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An Irishman in Antarctica

By: John MacKenna , Jonathan Shackleton

Publication Date: 26 November 2002

(6 customer reviews)


Shackleton: An Irishman in Antarctica by John MacKenna and Jonathan Shackleton


A mesmerizing new biography of explorer Ernest Shackleton, lavishly illustrated with over a hundred photographs, maps and engravings, some of them appearing in print for the first time. Eighty years after his death, the extraordinary story of Endurance South Pole expedition still holds a compelling grip on the public imagination. Trapped in drifting polar pack ice for ten months, Ernest Shackleton and his crew fought for survival against all the odds. When the Endurance was finally crushed, they were stranded on the ice for more than a year, before reaching Elephant Island. Two weeks later Shackleton and five companions embarked on the most remarkable rescue mission in maritime history, sailing to South Georgia over eight hundred miles of the roughest seas in the world in a small open boat.

This book probes deep into family history to reveal the profound influence of Ernest Shackleton’s Irish Quaker roots in the making of a great leader. The fruit of intensive research, Shackleton: An Irishman in Antarctica paints a vivid portrait of a man whose ambition was always tempered by his humanity and egalitarianism. Here too are the untold stories of Shackleton’s upbringing in Kildare; his time in the Merchant Navy; his marriage and love affairs; his life as public man and politician; and the haunting story of his final – and fatal – expedition on the Quest.

Drawing on family records, diaries and letters – and featuring hitherto unpublished photographs and archive material – this mesmerising book takes us beyond the myth to Shackleton the man, showing us a hero who eschewed imperial hierarchy and whose greatest triumph was that of life over death.

‘A beautiful, insightful book about a famed explorer.’ Customer review


JONATHAN SHACKLETON, Antarctic specialist and cousin of the explorer, is a leading expert on the life and achievements of Ernest Shackleton.

JOHN MACKENNA, award-winning short-story writer, novelist, biographer and broadcaster, is author of The Fallen and other stories, Clare, A Year of Our Lives, The Last Fine Summer, The Occasional Optimist, The Lost Village and A Haunted Heart.

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6 reviews for Shackleton

  1. Lilliput Press

    “A beautiful, insightful book about a famed explorer, born in Ireland but educated in England. In British Empire times he was a British hero however has now become, ‘An Irishman in Antarctica’.” IGA DAVIES

  2. Lilliput Press

    “Extremely interesting what these explorers went through both physically and mentally. Never really thought about how their dreams could affect their families. Felt like I got to know Ernest Shackleton, the man.” PEGGY DUKE

  3. Lilliput Press

    “I became interested in Shackleton after visiting Antartica. This is a good read. I learned a lot of details about him and his explorations that I had not seen elsewhere.” RJSO

  4. Lilliput Press

    “Well written and worth the price. This book gave personal information on the explorer’s life that is unavailable in the more swashbuckling books written about his explorations and achievements. It made the man himself more understandable.” S BELL

  5. Lilliput Press

    “Yet another account of the great man and well worth reading. Accompanied by some interesting photos. Enjoyed it very much.” RLS

  6. Lilliput Press

    “Yet another account of the great man and well worth reading. Accompanied by some interesting photos. Enjoyed it very much.”

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Weight 1 kg
Dimensions 175 × 230 mm
Publication Date

26 November 2002


Hardback, 210pp