Posted by: Matt | January 15, 2008

Reading The Lost Men

In 1914, Ernest Shackleton set out on an expedition to Antarctica.  His goal was to cross the entire continent, a journey of 2000 miles.  In order to accomplish this, he sent a second team to the other side of the continent to lay stores in depots along the second half of the trans-continental journey.  This group was known as the Ross Sea Party and their story is told in The Lost Men by Kelly Tyler-Lewis.

I have read over half of this book so far, and the word that best describes what I have so far read is “miserable”.  What an absolutely torturous adventure this must have been for the Ross Sea Party.  Because of rushed and poor planning by Shackleton and a lack of funding the effort was compromised from the start.  These men had to pull thousands of pounds worth of supplies across hundreds of miles in sub-zero temperatures suffering frostbite and snow-blindness.  I can’t even imagine the suffering they must have experienced.  It is hard at times for me to walk a half-mile to the train in temperatures just below freezing.  I hope I never know the kind of suffering they experienced all in the name of adventure.



  1. I wonder to myself why did they even attempt such a thing? I just read Alive, and that book was full of unbelievable suffering in cold, tho not of their own choosing (to be there).

  2. It makes me cold and tired just thinking about it.

  3. jeane – Apparently people do this sort of thing for adventure, just for the thrill of it. I’m glad I find pleasure in doing more comfortable and less dangerous activities… like reading. 🙂

    Lisa – I can almost feel the misery when I read the book, but mostly I just think about how crazy it is.

  4. It sounds a lot like Pierre Berton’s “The Arctic Grail” (another fantastic read, by the way) in which explorers tried for both the North Pole and the Northwest Passage.

  5. Weren’t they mad? But the adventure of it all and the glory, etc. Give me a nice peaceful arrmchair in front of a fireplace reading about it any day of the week though.

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