To me the beauty of wrecks is that they represent a fixed moment in time. Sites on land, by contrast, often represent a great many years of occupation, and in my youth when I worked on villa sites outside Rome and elsewhere, I soon learned how difficult it was – often impossible – to assign a secure relative chronology for many of the artefacts we were finding. With a shipwreck, though, you are dealing with a single instant in which everything was pitched onto the seabed; and, because water can be a wonderful preservative, in the right circumstances the wreck and almost everything within will still be there. A wreck can be the perfect time capsule.

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In a nutshell

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The story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance, which sank in the Antarctic in 1915, and the miraculous survival of all 28 men on board is legendary. A century later a plan was hatched to find the endurance. Expedition director Mensun Bound, a British Maritime Archaeologist, gives his account of the two expeditions which led to the discovery in 2022. Interspersed with stories of Shackleton, The Endurance and what led him to launch these expeditions, it’s a fascinating tribute to the discovery of the endurance.

Book Club Notes

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I was interested in reading this book because I had read Shackleton in 2021 and I will say that book is the perfect introduction to this one.

Written in a diary entry format, The Ship Beneath the Ice is Mensun Bound’s account of the expeditions to locate Shackleton’s Endurance.

I found the first half to be a little bit boring, but this changed substantially in the second. I don’t know if this had to do with the lack of knowledge I had at the beginning vs. halfway or if the disappointment of failure on the first expedition and the gumption to try again made for a better backdrop for the second.

Overall, it was a good read, but it certainly is not for everyone. You need to know the Shackleton story or be fascinated by shipwrecks to pick this book up.

Read If

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You are interested in exploration, adventurers, Shackleton and history

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Rating

6
Storyline – 6 /10
Writing – 8/10
Likeability – 7/10
Purpose – 5/10
Shareability – 5/10
6.0
6.0Overall Score
A note on our book ratings

Storyline: How good is the storyline? Is it believable and complex or does it make you shake your head in its ridiculousness?

Writing: How well written is the book? Do you find yourself wowed by the writing or unimpressed?

Likeability: Are the characters likeable, relatable, imparting something of value?

Purpose: Is there a clear purpose to the story being shared or is it better suited as a personal project for a family keepsake?

Shareability: How likely are you to share the book?

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