Synopses & Reviews
The harrowing tale of the Ross Sea party, the other side of Shackleton's Endurance
In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton sailed south aboard the Endurance to make history by crossing the Antarctic continent. Shackleton's story is legend, but few know the heroic epic of the Ross Sea party, Shackleton's support group dispatched to the other side of the continent to build a lifeline of food and fuel depots to bear his crossing.
"I had not anticipated that the work would present any great difficulties," Shackleton wrote. Yet everything went tragically wrong when the Ross Sea ship, the Aurora, tore free of her moorings and disappeared in a gale, leaving ten men marooned with only the clothes on their backs and few provisions. With little hope of rescue from a world embroiled in World War I, the men decided to accomplish their mission against all odds.
Long overshadowed by the mission these men bargained their lives to sustain, this heartrending story of survival against all odds now gets its due in this definitive, surprising account of the last journey of the Heroic Age of polar exploration.
"While the story of Ernest Shackleton's crew of the Endurance is well known, the fate of Shackleton's Ross Sea support party has largely been forgotten until now. Charged with laying supply depots for Shackleton's aborted 19141916 trans-Antarctic trek, the Ross Sea party became stranded when its ship tore free of her moorings and disappeared in a gale. Cambridge historian Tyler-Lewis's account of the 10-man party's plight relies heavily on the men's journals, which are amazingly detailed, considering the physical (snow blindness, scurvy, frostbite) and mental (depression, paranoia) problems they faced. The men's decision to lay the depots despite the obstacles demonstrates their courage, but Tyler-Lewis's narrative doesn't focus solely on heroics. Instead, the heart of the book lies in Tyler-Lewis's dissection of the men's relationships with one another. As friends are made, alliances formed and resentment festers, humanity is never lost, even amid inhumane conditions. Given the collection of military, civilian, scientific and blue-collar personnel that made up the expedition, it's compelling to see how each man deals with his fate. Add in the party's adventures of sledding in subzero temperatures with the sociological aspects of being stranded for nearly two years in such an inhospitable place, and the result is a gripping work. Maps, illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] breathtaking yarn of survival and achievement under the most extreme conditions....A judicious, sensitive account of an Antarctic trial by ice." Kirkus Reviews
"An exciting book." Booklist
"Electrifying. Brutal and inspiring tale of adventure and endurance." Men's Journal
"It is a gripping story embracing both tragedy and triumph, and Kelly Tyler-Lewis tells it well....Throughout her book she uses quotations judiciously, wherever possible allowing the men to speak for themselves. Her prose is a model of clarity..." Sara Wheeler, The New York Times Book Review
"[A]n inspiring story that deserves to be told....[A] thorough and thoroughly enjoyable account." Rocky Mountain News
Painstakingly researched and electrifyingly written . . . a brutal and inspiring tale of adventure and endurance. (Mens Journal
A gripping story embracing both tragedy and triumph. (The New York Times Book Review)
Long overshadowed by the mission Shackleton's men bargained their lives to sustain, this heartrending story of survival against all odds gets its due in this surprising account of the final journey of the heroic age of polar expedition.
The untold story of the last odyssey of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration
Sir Ernest Shackletons 1914 Antarctic endeavor is legend, but for sheer heroism and tragic nobility, nothing compares to the saga of the Ross Sea party. This crew of explorers landed on the opposite side of Antarctica from the Endurance with a mission to build supply depots for Shackletons planned crossing of the continent. But their ship disappeared in a gale, leaving ten inexperienced, ill-equipped men to trek 1,356 miles in the harshest environment on earth. Drawing on the mens own journals and photographs, The Lost Men is a masterpiece of historical adventure, a book destined to be a classic in the vein of Into Thin Air.
About the Author
Kelly Tyler-Lewis, a historian, is a Visiting Scholar of the Scott Polar Research Institute of the University of Cambridge, England. Her research took her to Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica, where she spent two months with the U.S. Antarctic Program.