Yet another biography of Sir Ernest, this time written by a bloke who’s walked in his footsteps. This lends a sound credibility to the analyses of the good, bad and (sometimes) ugly decisions made by these wild Edwardian adventurers who were at the absolute pioneering stage of polar exploration. Fiennes’ admiration for his hero in Shackleton is obvious, but he doesn’t fawn over him, discussing both the man’s faults and his heroics and very aptly explaining the colonial environment at the time.
In an age of cancel culture, it’s refreshing to see a man presented as both an admirable hero — forging a path for human discovery in the face of incredible odds — and a tragic figure — womanising, unreliable with money, and seen as a failure in his time — without demanding the reader choose one or the other. Humans are complex. Shackleton was very human, but achieved superhuman feats.
A very nice read.