In 1914, a year of significant anniversaries, Flying Eye Books chose to mark a less heralded one in Shackleton’s Journey. This beautiful book, written and illustrated by William Grill, tells the story of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to cross Antarctica from its early planning to final failure. In between are accounts of individual bravery, the stores on board, the men’s hobbies, the rescue of the main party and the support team. This concentration on the seemingly unimportant minutiae alongside the heroic feats humanises the expedition and causes the reader to live it. And the illustrations in mainly cold blues and white have the feel of an expedition sketch book. The whole is a fascinating account of a relatively unremembered slice of modern history.

That’s what I wrote in The Scotsman.  I fell in love with this book when I first saw it.  It touched something in me and I actually found it hard to review as I didn’t feel I could see it objectively.  What I actually wanted to say was: I really love this book!  But The Scotsman has higher standards than that so I tried to analyse what I felt made it such an excellent book. I hope I achieved that.

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