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By the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon , a powerful true story of adventure and obsession in the Antarctic, lavishly illustrated with color photographs Henry Worsley was a devoted husband and father and a decorated British special forces officer who believed in honor and sacrifice. He was also a man obsessed. He spent his life ido By the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon , a powerful true story of adventure and obsession in the Antarctic, lavishly illustrated with color photographs Henry Worsley was a devoted husband and father and a decorated British special forces officer who believed in honor and sacrifice. He was also a man obsessed. He spent his life idolizing Ernest Shackleton, the nineteenth-century polar explorer, who tried to become the first person to reach the South Pole, and later sought 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, Frank Worsley, and spent a fortune collecting artifacts from their epic treks across the continent. He modeled his military command on Shackleton's legendary skills and was determined to measure his own powers of endurance against them. He would succeed where Shackleton had failed, in the most brutal landscape in the world. In 2008, Worsley set out across Antarctica with two other descendants of Shackleton's crew, battling the freezing, desolate landscape, life-threatening physical exhaustion, and hidden crevasses. Yet when he returned home he felt compelled to go back. On November 2015, at age 55, Worsley bid farewell to his family and embarked on his most perilous quest: to walk across Antarctica alone. David Grann tells Worsley's remarkable story with the intensity and power that have led him to be called "simply the best narrative nonfiction writer working today." Illustrated with more than fifty stunning photographs from Worsley's and Shackleton's journeys, The White Darkness is both a gorgeous keepsake volume and a spellbinding story of courage, love, and a man pushing himself to the extremes of human capacity.


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By the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon , a powerful true story of adventure and obsession in the Antarctic, lavishly illustrated with color photographs Henry Worsley was a devoted husband and father and a decorated British special forces officer who believed in honor and sacrifice. He was also a man obsessed. He spent his life ido By the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon , a powerful true story of adventure and obsession in the Antarctic, lavishly illustrated with color photographs Henry Worsley was a devoted husband and father and a decorated British special forces officer who believed in honor and sacrifice. He was also a man obsessed. He spent his life idolizing Ernest Shackleton, the nineteenth-century polar explorer, who tried to become the first person to reach the South Pole, and later sought 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, Frank Worsley, and spent a fortune collecting artifacts from their epic treks across the continent. He modeled his military command on Shackleton's legendary skills and was determined to measure his own powers of endurance against them. He would succeed where Shackleton had failed, in the most brutal landscape in the world. In 2008, Worsley set out across Antarctica with two other descendants of Shackleton's crew, battling the freezing, desolate landscape, life-threatening physical exhaustion, and hidden crevasses. Yet when he returned home he felt compelled to go back. On November 2015, at age 55, Worsley bid farewell to his family and embarked on his most perilous quest: to walk across Antarctica alone. David Grann tells Worsley's remarkable story with the intensity and power that have led him to be called "simply the best narrative nonfiction writer working today." Illustrated with more than fifty stunning photographs from Worsley's and Shackleton's journeys, The White Darkness is both a gorgeous keepsake volume and a spellbinding story of courage, love, and a man pushing himself to the extremes of human capacity.

30 review for The White Darkness

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tucker

    3.5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    My obsession with Antarctic explorers began when I was eleven and read The Great White South by Herbert Ponting, the photographer on the 1911 Scott expedition. As a girl, I held a heroic idealization of Scott and his men freezing in their hut. It seemed all so heroic, then. Later readings lowered Scott in my estimation. Henry Worsley idolized Ernest Shackleton for his courage and leadership. Although Shackleton was never able to complete his expeditions, he did save his men's lives. And Worsley' My obsession with Antarctic explorers began when I was eleven and read The Great White South by Herbert Ponting, the photographer on the 1911 Scott expedition. As a girl, I held a heroic idealization of Scott and his men freezing in their hut. It seemed all so heroic, then. Later readings lowered Scott in my estimation. Henry Worsley idolized Ernest Shackleton for his courage and leadership. Although Shackleton was never able to complete his expeditions, he did save his men's lives. And Worsley's own grandfather had been with Shackleton on his failed expedition to the reach the South Pole. Henry made a career in the army, completing Special Forces training while pursuing his obsession by collecting Shackleton artifacts. The White Darkness by David Grann tells the story of how Henry Worsley, after retirement from the army, participated in a centennial expedition retracing Shackleton's trek, along with two other descendants of the original team. The goal was to reach the South Pole, which Shackleton failed to do. They made it. Not content with this achievement, Henry afterward endeavored to complete the other journey that Shackleton had to abandon: crossing the Antarctic. Henry, though, would do it solo. Once again, I am amazed how men can be driven to endure the unimaginable physical stress of the Antarctic, not just once, but returning again to the dangerous beauty of ice. A hundred years ago men wanted to bring honor to their country and the Antarctic and Arctic were the last unexplored places on earth. But there has always been something more, a need for men to test themselves to the ultimate, to conquer the most extreme conditions imaginable In this short book about Henry Worsley, Grann covers the history of Antarctic exploration and conveys a chilling exposure to the 'white darkness' of the freezing desert landscape that has lured so many men to their deaths. I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    A riveting true story of Henry Worsley, a born leader and man obsessed with exploring the challenging, breathtakingly beautiful terrain of Antarctica, following in the footsteps of his idol Ernest Shackleton. I immediately became immersed in this remarkable story. Worsley’s notes and recorded telecommunications of his exploration are pieced together expertly by David Grann, never dragging with details. Photos are included in all the right places. Worsley’s first exploration leading a courageous A riveting true story of Henry Worsley, a born leader and man obsessed with exploring the challenging, breathtakingly beautiful terrain of Antarctica, following in the footsteps of his idol Ernest Shackleton. I immediately became immersed in this remarkable story. Worsley’s notes and recorded telecommunications of his exploration are pieced together expertly by David Grann, never dragging with details. Photos are included in all the right places. Worsley’s first exploration leading a courageous crew through this brutal and unforgiving landscape and a separate solo journey years later both took my breath away. It never ceases to amaze me what a human body and mind can endure and when they decide ‘no more’. I was overcome with emotion nearing the final pages. Worsley sacrificed so much to make his dreams reality. My heart went out to his wife and children.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    I reckon I lost about three miles' distance today from snaking around, head permanently bowed to read the compass, just my shuffling skis to look at for nine hours. Anyway, I'm back on track and now happy I can part a straight line, even through another day of the white darkness. ~ Radio broadcast by Henry Worsley, two weeks into a solo transantarctic crossing Author David Grann is known for spinning fascinating narrative nonfiction (as with Killers of the Flower Moon and The Lost City of Z), and I reckon I lost about three miles' distance today from snaking around, head permanently bowed to read the compass, just my shuffling skis to look at for nine hours. Anyway, I'm back on track and now happy I can part a straight line, even through another day of the white darkness. ~ Radio broadcast by Henry Worsley, two weeks into a solo transantarctic crossing Author David Grann is known for spinning fascinating narrative nonfiction (as with Killers of the Flower Moon and The Lost City of Z), and frequent readers of his essays in The New Yorker might well assume that whatever is intriguing Grann at the moment will eventually be spun into a tale that will intrigue them, too. Even so, I found The White Darkness to be a little thin – at only 140 pages, including dozens of beautiful full page photographs, I really don't think that Grann made full use of what is, in fact, a potentially spellbinding tale. (And, in fact, I don't know that the book much improves upon Grann's original article on Worsley's story in The New Yorker.) The pictures in this slim volume, however, are admittedly stunning. The format of the story is well chosen – We begin with Henry Worsley as he struggles to do what no one has done before: cross the continent of Antarctica by his own power, with no outside help, no prearranged food caches along the way, or even a cup of tea at the South Pole station that he passes en route. As his body weakens and his stomach cramps, Worsley must consider the lessons of the two earliest South Pole explorers who have fascinated him all of his life: Sir Ernest Shackleton, who turned back when a couple days short of the South Pole in order to get his men home safely; and Captain Robert Scott, who eventually did reach the Pole, and died alongside his crew on the return trip. The question Worsley must answer for himself: Is it truly better to be a live donkey than a dead lion? The book then goes over a very brief history of Antarctic exploration, followed by a very brief history of Henry Worsley's life: he was always intrigued by tales of South Pole exploration, was fascinated to learn that he is distantly related to one of Shackleton's crew, joined the British army and did two tours with the SAS. When one of Shackleton's descendants reached out to ask Worsley if he'd like to join him and another early explorer's descendant to attempt to complete the trek to the South Pole at the centenary of their ancestors' failed attempt, Worsley jumped at the chance. The book covers that trip, a later polar trek that Worsley joins, and eventually, after Worsley ages out of the army at 55 and promises his family that his dream of a solo Antarctic crossing would be the last time he ever left them, we rejoin the story from the beginning: trudging along with Worsley as he skis and hikes and tows his sledge, avoiding crevasses, and making his solitary way through the mind- and muscle-numbing white darkness. There's plenty of meat here for a full-length book, and I feel like Grann sold the story short; I do not feel fulfilled by this. Naturally, I kept reading to learn of Worsley's fate, but I would have happily stayed in this icebound world for quite a while longer.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    Nothing about Ernest Shackleton's story would make me want to replicate his expedition crossing Antarctica, but Henry Worsley wanted to do just that, but alone. He wasn't deterred by the fact that Shackleton's journey was an epic failure. I guess "adventurer" is just another word for "idiot". I suggest reading one of the books about Shackleton rather than this one, unless you just want to read a book about suffering in the cold. Both Shackleton himself and his trek were more interesting than any Nothing about Ernest Shackleton's story would make me want to replicate his expedition crossing Antarctica, but Henry Worsley wanted to do just that, but alone. He wasn't deterred by the fact that Shackleton's journey was an epic failure. I guess "adventurer" is just another word for "idiot". I suggest reading one of the books about Shackleton rather than this one, unless you just want to read a book about suffering in the cold. Both Shackleton himself and his trek were more interesting than anything in this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley You might not recognize Henry Worsley’s name, but you mostly likely have heard the story. At the end of 2015-the beginning of 2016, he attempted to cross Antarctica alone, but sicken, was airlifted, and, sadly, died while doctors while trying to save his life. His quest, done in part as a fundraiser, was followed by the media and classrooms. He received support from the royal family. If you are like me, you were impressed by the drive and the attempt, but also wonde Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley You might not recognize Henry Worsley’s name, but you mostly likely have heard the story. At the end of 2015-the beginning of 2016, he attempted to cross Antarctica alone, but sicken, was airlifted, and, sadly, died while doctors while trying to save his life. His quest, done in part as a fundraiser, was followed by the media and classrooms. He received support from the royal family. If you are like me, you were impressed by the drive and the attempt, but also wondering why. David Grann’s White Darkness does a good job at answering a question whose best answer till now has been “because it’s there”. Grann is perhaps the best teller of true stories working right now. This short book showcases his shorter work (the story appeared in The New Yorker), and proves that his short profiles can be just as riveting. As Grann notes, Worsley was obsessed with Shackleton an artic explorer who is better know for his failures where people didn’t starve to death than anything else. Unlike Amundsen who made it or Scott who died the stiff upper lip way, Shackleton got his people home. Worsley’s obsession seems in part because of a family connection (his ancestor Frank worked with Shackleton). In fact, prior to his solo attempt, Worsley had done a three-person hike with Will Gow (a descendent of Shackleton) and Henry Adams (a grandson of Jameson Boyd). Worsley’s obsession too does seem to be a case of hero-worship, he makes on interesting pilgrimage to Shackleton’s grave. Grann presents a quick overview of Worsley’s life, giving the reader a sense of who was lost, and not just a vague or abstract tragedy. While Grann never says, this is why, he does a great job of allowing the reader to get a sense of the drive and determination that fueled Worsley’s quest, but also to see the family that supported him. The long essay is supplemented by photos, and the tone itself is one of remembrance, but more peaceful or comprehensive than an obituary.

  7. 5 out of 5

    L.A. Starks

    This gem of a book details the Antarctic expeditions of Harry Worsley, who modeled himself on the leadership of explorer Ernest Shackleton. While the book is small at 146 pages, it is perfect as a gift for inspiration and/or admiration.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Somayeh Pourtalari

    داستان سفر هنرلی ورزلی از این سر تا آن سر جنوبگان، قارهی قطب جنوب. داستانی که هر لحظه اش شما را به فکر وا میدارد . به فکر این که کجا ایستاده اید و برای تحقق رویاهاتان چه کرده اید ... در یک کلام فوق العاده بود ❤ داستان سفر هنرلی ورزلی از این سر تا آن سر جنوبگان، قاره‌ی قطب جنوب. داستانی که هر لحظه اش شما را به فکر وا میدارد . به فکر این که کجا ایستاده اید و برای تحقق رویاهاتان چه کرده اید ... در یک کلام فوق العاده بود ❤️

  9. 4 out of 5

    Onceinabluemoon

    The day before I read the book dry, this book was the contrast I was seeking. Knowing nothing of the outcome I was awestruck by his endeavors, but the mood shifted and I prayed the tonal difference I felt was wrong... alas, tears were dripping down my cheeks at the close. I am truly awestruck at man's endeavors, it was humbling to read in the comfort of my warm cozy bed. Loved the photos, you could feel the sting and exhaustion every step of the way. An incredible lifetime of journeys unfathomab The day before I read the book dry, this book was the contrast I was seeking. Knowing nothing of the outcome I was awestruck by his endeavors, but the mood shifted and I prayed the tonal difference I felt was wrong... alas, tears were dripping down my cheeks at the close. I am truly awestruck at man's endeavors, it was humbling to read in the comfort of my warm cozy bed. Loved the photos, you could feel the sting and exhaustion every step of the way. An incredible lifetime of journeys unfathomable.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    Within the pages of The White Darkness you will find a true narrative of Henry Worsley, a man in possession of grit, fortitude, and never giving up. All clearly layered out by a writer that does these tellings of lives, complexities, and struggles, so well. He defines Henry Worsley’s great character up against the Antartica, the white darkness a test of it and his life. “As is true of many adventurers, he seemed to be on an inward quest as much as an outward one—the journey was a way to subject him Within the pages of The White Darkness you will find a true narrative of Henry Worsley, a man in possession of grit, fortitude, and never giving up. All clearly layered out by a writer that does these tellings of lives, complexities, and struggles, so well. He defines Henry Worsley’s great character up against the Antartica, the white darkness a test of it and his life. “As is true of many adventurers, he seemed to be on an inward quest as much as an outward one—the journey was a way to subject himself to an ultimate test of character.” Empowerment reading within. In that blanket of whiteness, the endless white into the beyond, treading through freezing conditions with no clear sign of end, onwards with sheer determination. This is a biographical read but also a motivational and a self-help read, that lets the read empathically understand that everyone have their own Antarctica to battle, to see through, to adopt fortitude, and fight through disappointment and failure, and persevere through. David Grann has written many great works on lives and roads, tales of adventure against odds, and this exceptional work pieces together research and great photos contributed by Worsley’s wife, Joanna. A biography that may stay close to you heart and mind, whilst in warmth and comforts, and reflecting upon one mans survival against the bitter extremes of cold. Review with excerpts video short @ https://more2read.com/review/the-whit...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Watts

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The White Darkness follows Henry Worsley on his two (!!!) treks through Antarctica to follow in the footsteps of his hero, Ernest Shakleton. I learned a lot about the continent and about how grueling it is to even spend a day there, let alone months at a time. Worsley is brave, driven, and admirable. This is a must read!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Heather Fineisen

    This story about Henry Worsley and his quest to follow Shackleton' s footsteps to the Antarctica covers two expeditions, the second solo. Biographical information is solid and you want Worsley to succeed. Those interested in Shackleton will be intrigued. Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley

  13. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    David Grann has been one of my favorite New Yorker reporters for years, ever since I read his "Trial by Fire," a fascinating look at a case of arson, written with fantastic verve and twists and turns. I've since enjoyed almost everything he's done, especially the stories on men's obsessions that take them to dark places. The White Darkness is another great job of reporting, originally published in The New Yorker, and I'm thrilled it is being published in book form. In The White Darkness Grann tak David Grann has been one of my favorite New Yorker reporters for years, ever since I read his "Trial by Fire," a fascinating look at a case of arson, written with fantastic verve and twists and turns. I've since enjoyed almost everything he's done, especially the stories on men's obsessions that take them to dark places. The White Darkness is another great job of reporting, originally published in The New Yorker, and I'm thrilled it is being published in book form. In The White Darkness Grann takes us to Antarctica, following the obsession of Henry Worsley, who, in 2015, at 55 years old, embarked on a solo venture across Antarctica, hoping to follow the course that his hero, Sir Ernest Shackleton, tried and failed to conquer 100 years prior. To tell this story, Grann spends a good amount of time looking at Shackleton's own journeys, looking at why Worsley thought he was an admirable leader. Grann also looks at Worsley's prior visits to Antarctica, in 2008 and 2011, when he successfully retraced other famous Antarctic exploration routes from 100 years prior. These are fascinating stories of human planning, training, endurance, and foolhardiness. It makes you wonder the purpose of it all. At the same time, it is entirely understandable. There is beauty in exploration and testing humanity. There is wonder on earth. The White Darkness also asks, What is failure? Shackleton, after all, relatively close to his destination, called off his own trans-Antarctic venture. He and his crew survived. In contrast, Shackleton's contemporary and competitor Robert Scott, the second (just five weeks after Amundsen) to make it to the South Pole, is often criticized for not giving up, losing himself and his crew in 1912. Worsley has to fight this demon when times get dark: does he fail to meet his destination and thus succeed in surviving, like his hero, or does he stubbornly push himself across the threshold that will lead to his demise?

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Mansfield

    This review covers the essay found in Feb 12/19 of "The New yorker" I don't usually review essays but David Grann is an author whose books I'll always read. This is a marvellous look at the life story of Henry Worsley, a descendant of one of the members of Ernest Shackleton's crew. Worsley is an adventurous explorer by nature and among his many exploits he came up with the idea of following in Shackleton's last footsteps with two other Shackleton descendants and later to cross the southernmost co This review covers the essay found in Feb 12/19 of "The New yorker" I don't usually review essays but David Grann is an author whose books I'll always read. This is a marvellous look at the life story of Henry Worsley, a descendant of one of the members of Ernest Shackleton's crew. Worsley is an adventurous explorer by nature and among his many exploits he came up with the idea of following in Shackleton's last footsteps with two other Shackleton descendants and later to cross the southernmost continent solo. David Grann writes non-fiction like a novel. His flowing narrative is as captivating as his readers have come to expect. I'd never heard of Worsley before but am a great reader concerning exploration of either pole.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    A good, short little read where descendants of polar explorers decide to recreate their ancestors' trips. The premise is great but the book is very short, leaving out much of the detail about hazardous exploration that makes it so much fun to read about. This is more of an article than a true book. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Allen Adams

    https://www.themaineedge.com/adventur... We have always sought to explore the unknown. There have always been men who want to be the first to be somewhere, the first to do something. The spirit of adventure runs strong with some – too strong to ignore and so strong as to lead to truly astonishing accomplishments. In “The White Darkness,” author David Grann offers up the story of one such man, a man whose lifelong affinity for the idea of polar exploration and the men who pioneered it led him to be https://www.themaineedge.com/adventur... We have always sought to explore the unknown. There have always been men who want to be the first to be somewhere, the first to do something. The spirit of adventure runs strong with some – too strong to ignore and so strong as to lead to truly astonishing accomplishments. In “The White Darkness,” author David Grann offers up the story of one such man, a man whose lifelong affinity for the idea of polar exploration and the men who pioneered it led him to become a polar explorer himself. His devotion led to incredible feats, Antarctic adventures the likes of which we hadn’t seen in nearly a century. The book – which sprang from an article Grann had written for the New Yorker – tells a tale both gritty and uplifting. It’s a story of how we might share the triumphs of the past while pushing forward along our own paths. “The White Darkness” is the story of Henry Worsley, a British Special Forces officer who carried with him a decades-long fascination with polar exploration – the adventures of Ernest Shackleton in particular. He was a good military man and a loving husband and father, but deep down, he burned with a desire to explore the Antarctic ice. He idolized Shackleton, whose efforts to become the first to reach the South Pole (and then to cross the entire continent of Antarctica on foot) never reached full fruition. Shackleton’s failures resulted in even more fame, as his staunch leadership wound up saving the men in his charge on more than one occasion. He was a far better leader of men than he was Arctic explorer … and he was a damned good Arctic explorer. Worsley was deeply, fundamentally connected to these stories. His distant relation Frank Worsley was one of Shackleton’s men. He bought memorabilia and ephemera connected to the voyages. Henry dreamed of undertaking the same harrowing journeys that Shackleton and his men had tackled. And so, in 2008, he made his dream come true. Worsley – along with Will Gow and Henry Adams, also descendants of Shackleton’s crew – set off to celebrate the centenary of Shackleton’s Nimrod Expedition by pioneering a route through the Transatlantic Mountains and finishing approximately 100 miles away from the South Pole. Three years later, Worsley led a six-man team in retracing Roald Amundson’s route to the Pole, again marking the 100th anniversary of the original feat. But with every challenge conquered, another rose to replace it in Worsley’s psyche. That’s how it came to pass that in November of 2015, Henry Worsley set out on his most dangerous expedition yet. He was going to cross the Antarctic continent on foot. And he was going to do it alone. And unsupported. And in 80 days. Would this be his latest, greatest triumph? Or would this journey be the one that finally proved too much? Or would it wind up somewhere in between, somewhere floating in the snowblind blankness of the titular white darkness. There are few genres so rife with the potential to transport as narrative nonfiction, when a writer can seamlessly combine the prosaic deftness of the best fiction with the rock-solid reality of true stories. Those writers are out there, and they’re good. A few are even great. David Grann is great. Henry Worsley’s story would be compelling no matter who told it – it is that exhilarating. But while the thrills inherent to this story are obvious, it is Grann’s subtler machinations that make the tale spring to life. Worsley cuts a heroic figure, but Grann allows him to be human in ways that, far from undercutting, serve to elevate that heroism. The picture painted of Antarctica is bleak and evocative. Grann’s synapse-stirring knack for breathing life into a landscape is here in full force, aided by the inclusion of photos from Worsley’s expeditions – and from those led by Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott. The unending white and the shattering cold, the innocent-looking nooks and crannies that might mean rough travel or even death – it’s all there, on every page. And on every page is triumph. The indomitability of the human will utterly permeates this book; it saturates every page. Henry Worsley’s is a particular kind of courage, the kind that not only allows one to set forth on a grand and dangerous adventure but convinces others to follow. He is graceful and dignified, a throwback in the best way. “The White Darkness” captures the spirit of Henry Worsley, as an explorer and as a man. It is a tale of victory and defeat, of determination and desire. It’s an enthralling examination of what drives someone to attempt to the ice at the bottom of the world, all while crafting a vivid sensory recreation of the harsh nature of that place.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    THE WHITE DARKNESS. (2018). David Grann. ****. This short book tells the story of Henry Worsley and his obsession with Ernest Shackelton, the earlier polar explorer who became famous for his achievement in being the first person to reach the South Pole. He also attempted to cross Antarctica on foot, but was unsuccessful. Worsley assembled a team which also reached the Pole, but he failed at his later efforts to reach the Pole in a walk across the continent. He was an extremely dedicated man and THE WHITE DARKNESS. (2018). David Grann. ****. This short book tells the story of Henry Worsley and his obsession with Ernest Shackelton, the earlier polar explorer who became famous for his achievement in being the first person to reach the South Pole. He also attempted to cross Antarctica on foot, but was unsuccessful. Worsley assembled a team which also reached the Pole, but he failed at his later efforts to reach the Pole in a walk across the continent. He was an extremely dedicated man and a great leader of his team. The hardships gone through in his quest are unbelievable. The author describes the continent as follows: “The continent is nearly five and a half million square miles – larger than Europe- and it doubles in size in winter, when its coastal waters freeze over. Approximately ninety-eight percent of Antarctica is covered in an ice sheet, which rises and drops and bends over the varied topography. The sheet – which, in places, is fifteen thousand feet thick – contains about seventy percent of the freshwater, and ninety percent of the ice, on Earth. Yet Antarctica is classified as a desert, because there is so little precipitation. It is the driest and highest continent, with an average elevation of seventy-five hundred feet.” The book gives a vivid description of Worsley’s team’s success in reaching the Pole, and his failed attempt to make the trek on foot – alone – as a subsequent challenge. The author attempts to give us an idea of what the man must have been like to undertake these challenges. The tale is extremely well told.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Spoilers ahead, and full disclosure in light of Antarctic exploration: I’m a quarter Norwegian. After 100 years, the British have evidently haven’t learned as much about polar exploration as they should have. The will to succeed and persevere will not always work against nature, especially if you’ve made questionable decisions based, I guess, on the baggage of the British Empire. Antarctica is hostile; the mental game is critical, but the physical toll is very real. Following Shackleton’s steps to Spoilers ahead, and full disclosure in light of Antarctic exploration: I’m a quarter Norwegian. After 100 years, the British have evidently haven’t learned as much about polar exploration as they should have. The will to succeed and persevere will not always work against nature, especially if you’ve made questionable decisions based, I guess, on the baggage of the British Empire. Antarctica is hostile; the mental game is critical, but the physical toll is very real. Following Shackleton’s steps to his farthest south and finishing the trip to the South Pole? Do it. Man hauling your sleds? Why? Is there a more miserable and physically demanding method of polar travel? But it’s the classic British way. Gathering rock samples when you are struggling to pull your own food? Every armchair Antarctic enthusiast knows that Wilson was doing that on the trip back from the pole when he died. Why would you do that now? Henry Worsley was obsessed with Antarctica and I can appreciate that. But attempting a solo overland journey across the continent tragically resulted in his death. Why go alone, unassisted? Why? Some things are just not good ideas, even if it’s the British way of doing it. Sometimes -gasp- the British way of doing things is wrong. He was posthumously awarded the Polar Medal. I honestly can’t believe that 100 years after Scott’s fatal trip back from the South Pole, the British are still celebrating martyrs who died needlessly. I realize this all sounds horribly disrespectful towards Worsley; that’s not my intent. It’s anguish at anyone dying for the sins of their culture. It’s not atoning for the sins, but still being trapped by them. Tragic. The book itself is sticks to the story, it’s brief and to the point.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kmalbie

    This is a quick, inspirational Christmas morning read for both young and old! I loved this book. I'm old and need to be reminded these days of true leaders and adventurers. One of the best parts of this book, besides the flat out courage and commitment of these explorers, were the inspirational quotes from some great leaders (including Shackleton himself) that actually impacted behavior. I'm okay with the hero (they all have a touch of obsessive insanity), I long to hear from anyone who practice This is a quick, inspirational Christmas morning read for both young and old! I loved this book. I'm old and need to be reminded these days of true leaders and adventurers. One of the best parts of this book, besides the flat out courage and commitment of these explorers, were the inspirational quotes from some great leaders (including Shackleton himself) that actually impacted behavior. I'm okay with the hero (they all have a touch of obsessive insanity), I long to hear from anyone who practices what they preach, I yearn to observe personal integrity as a goal. I should add that I do enjoy Grann's straightforward writing style.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    You can probably deduce this from the length, but don't expect the immersive depth of "Lost City of Z" or the deeply investigated intensity of "Killers of the Flower Moon." This book is basically a glorified New Yorker story with lots of beautiful pictures, written by one o the best non-fiction writers of our time. And you could do worse things in a couple hours than read a glorified New Yorker story by Grann. I can't wait to see what Grann has in store next.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Terry Enright

    People like Henry Wosley (main subject) just amaze me. To put yourself through the rigors required to accomplish overcoming the Antarctic, the planning, the physical challenge to work ceaselessly in sub-zero temperatures, and most of all, to have the mental fortitude to push on when you body is telling you to stop. I'm just in awe of Henry Wosley, I wish I could find half the passion and sticktoitivness that he possessed in my own life. Perhaps this book has at least given me a little push to b People like Henry Wosley (main subject) just amaze me. To put yourself through the rigors required to accomplish overcoming the Antarctic, the planning, the physical challenge to work ceaselessly in sub-zero temperatures, and most of all, to have the mental fortitude to push on when you body is telling you to stop. I'm just in awe of Henry Wosley, I wish I could find half the passion and sticktoitivness that he possessed in my own life. Perhaps this book has at least given me a little push to be a better person.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Read this book in a couple of hours. Yes, it is a short book, but also impossible to put down. Great story and very well written. Left me wanting more.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mike Ely

    This is a really fascinating story. I'm surprised that I had not heard about Worsley's adventures before I picked up this book. Grann does his typical excellent job of research and writing, bringing to life the stories of Shackleton and Worsley a century apart. The photos in the book help bring the reader to the Antarctic to see the white darkness and bleakness of the journeys. This is a wonderful, fast, entertaining read highly recommended to everyone.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jorge

    Excelente!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Inspired to go it alone. An incredible journey in to the land very few have known. Henry Worsley and two others followed Edward Shackleton’s path to trek Antarctica and reach the South Pole. Then he went it alone...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sonya

    Better suited for a long New Yorker profile than a standalone book. Not entirely satisfying. I didn’t get a feel for the explorer and I the audible narration is mismatched to the topic. (Update: If I were more up to snuff on all the pieces in a pile of New Yorker magazines that are collecting dust, I'd know that this WAS a great NYer feature and doesn't warrant its own book. I am drowning in content, apparently.)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    I read this book in one sitting. I knew nothing about Worsley and his polar expedition and found it fascinating. Grann’s writing pulled me right in to the story. And the accompanying pictures where breathtaking. I rarely read non fiction but after reading this book I plan to change that.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katra

    David Grann's significant talent has turned to a mesmerizing story of polar compulsion. Take three descendants of men on Earnest Shackleton's failed Nimrod exploration doggedly determined to retrace the intended route to the south pole. Then take the compulsion to the next logical step - and the next. How far will one of them go to honor his hero? Would Shackleton have approved? This is a gripping tale of hero worship, determination, grit, pain, self sacrifice, and obsession that shouldn't be mi David Grann's significant talent has turned to a mesmerizing story of polar compulsion. Take three descendants of men on Earnest Shackleton's failed Nimrod exploration doggedly determined to retrace the intended route to the south pole. Then take the compulsion to the next logical step - and the next. How far will one of them go to honor his hero? Would Shackleton have approved? This is a gripping tale of hero worship, determination, grit, pain, self sacrifice, and obsession that shouldn't be missed. The pictures of the original expeditions paired with the contemporary attempts are both awe inspiring and terrifying. High recommended. Thanks to NetGalley and Doubleday Books for making an advance copy available for an honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicola Pierce

    A beautiful little book that tells a big story about inspirational polar explorer Henry Worsley's ultimate Antarctic fate. And whatever I felt may have been vaguely missing from the text - drama, colour, poetry - is to be found in the accompanying photographs.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    Thank Doubleday and Netgalley for the ARC of this upcoming long form non- fiction. David Grann does a great job making history compelling, and this is no exception. My only disappointment was the short length; I thought this was a full novel length until I downloaded it. So it ended too soon.

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