Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance Book Poster Image

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance

Survival saga of attempted Antarctic crossing.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The men come close to mutiny.


Many, especially the passage to Elephant Island. The men are often close to death.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book is history as exciting adventure -- better than fictional survival stories, beautifully written, and illustrated with photos that survived from the voyage.

What's the story?

This is the incredible survival saga of Ernest Shackleton, who attempted to cross the Antarctic continent in 1914, and who, with his crew of twenty-seven, ended up trapped in an ice pack for seven months.

When their ship was finally crushed by the ice, Shackleton and crew survived another five months on the moving ice floes, traveled through storm-tossed seas to an uninhabited island, and were finally rescued, two years after they had set out, when Shackleton and five crew members traveled eight hundred miles in an open boat to get help. Not a man was lost.

Includes maps, bibliography, and index.

Is it any good?


This unbelievable story -- the subject of numerous books, articles, and even a museum exhibition -- is enhanced by Jennifer Armstrong's breathtaking prose. From the spellbinding introduction through the epilogue, it is her writing as much as the story that rivets the reader's attention. The tale is a testament to the old-fashioned virtues that made the British such great explorers during the height of their Empire. Courage, fortitude, perseverance, good cheer and humor in the face of disaster, and that uniquely British trait called the "stiff upper lip" are all on display, as the crew endures the most punishing setbacks yet ultimately triumphs.

The photos, taken mostly on glass plates by Frank Hurley, survived along with the men, and are of exceptional quality. Along with the text, they provide a you-are-there quality that keeps readers holding their breaths for much of the story. This account is told as the most exciting of adventure tales, the way history for children should be written.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what Shackleton and his crew had to do to survive. What kinds of traits helped these men keep going as they faced enourmous challenges? If you were to undertake an expedition like this, how would you prepare yourself, mentally and physically?

Book details

Author:Jennifer Armstrong
Illustrator:Frank Hurley
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publication date:January 1, 1998
Number of pages:128

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Kid, 10 years old April 12, 2011

a book you will never forget-wether it`s because of how boring it is, or the amazing true story

i read it for school and though it seems boring and like it`s dragging on forever, there are SOME exciting parts. I mean, try being out there freezing for months with a thin sweater (thats what they were wearing in the pictures). One part is pretty disguisting, this guy gets his toes sawed off with something like a butter knife due to being ..... well read the book. Overall, it is an amazing true story about courage, friendship, and believing in yourself. Shackleton and his crew deserve a big thumbs up for surviving ( I can`t believe they actually did) their unbelievable adventure and great teamwork.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written bylakesgirl January 25, 2009

very iffy book- okay- but eh.

This book was about a man and his crew that went through extraordinary tough gashes in life. It is like they are supers! When they went through all of this, they had to adapt to changes. It is when their ship sank that the book really got through to me. But how they dealt with it- and their snow dogs- and the penguins- and the whales- and the pulling- it was just all so very moving to know that there are people that care about things in this world and set goals. once those people's goals are set- up, up, and away! They fly to the sky searching for whatever they want to accomplish. Thank you so much- you should really read this book- it is totally AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Parent Written byThe Lane boys' Mom May 11, 2012

Great for a School Project

My 10-year old son selected this book for a book report. We both enjoyed reading the book. I liked it as it captured his attention and was not the typical subject matter selected by the other children. Very educational.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models