Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Book: The White Darkness (May 2019)

By David Grann

May 21, 2019

Henry Worsley, devoted husband and father and decorated British Army officer, was a man obsessed.  He had spent years studying the life of Ernest Shackleton, the 19th-century polar explorer who strove to become the first person to reach the South Pole and later to cross Antarctica on foot.  Shackleton never completed his journeys, but he repeatedly rescued his men from certain death and emerged as one of the greatest leaders in history.

Worsley felt an overpowering connection to those expeditions.  He was related to one of Shackleton’s men and had modelled his military command on Shackleton’s legendary skills.  And he was determined to measure his own powers of endurance against them in the most brutal landscape in the world.

In 2008, Worsley set out across Antarcticia with two other descendants of Shackleton’s crew, battling the relentless cold, life-threatening physical exhaustion and treacherous hidden crevasses.  Yet, when he returned home, he felt compelled to go back.  In 2015, Worsley bid farewell to his family and embarked on his most perilous quest: to walk across Antarctica alone.

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