A Fantastical Story of Polar Survival in Which No One Died — And It Wasn’t Shackleton

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(AJ) It’s a classic story of survival. A ship sunk by crushing ice floes. Men united to stay alive through unimaginable conditions. Surviving on an uninhabited island through the darkness of the polar winter. Will, ingenuity, and tenacity lead to a heroic sea crossing in open boats that most people wouldn’t trust on a calm lake. Finally, a mid-sea rescue. Not a single human life was lost.

An Irish boy named Ernest Shackleton may have heard this unfathomable story of resilience and strength as he played outside the local pub. The year of the rescue was 1882, so the young Shackleton was only eight when the news broke. Thirty-four years down the line he, too, would have a remarkably similar experience, albeit on the opposite side of the globe. The biggest difference is that he would tell the world about it.

There’s a straightforward reason why few people have heard about that earlier tale of survival. The captain who kept his men focused on surviving the unimaginable ordeal simply wasn’t much of a talker.

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