Ernest Shackleton's Popularity

Granted, Shackleton’s failed trans-Antarctic expedition is one of the most incredible stories of human endurance (yes, I know) and strength.

BUT, it was just as fascinating ten or fifteen years ago as it is now. Why, then, is there such an current upsurge in matters Shackletonian? Did an heir pass on recently?

I don’t think it is just Shackleton. I’m a long time fan of all books on arctic and antarctic exploration and it appears to me that in the last 5 - 10 years there has been a huge increase in the number of books being published on these subjects.

I have thought about this question before and the only explanation that I’ve come up with (pure speculation, mind you) is that this is a bit of a small “niche” market which has only become profitable for publishers since the creation of Amazon and the big book stores like Borders and B&N.

Plus an excellent IMAX movie just released.

Heck, it worked for the NE Patriots.

The IMAX movie narrated by Liam Neeson has been out for over a year. NOVA recently aired a companion documentary. For the past few years, Wolfgang Peterson (Perfect Storm, Das Boot) has been trying to put together a Hollywood retelling starring someone like Mel Gibson or Russell Crowe. In 1998, there was a recreation of the journey that was made into a documetnary for Europe. Books about the adventure have been printed and reprinted off and on for at least the past 20 years.

I think the present popularity of the Endurance expedition has something to do with the recent restoration of the motion picture film taken during the voyage. TV documentaries need lots of media, and video is best. Once the restored film was available, PBS, The Discovery Channel and their sister stations across the pond had some great material for cheap docudramas.

There has been a glut of exploration/adventure books ever since the popular success of 1996’s Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. However, some of the books being published are based on material that has only recently become available. There are some great finds for long time fans of the genre, but a lot of pulp, too. If you haven’t already heard about it, read “In the Land of White Death” by Valerian Albanov about a failed Russian Arctic expedition in 1912. It was first published in English in 2000.

The IMAX movie narrated by Liam Neeson has been out for over a year. NOVA recently aired a companion documentary. For the past few years, Wolfgang Peterson (Perfect Storm, Das Boot) has been trying to put together a Hollywood retelling starring someone like Mel Gibson or Russell Crowe. In 1998, there was a recreation of the journey that was made into a documetnary for Europe. Books about the adventure have been printed and reprinted off and on for at least the past 20 years.

I think the present popularity of the Endurance expedition has something to do with the recent restoration of the motion picture film taken during the voyage. TV documentaries need lots of media, and video is best. Once the restored film was available, PBS, The Discovery Channel and their sister stations across the pond had some great material for cheap docudramas.

There has been a glut of exploration/adventure books ever since the popular success of 1996’s Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. However, some of the books being published are based on material that has only recently become available. There are some great finds for long time fans of the genre, but a lot of pulp, too. If you haven’t already heard about it, read “In the Land of White Death” by Valerian Albanov about a failed Russian Arctic expedition in 1912. It was first published in English in 2000.

The IMAX movie I saw about Shakleton was narrated by Kevin Spacey.

Liam Neeson narrated the IMAX film Everest, by David Breashears. It was released in 1998.

This seems to be an occasional phenomenon. Another example will probably be a widespread enthusiasm for Alexander the Great. Why are there four projects in the works in Hollywood right now? Heck if I know.

You’re right. The 2001 IMAX film, Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure was narrated by Kevin Spacey. I confused it with the 2000 film, Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition narrated by Liam Neeson which I also saw. :slight_smile: Mr. Neeson also narrated Journey into Amazing Caves, another recent IMAX movie.