Published by First Second on June 17th, 2014
Genres: graphic novel, nonfiction
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Ernest Shackleton was one of the last great Antarctic explorers, and he led one of the most ambitious Antarctic expeditions ever undertaken. This is his story, and the story of the dozens of men who threw in their lot with him - many of whom nearly died in the unimaginably harsh conditions of the journey. It's an astonishing feat - and was unprecedented at the time - that all the men in the expedition survived.
Shackleton's expedition marked the end of a period of romantic exploration of the Arctic and the Antarctic, and this is as much a book about the encroaching modern world as it is about travel. But Nick Bertozzi has documented this remarkable journey with such wit and fiendish attention to detail that it's impossible not to get caught up in the drama of the voyage. Shackleton is a phenomenal accompaniment to Bertozzi's earlier graphic novel about great explorers, Lewis & Clark.
I find it interesting that Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey is classified as a children’s graphic novel, because I didn’t get that impression while reading. I loved it, but it didn’t give off a middle grade or young adult voice at all. Simply put, this is a fun, informative, nonfiction novel. It’s short and I read it in about an hour, but I was fascinated the whole time I was reading.
This is the story of Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic explorer. The book focuses on his second to last expedition, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. There is a little beginning background on his previous expeditions to get you started and understanding how much of a bad-ass this guy really was. So he gets permission from the government and the National Geographical Society to fund his expedition (during WW1 no less), he hires a bunch of carpenters, seamen, and scientists, and off they go.
This graphic novel is the story of that expedition, how it falls apart, and how they manage to survive. It’s completely true, fascinating, harrowing, and at times, gruesome. I thought it was really enjoyable though. And this is the kind of history I love to read. Great stories in small doses. I don’t get bored and it sticks in my brain. The artwork wasn’t particularly special (though it was good), the storytelling was great, and there were small touches of humor.
And like the author said, it makes you want to learn more about Shackleton and his life. He’s right because after I was done, I looked up some of the places from the story and was kind of stunned at how bleak the landscape was. There is literally not much there except for rocks, ice, snow, and penguins. It’s not a place I find beautiful at all, though I suppose some might.
So basically what I am telling you is that you should read it. And it has my seal of approval. 🙂
This book covers the “Set on a Boat” square.