Sara Wheeler

The Icemen Cometh

The Crossing of Antarctica: Original Photographs from the Epic Journey that Fulfilled Shackleton’s Dream

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Thames & Hudson 240pp £24.95 order from our bookshop

Shackleton: By Endurance We Conquer

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Oneworld 443pp £20 order from our bookshop

Contemporary writing on the Antarctic reflects our gruesomely unheroic age. Men with frozen beards produce accounts of epic struggles replete with snapped-off digits and self-congratulatory morals about winning through and, more importantly, beating the other guy. If the other guy inconveniently ends up getting there first, he is inevitably revealed to have cheated. I remember a picture editor twenty years ago telling me that when selecting the colour plates for such a book, the author (a contributor to one of the volumes under review here) issued the order, ‘There must be no photographs depicting my companion ahead of me.’

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