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-17-22

Fiennes tells Shackleton’s saga as no one other can.

Only the greatest living explorer can tell the tale of one of the greatest explorers of all time and remark of his trials “I faced a similar problem on my own expeditions.”
As well as being a wonderful and fascinating retelling of the Shackleton saga, to compare with his book ‘Scott’, there a few authors on polar exploration with such authority on all aspects as Fiennes.

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  • Lee
  • 10-17-21

A great explorer

Really enjoyed this book and devoured it in two days. The story from a bygone age of exploration into the cold plus the animosity between Scott and Shackleton was presented in an unbiased way. I’ve read some of the authors books before and enjoyed those too. Well narrated as usual by Mr Keeble.

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  • June Gerngross
  • 10-11-21

Exciting Adventure Story

l loved this book and it's a far cry from my normal reading matter. A real cliff hanger, literally in parts, it also taught me a lot, well written and well read.

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  • MD
  • 09-22-21

Excellent

This is a great addition to the Shackelton story such as the phenomenal Endurance by Alfred Lansing.
Fiennes greatly adds to the story by interweaving his own experiences on the ice. In many respects the story before the Endurance expedition was better than the end of the book especially his complicated relationship with Scott.
Narration was superb, a really great listen. If you enjoyed Endurance then this is a must for your Audible library.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-05-22

More than a well-researched biography or the story of amazing Antarctic adventures

Not having before read much in the way of polar exploration history, I was initially interested by the prospect of a good story of adventure and heroic character. The audiobook was certainly very enjoyable in this respect but it is elevated beyond the level of a great story or a good biography by the author’s own exploration/adventuring knowledge. Some well placed allusions to specific experiences of the author, which never seemed to intrude on the biography, reveal and reinforce a deeper value of the adventures and achievements of Shackleton and his companions, to whom the book pays a special kind of homage. I recommend as an enjoyable and worthwhile listen even if you’re not (yet) a polar exploration enthusiast.

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  • Luckystarr60
  • 06-04-22

The Greatest Escape

A tremendous read with many incites from someone who has been there and done it. The journey of the Endurance into the Antarctic and the almost impossibility of return would make fanciful a story if it had just been written down. Utterly fantastic. For all Shackletons many faults to bring everyone back home is miraculous.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-29-22

Excellent insights into the real Shackleton

Genuinely unique insight into the world Shackleton inhabited from another rare UK adventurer that’s been there done it - Ranulph Fiennes - who’s own autobiography I also loved.

Was interesting to understand more about Shackleton and how he could convince anyone to do anything for him, yet never really achieved any of his goals; ultimately he came to be known for his adventurer spirit and leadership, I never knew quite the extent of his relationship with Scott, or the ordeals he and those who followed him along the way endured.

Really well written and presented. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Moving onto Scott’s biography next.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-28-22

Changed my mind about Shackleton

I listened to Endurance and loved it. I was amazed at how tough this bloke was. It compelled me to learn more about him and hence this book as discovered. I am glad I did. It gave me a broader view of the man.

Narrator was great.

But having heard Endurance and the effort in the James Caird boat, that whole saga is very quickly told here.

I think I listened to them in the right order. So if you want to listen to this book maybe listen to Endurance first.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-14-22

A BREED APART

I found this to be a gripping work from beginning to end. I’m not sure what impressed me more: Ranulph and the easy with which he delivers this rip-roaring ‘Boys Own’ story, or the shear audacity, tenacity and commitment of Shackleton and his contemporaries.

It is a window into a different age, where the spirit of adventure knew no bounds and dogged determination surmounted incredible odds. And in every twist and turn of fortune it speaks to enviable codes of conduct, trust and loyalty.

Was it folly, or a celebration of human achievement? Does it lay bare a flawed character, or a man of singular vision? Whatever conclusions you reach, there is no denying that they were a breed apart. We learn that few ventures could be regarded as successful in any material way and that every achievement came at a cost; untimely deaths, injured reputations and financial ruin.

Despite his many failings as a responsible family man, Shackleton emerges as a charismatic, beguiling and inspiring leader whose presence, I am sure would light up any dinner table. I see that Ranulph is cut from the same cloth and, for me his personal insights took nothing away from the exploits of his predecessors?

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