Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: Shackleton's Amazing Voyage

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Overview

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World vividly recreates one of the most extraordinary adventure stories in history.

In August 1914, Ernest Shackleton and 27 men sailed from England in an attempt to become the first team of explorers to cross the Antarctic continent from one side to the other. Five months later and still 100 miles from land, their ship, Endurance, became trapped. The expedition survived an Antarctic winter in the icebound ship, ...
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Overview

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World vividly recreates one of the most extraordinary adventure stories in history.

In August 1914, Ernest Shackleton and 27 men sailed from England in an attempt to become the first team of explorers to cross the Antarctic continent from one side to the other. Five months later and still 100 miles from land, their ship, Endurance, became trapped. The expedition survived an Antarctic winter in the icebound ship, then, after Endurance sank, five months camped on the ice followed by a perilous boat journey through storms and icebergs to remote and unvisited Elephnat Island, 600 miles from Cape Horn. From there, their only hope was for someone to fetch help. In a dramatic climax to this amazing survival story, Shackleton and five others navigated 800 miles of the treacherous open ocean in a 20-foot boat and then hiked across the unmapped, glacier-strewn interior of South Georgia Island to a whaling station. In August 1916, 19 months after Endurance first became icebound, Shackleton led a rescue party back to Elephant Island for his men.



Jennifer Armstrong narrates these almost unbelievable events with vigor, an eye for detail, and an appreciation of the marvelous leadership of Ernest Shackleton, who brought home every one of his men alive. With them survived a remarkable archive of photographs of the expedition, more than forty of which are reproduced here.

Describes the events of the 1914 Shackleton Antarctic expedition when, after being trapped in a frozen sea for nine months, their ship, Endurance, was finally crushed, forcing Shackleton and his men to make a very long and perilous journey across ice and stormy seas to reach inhabited land.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Incredible Endurance

Just imagine yourself in the most hostile place on earth. It's not the Sahara or the Gobi Desert. It's not the Arctic. The most hostile place on earth is the Antarctic...[where] in the winter, the temperature can sink to 100 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Cold air masses sliding down the sides of the glaciers speed up until they become winds of close to 200 miles per hour. When winter descends on the southern continent, the seas surrounding the land begin to freeze at the terrifying rate of two square miles every minute, until the frozen sea reaches an area of 7 million square miles, about twice the size of the United States. It is truly the most hostile environment this side of the moon. Just imagine yourself stranded in such a place....
from Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World

Sounds like a great introduction for an exciting video game, doesn't it? Or maybe a new adventure movie starring your favorite Hollywood heartthrob? Can you hear the wind howling against the glaciers now?

Believe it or not, this is a true story. In 1915, 28 men were stranded on the ice in Antarctica. Led by Sir Ernest Shackleton, already a celebrated hero around the world for his previous adventures and bravery, the team was trying to become the first group of explorers to cross Antarctica from one side to another. They were only 100 miles from land when their ship, named the Endurance, became trapped in the frozen sea. The pressure of the shifting ice was enough to crush the massive vessel, leaving the crew with no option but to set up camp on a slowly moving floe of ice. No one knew where they were because, of course, this was long before the invention of radar or radio signals powerful enough to travel between this wasteland and the rest of civilization. Their only hope, as the Antarctic winter picked up force around them, was to send someone across the bitter, stormy sea to fetch help.

Amazing, yes? Here's what's even more amazing: Every single member of the team -- including the two surgeons, the scientists, the seamen, the cook, and even the stowaway -- survived this incredible ordeal.

With a voice bubbling with infectious excitement and wonder, Jennifer Armstrong narrates this remarkable adventure. In Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, she takes us inside the ship, describing its stores (powdered milk, tobacco, canned meats, liquor, coal, rifles, lifeboats, lanterns, soccer balls, dogsleds) and its inhabitants (strong Irish sailors, a banjo-playing meteorologist, a daredevil photographer, and even the carpenter's sneaky tomcat, named, confusingly, Mrs. Chippy). Armstrong, a celebrated author of such young adult novels as The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan and Black-Eyed Susan, brings her considerable story-crafting talents to this real-life tale. The inside of the ship becomes so alive that we can smell its fetid air, we can hear the coins clank as the men play cards at night, and we can taste the spirits they drink after they shout their usual toast, "To our sweethearts and wives -- may they never meet!"

Further invigorating this true tale are the photographs taken by the team's photographer. Besides being insanely brave and willing to climb the ice-coated masts of the ship to get just the right shot, Frank Hurley brilliantly captured the camaraderie and bravery these men shared during their ill-fated expedition. We see them down in the hull of the ship, listening to records on the gramophone. We see the teams of dogs out on the ice. We see their squalid, freezing ice camps. We catch the glimmers of hope in their eyes (despite their exhaustion) and their obvious trust in their leader, Sir Shackleton (whom they call the Boss), and we know that it is these last two things -- their enduring hope and trust -- that kept all of the men alive during this ordeal.

How do they get off the ice? The story will leave you breathless, so we won't spoil it for you here.

In this age of fantastical music videos, extraterrestrial fantasies, superheroes with bionic powers, and intricate computer games, it's refreshing to hear the story of a real-life adventure and to meet 28 extremely brave people. This team of men, without computers or radios or any sophisticated equipment, survived "the most hostile environment this side of the moon." Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World will both humble and inspire teens who thirst for excitement. Jennifer Armstrong makes history come alive more vibrantly than any virtual-reality game.

—Cathy Young

Christine Heppermann
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World a book to finish in one breathless sitting, then dream about all night long.
— Riverbank Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Endurance is the fitting name British explorer Ernest Shackleton gave to the ship that left England in 1914 with a crew of 27, transporting what he anticipated to be the first expedition to cross the entire continent of Antarctica. It is also a fitting characterization for the struggle of the men described in this tale, a true story of survival against incredible odds. The crew of the ship (which sank a year and three months into their journey) went on to spend an Antarctic winter camping on ice floes, battling sub-zero temperatures and frostbite, dehydration and diarrhea, insomnia, boredom and--perhaps most dangerous of all--despair. Even while describing the months of inactivity, as the explorers drift along on ice floes, waiting to reach open water, Armstrong (The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan) keeps her narrative moving at a brisk pace. A generous supply of colorful anecdotes (e.g., Hussey, the meteorologist, "serenades the passing wildlife with his banjo") and excerpts from journals (one crewman described the ice-locked Endurance as being stuck "like an almond in the middle of a chocolate bar") shed light on the men's personalities and reveal Shackleton's remarkable skill for keeping his crew agreeable and hopeful, despite life-threatening conditions. Other passages--as when a floe on which the crew is camping suddenly cracks in two and one mate, still asleep, falls into the icy water--possess heart-pounding immediacy. Armstrong's absorbing storytelling, illustrated with dramatic black-and-white photographs, make this an enthralling adventure. Ages 10-13. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Dr. Beverly Kobrin
Bring them back alive? Despite overwhelming odds, Ernest Shackleton did in 1915, when his 28-man crew became ice-bound in Antarctica. Jennifer Armstrong dubbed it "one of the most incredible feats of survival ever recorded." In Ice Story (Clarion '99), Elizabeth Cody Kimmel called his Endeavor Expedition "the greatest misadventure the world has ever known." Whichever spellbinding account you read, however, no superlative will seem to describe adequately the fortitude, stamina, seamanship, and--all told--sheer good luck of the men who unsuccessfully attempted to be the first to cross Antarctica, coast to coast. I strongly recommend both for your collection. Each has details absent from the other, and as you know, one book on a subject is never enough.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Sir Ernest Shackleton is famous for Antarctic expeditions that never reached their goals. His first race for the pole in 1908 came up a hundred miles short. His second, undertaken at the start of World War I in 1914, was meant to be the first to trek across the frigid continent. Shackleton and his team never even made it to Antarctica proper. Instead, his ship was frozen in ice floes. Shackleton and the Endurance became famous for one of the most spectacular survival stories ever experienced. Armstrong takes this material and makes an equally spectacular read. The "Boss" and his crew come alive in one amazing event after another, all documented by reproductions from the expedition photographer's exceptional surviving glass plate negatives. This is an adventure to keep any kid or grownup awake late into the night, shivering from the cold and turning pages.
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Filled with intriguing details and written with dramatic style, this riveting account of the ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition reads like an adventure novel. In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton attempted to be the first explorer to cross Antarctica by foot "from sea to sea." On the eve of World War I, he set out with a crew of scientists and sailors on a specially designed ship, Endurance, but he and his team never reached their objective. The ship became entrapped in ice, and the men were forced to abandon their mission and try to survive in the brutally harsh Antarctic wasteland for 19 months. Thanks to Shackleton's leadership, the bravery of his crew, and a lot of luck, everyone survived. The astonishing circumstances of their ordeal include a treacherous hike across miles of frozen wasteland, an 800-mile open-boat journey through savage seas, and a perilous trek across the uncharted mountain ranges of South Georgia Island. Armstrong brings all of these experiences vividly to life, frequently using quotes from members of the expedition. Excellent black-and-white photographs taken during the journey document the entire adventure story. Elizabeth Cody Kimmel's Ice Story (Clarion, 1999) has larger and more plentiful photographs but Armstrong's text is far more engaging. Kimmel relates all of the facts skillfully, but Armstrong crafts them into an unforgettable story of true heroism and the triumph of the human spirit. A book that will capture the attention and imagination of any reader.-Edward Sullivan, New York Public Library
Cathy Young
Just imagine yourself in the most hostile place on earth. It's not the Sahara or the Gobi Desert. It's not the Arctic. The most hostile place on earth is the Antarctic...[where] in the winter, the temperature can sink to 100 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Cold air masses sliding down the sides of the glaciers speed up until they become winds of close to 200 miles per hour. When winter descends on the southern continent, the seas surrounding the land begin to freeze at the terrifying rate of two square miles every minute, until the frozen sea reaches an area of 7 million square miles, about twice the size of the United States. It is truly the most hostile environment this side of the moon. Just imagine yourself stranded in such a place....
--from Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World.

Sounds like a great introduction for an exciting video game, doesn't it? Or maybe a new adventure movie starring your favorite Hollywood heartthrob? Can you hear the wind howling against the glaciers now?

Believe it or not, this is a true story. In 1915, 28 men were stranded on the ice in Antarctica. Led by Sir Ernest Shackleton, already a celebrated hero around the world for his previous adventures and bravery, the team was trying to become the first group of explorers to cross Antarctica from one side to another. They were only 100 miles from land when their ship, named the Endurance, became trapped in the frozen sea. The pressure of the shifting ice was enough to crush the massive vessel, leaving the crew with no option but to set up camp on a slowly moving floe of ice. No one knew where they were because, of course, this was long before the invention of radar or radio signals powerful enough to travel between this wasteland and the rest of civilization. Their only hope, as the Antarctic winter picked up force around them, was to send someone across the bitter, stormy sea to fetch help.

Amazing, yes? Here's what's even more amazing: Every single member of the team -- including the two surgeons, the scientists, the seamen, the cook, and even the stowaway -- survived this incredible ordeal.

With a voice bubbling with infectious excitement and wonder, Jennifer Armstrong narrates this remarkable adventure. In Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, she takes us inside the ship, describing its stores (powdered milk, tobacco, canned meats, liquor, coal, rifles, lifeboats, lanterns, soccer balls, dogsleds) and its inhabitants (strong Irish sailors, a banjo-playing meteorologist, a daredevil photographer, and even the carpenter's sneaky tomcat, named, confusingly, Mrs. Chippy). Armstrong, a celebrated author of such young adult novels as The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan and Black- Eyed Susan, brings her considerable story-crafting talents to this real-life tale. The inside of the ship becomes so alive that we can smell its fetid air, we can hear the coins clank as the men play cards at night, and we can taste the spirits they drink after they shout their usual toast, "To our sweethearts and wives -- may they never meet!"

Further invigorating this true tale are the photographs taken by the team's photographer. Besides being insanely brave and willing to climb the ice-coated masts of the ship to get just the right shot, Frank Hurley brilliantly captured the camaraderie and bravery these men shared during their ill-fated expedition. We see them down in the hull of the ship, listening to records on the gramophone. We see the teams of dogs out on the ice. We see their squalid, freezing ice camps. We catch the glimmers of hope in their eyes (despite their exhaustion) and their obvious trust in their leader, Sir Shackleton (whom they call the Boss), and we know that it is these last two things -- their enduring hope and trust -- that kept all of the men alive during this ordeal.

How do they get off the ice? The story will leave you breathless, so we won't spoil it for you here.

In this age of fantastical music videos, extraterrestrial fantasies, superheroes with bionic powers, and intricate computer games, it's refreshing to hear the story of a real-life adventure and to meet 28 extremely brave people. This team of men, without computers or radios or any sophisticated equipment, survived "the most hostile environment this side of the moon." Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World. will both humble and inspire teens who thirst for excitement. Jennifer Armstrong makes history come alive more vibrantly than any virtual-reality game.

Cathy Young is a freelance writer living in Washington State.

--Barnesandnoble.com

Kirkus Reviews
Armstrong (The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan, 1996, etc.) narrates the incredible survival saga of Ernest Shackleton, who with a crew of 27 attempted to cross the Antarctic continent in 1914, and ended up trapped in their ship in the ice pack for seven months. When their ship was finally crushed by the ice they survived for another five months on the moving ice floes, traveled through storm-tossed seas to an uninhabited island, and were rescued, two years after they had set out, after Shackleton and five of his crew traveled 800 miles in an open boat to get help. This unbelievable story is enhanced by the vigorous prose; from the captivating introduction through the epilogue, it is the writing as much as the story that will rivet readers. The black-and-white photos, taken mostly on glass plates by the expedition's photographer, Frank Hurley, survived along with the men and are of exceptional quality. (Nonfiction. Ages 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780517800133
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 11/17/1998
  • Pages: 133
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1090L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Ever since the first grade, Jennifer Armstrong knew that she would become an author. She loved making up stories and sharing them with others. Her family treasured books and this led her to become an avid reader of all types of fiction. It was no surprise when she chose to study English and American Literature at Smith College in Massachusetts.

Armstrong is the author of over 50 books for children from kindergarten through high school. Best known for writing historical fiction, she has also been successful in

creating picture books, easy readers, chapter books, young adult novels, as well as nonfiction.

Armstrong, who grew up outside of New York City, now lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Jennifer Armstrong is the winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World. Many of her books have been designated as Notable Books by the American Library Association and the International Reading Association.

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