The newspaper advertisement for volunteers to accompany Ernest Shackleton on his planned traverse of Antarctica in 1914 was frank in its offering.
“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.”
Still, hundreds applied. There were few chances left to be the first to reach the last challenge on Earth.
As the 20th Century came of age, explorers had uncovered most of the world’s mysteries, sailing to the far corners of the globe, ascending many of its most forbidding peaks, crossing its greatest deserts and penetrating its thickest jungles.
Frozen, alien, inhospitable, dangerous, and close to impossible to reach, there were only two tiny dots on the globe that human beings had not yet set foot on—the North and South Poles.
The Greatest Polar Exploration Stories Ever Told is a visceral, exciting and stunning collection of twelve stories recounting the bravery, resoluteness, and strength of the men who willingly traversed frozen hells to be the first to reach the North or South Pole. It is a collection that will both inspire and inform—and answer questions about the limits of human endurance.
Many men would die during their challenging, frozen journeys, and their deaths were not pleasant. Yet they continued to try again.
Here are stories, wrought by the challenging landscape and weather, that made these explorers household names and heroes: Peary, Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton, Franklin,Cherry-Garrard, Scott, Kane, Cook—and others lost to history whose bravery was nonetheless as admirable.
Each of these men knew success would bring glory for their countries and financial security and fame and eminent places in history for themselves. Each knew also the odds of success were slim and the chance of dying great.
Nations held their collective breaths for news of each expedition and those years later were termed the Heroic Age of Exploration—there were simply no other endeavors that captured the world’s attention the various races to the poles. The Greatest Polar Exploration Stories Ever Told recaptures the spirit, drama, and tragedy of a time in history that will never come again.