The Crossing of Antarctica: Original Photographs from the Epic Journey that Fulfilled Shackleton’s Dream by George Lowe & Huw Lewis-Jones; Shackleton: By Endurance We Conquer by Michael Smith - review by Sara Wheeler

Sara Wheeler

The Icemen Cometh

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

By

Thames & Hudson 240pp £24.95 order from our bookshop

Shackleton: By Endurance We Conquer

By

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.’

Every so often, however, a book breaks through the ice crust, and The Crossing of Antarctica is one of these. This wonderful volume is a photographic record of the 1957–8 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition (TAE), in which Vivian ‘Bunny’ Fuchs, then fifty, and the long-faced Sir Edmund Hillary fulfilled Shackleton’s dream

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