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

by Jennifer Armstrong

Hardcover, 1998



Local notes

919.8 Arm



Crown Books for Young Readers (1998), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 134 pages. Purchased in 2007. $20.00.


Describes the events of the 1914 Shackleton Antarctic expedition when, after being trapped in a frozen sea for nine months, their ship, Endurance, was finally crushed, forcing Shackleton and his men to make a very long and perilous journey across ice and stormy seas to reach inhabited land.


Original publication date


Physical description

134 p.; 9.56 inches


0517800136 / 9780517800133

User reviews

LibraryThing member CarolyneBegin
This is a very interesting book about the exploration of the Antarctic by Ernest Shackleton. It goes through the entire story in great detail from the selection of the crew to their rescue. I knew a little about this before reading the book but this really is a great tale of adventure. Even though it is historical it turned out to be a page turner. I cannot believe that a group of people lived on ice for so long with very little of the resources we have now. I loves reading about the popularity of the ship that encouraged a stowaway and about the ship cat that was brought on as well as learning how they survived on the ice.
The story is accompanied by great photographs and maps that help understand the situation they were in. Without them it would hard to imagine the hardship they went through but also how amazing their adventure really was. Very interesting to read!
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LibraryThing member JonathanToups
"Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World" by Jennifer Armstrong details the journey of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition and "The Boss," Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton. The story is extremely interesting and detailed, and I can see it being used to serve two different purposes in a classroom: first, as an example and endorsement of the importance of documentation of events; second, used as a text connected to the theme of leadership.

I was most impressed with the expedition's documentation of their journey. The fact that Ms. Armstrong has so many pictures and stories to tell of what would have been a horrific and boring year of survival is a testament to the documentation skills of the crew. The story of carefully selecting which 150 photo negatives to save from the ship out of 400 is just one example of this. Unsurprisingly in the book, as survival becomes more difficult, supplies dwindle, and hope is more waning, there are fewer photographs in the book. But still much is mentioned about the crew attempting to write diary entries. Indeed, we would not have much of the information in this book about this expedition had the crew not documented so well. I wish the author had included more maps, but it would seem the author attempted only to use primary photograph and maps sources. Some maps earlier would have been helpful. Additionally, further research would indicate that the photograph on page 122 that says, "Saved!" is actually a photograph of the James Caird leaving, not them being saved, which also seems apparent given the size of the boat coming into the island for them, and that we seem to be looking at the back of the boat. The other photograph that may have been better-chosen is the one on page 38. While the author is careful to acknowledge the historical insensitivity of the person in blackface, the value the photograph provides to the story does not outweigh the distraction and repulsion it causes.

As a story about leadership, the quote on p. 9 explains everything about Shackleton: "'Aye, he's a fine leader, he is,' Cheetham replied. 'He don't run you into any danger if he can help it; buy, by gum! if there's danger, he goes first.'" The examples of leadership Shackleton displays throughout the story is remarkable. The way he occupies his crew's minds and gives them tasks could be converted to a classroom setting, that students, too, must complete their tasks for the sake of the class. The way Shackleton prevents mutiny by carefully reading the words of the Ship's Articles was impressive. Shackleton's ability to rotate people into different tents is an example of the need for teachers to rotate students around to avoid quarrels. And finally, Shackleton's ability to take the difficult parts of journeys, and select just the right people to help him, is critical. That nobody on the expedition died is a remarkable achievement.

Overall, I appreciated this book and the story it told. This story has value in a classroom setting, and a teacher could get a lot out of students with this story.
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LibraryThing member jmsummer
This book talks about Ernest Shackleton and his failed expedition to the Antartic. This book is easily one of the best reads that I have done so far in non-fiction. The book pulls you into this great piece of history that was the the whole lives of Shackleotn and his crew. The book is also filled with a number of original photographs that survived this event, which helps give a sense of the challenge that the crew went through. Even though this is a short book, it is by no means bad. The entire story is there. It is not a condensed number of facts. The lives of these people are talked about, from the crew building homes for their snow dogs to the Midwinters Day party. Not many books of this size would keep students as engaged as it does. I would use this book in any secondary history/ geography course.… (more)
LibraryThing member Cottonwood.School
Describes the events of the 1914 Shackleton Antarctic expedition when, after being trapped in a frozen sea for nine months, their ship, Endurance, was finally crushed, forcing Shackleton and his men to make a very long and perilous journey across ice and stormy seas to reach inhabited land.
LibraryThing member prkcs
Riveting tale of how the crew of the Endurance lead by Sir Ernest Shackleton survived the destruction of their ship, the Endurance, and their existence in antarctica for over a year. They had been attempting the first crossing of the continent. It turned into a fight for survival and was documented through the men's diaries and the photographs which were taken of the expedition.… (more)
LibraryThing member ffox
I read the very good "Endurance" a few years back and became mildly obsessed with the Shackleton story. How I managed to overlook this great piece of YAL is somewhat of a surprise to me. It is as compelling as any of the work I've seen on the story (kind of hard to make this story not compelling) and because of the structure/limits of the medium it move along very rapidly and comes off as a real page-turning suspense story.… (more)
LibraryThing member Orpgirl1
This Newberry-award winning non-fiction book regarding Shackleton's failed journey to the South Pole in 1914 was gasp-inducing and absolutely riveting. Armstrong does a masterful job of uncovering this forgotten time in history that at it's happening was the headline news of the day. Sir Ernest Shackleton, a seasoned veteran of expeditions, and 27 men boarded the Endurance in a race to cross the continent of Antartica at the start of the first World War. Soon after reaching the continent, their ship became stuck in the ice, and the men spent months living within the stuck ship. After the ship sank, the men lived on the ice floes themselves, constantly fighting off attacking whales and boredom and fear. Shackleton and a few brave others leave 22 men behind to make a journey in a simple wooden boat back to the last land they remembered, without maps, compass, or any true idea where they were going. Nineteen months after they had first shipwrecked Shackleton returned to the ice flow where he had left his men, and all 27 men were rescued. The most heroic rescue and failed mission of it's time, this book is a literal piece of magic.
Armstrong uses journal entries, photos, and newspaper clippings to piece together the story of these brave men. The pictures alone are compelling and riveting, but when Armstrong adds her strong yet heartfelt words you literally feel as if you are stranded on the ice flow yourself with these men. The book is fairly long, but I couldn't put it down, even though I knew that everyone would be saved in the end. This book is vital for any classroom, especially as a non-fiction text that both boys and girls will enjoy and relish every moment of reading.
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LibraryThing member teason
I really enjoyed this book. I had not heard of the story before, so I was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time. Shipwreck tells the true story of Ernest Shackleton and his 27 men who sailed from England in an attempt to become the first team of explorers to cross Antarctica from one side to the other. Five months their ship, Endurance, became trapped in ice 100 hundred miles away from land. The expedition managed to survive another five months. Shackleton and his crew had to camp on ice floes and then begin a dangerous journey through stormy seas to the unvisited Elephant Island. At the end of this amazing survival story, Shackleton and five others somehow navigate 800 miles of open ocean in a 20-foot boat to fetch a rescue ship. The best part is that he was able to bring all of his men home. The illustrations are very lively and detailed.… (more)
LibraryThing member agiffin
This book takes the reader completely into the world of Shackleton and his men as they defy all odds in surviving over a year in the treacherous ice packs of Antarctica. While at first glance, the reader may think reading this book will become as boring and repetitive as the long days the stranded men lived out themselves, this is not the case. The strength, courage, and perseverance of these men resonates on every page, and with each new obstacle faced and overcome, the reader is drawn more closely into the story. The photographs were a helpful visual, and I was disappointed when there were less towards the end of the book (although this would be an excellent connection to make with student readers--that there were less pictures because of the many items the men were forced to leave behind!) Overall, an excellent account of an incredible tale, one that I think a middle school social studies class might certainly enjoy.… (more)
LibraryThing member Jmmott
This book was very well researched. Armstrong drew upon a variety of resources on Shackleton himself, Antarctica, and periodicals of the time. The book contains an index and bibliography along with an acknowledgment of specific books that were particularly helpful to the author in creating this text. The use of an informative narrative voice and contemporary photographs by the ship's photographer allow the author to present an honest, and at times terrifying account of the Shackleton expedition. With regards to organization the book is chronological, following the expedition from the planning stages to the rescue on Elephant Island. There are schematic drawings of the ship Endurance and maps to give the reader a greater sense of the time and place of this adventure. I found moments in the book difficult to read as they were unflinching in their descriptions of the hardships that the crew faced. The epilogue that discusses the fates of the men after rescue is heartbreaking in some cases, but for others it just finishes the picture of each man begun with the photograph of the crew before departure. This book could be an excellent addition to a middle school social studies class as part of a unit on 20th century exploration, and the build up to WWI.… (more)
LibraryThing member smoore75
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World tells an historical account of the ship Endurance and its 27 crewman and leader, Ernest Shackleton. Shackleton, called "The Boss" by his crew, set out to be the first Trans-Antarctic explorers of their day. However, due to countless hardships and the unpredictable, hostile weather of the South Pole, the ship was, ultimately, lost and the crew had to set about trying to survive. With their three life boats and supplies in tow, the crew used ice floes to search for open water. Once found, they battled bad weather and freezing temperatures to make it ashore the remote and uninhabited Eleplant Island. Knowing they could not stay, Shackleton and five of the crew, in search of rescue, set out on an 800 mile journey to South Georgia Island, where there was a whaling station. After reaching their destination, it would take another five months to return to the men on Elephant Island. In the end, all of the crewmen survived their ordeal. The ship's name, Endurance, would be more appropriately placed on the crew and their leader, Shackleton.

I really enjoyed this book and loved that is was written like an adventure novel. The author pulls you in with vivid imagey. The book is full of photographs that help tell the reader what was occurring and give perspective. The chapter headings were clearly designed to draw you in and tell the reader what the chapter would be about. The book is full of quotes taken from journals of the men, again, giving perspective. I could certainly see myself using this book to talk about temperature, different types of snow (I didn't know there were 18 kinds. Wow!), what the body can withstand, why you, ideally, should not eat raw meat, etc. Multiple subjects are overlapping in this book; history, social studies, science. It is a great book! My favorite so far.
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LibraryThing member MattRaygun
The ill-fated final expedition to the south pole by Ernest Shackleton was reproduced in detail in this book. One of the greatest assets of this book are the incredible photos by the ship's photographer Frank Hurley. The images he captured are haunting, moving, and stark.

Let me say that this book is not badly written. It is done, I feel, rather faithfully to the spirit of the explorers that nearly died on this expedition. The sheer fact that not a single person died is so unbelievable that it deserves to be read (not to mention that it makes it more appropriate for young readers). However, this book was not terribly pleasurable to read. The writing is dry, matter-of-fact, and at times is as monotonous as the lives of the sailors trapped on the ice for those many months. It is a quick read, but it tends to drag. Saying this, I have no idea how anyone could make being marooned on an icy wasteland for a year sound interesting for very long...but this book comes close.

The bibliography is thorough and the book is well-cited. The subject is thoroughly interesting and I feel its my own fault that I only find this book mildly entertaining to read.

I recommend this book for ages 11&up.
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LibraryThing member scnelson
As the title says, it is an extraordinary story of survival in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. Trapped by pack ice in an unexpectedly cold Antarctic summer, the crew of the Endurance had to give in to Mother Nature and ride the ice until it freed them months later. At first they had the ship to rely on, but eventually the ice rushed it and they were forced to live on the floes, living off the land when there was no land at all. It is an amazing story of survival and courage and loyalty.
Armstrong does a great job of bringing the journey to life with help from photos and diary entries from the expedition. She gives us the full cutaway plans of the ship as well as the route they took from South George Island and back again. At the very beginning she tells us that they all survived, sacrificing a bit mystery, but allowing a sense of awe to build as things get worse and worse for the crew, yet we know that they all lived and we keep wondering how they could possible accomplish that feat. She shows exactly how fitting the name Endurance came to be for the failed expedition and the crew themselves. This adventure was endurance beyond understanding and well worth the read.
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LibraryThing member ChelseaRose
This book has a great deal of information and is set up like a chapter book with a lot of text and few pictures. There are some maps included that help the reader to understand the voyage. Shackleton was the captain of the Endurance, a ship that traveled to Antarctica with a crew of scientists, doctors, and handy men to sail around unchartered waters. The ship gets stuck in the ice and after months of waiting for the ice to break the team leaves the ship, dragging the life boats across the ice to use as shelter. They survive for over a year this way, until the captain sails in one of the life boats to Elephant island and returns with a ship to rescue the men. It's crazy that they survived this experience, and makes you thankful to not be stuck in Antarctica.… (more)
LibraryThing member ChloePalmer
Jennifer Armstrong presents the treacherous world of the frozen desert of Antarctica and the men who made their home on the ice for more than two years in this thrilling story of adventure. "Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World" describes the journey of Captain Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance who survived an unparalleled disaster. Their Antarctic ice trapped and swallowed their ship, leaving them to fend for themselves. Armstrong uses pictures and the amazing diaries of the crew members to tell this story, paying close attention to gory and glorious details of the men's fight for life and the leader who saved them.

I greatly enjoyed this book (can you tell?). The superb writing of Jennifer Armstrong serves as a testament to what a captivating, passionate non-fiction book should be. I recommend anyone above the age of nine read this tale.
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LibraryThing member Chrisdier
Armstrong’s book chronologically details the struggles of famed “Sir” Ernest Shackleton, an English explorer, as his crew dangerously navigates and traverses Antarctic continent. Shipwreck is packed with adventure, but there are some slow parts that may bore a lot of the younger readers. Almost 100 years ago, Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, got trapped in ice and forced them to travel across the frozen tundra. Amazingly, all of the crew members survived.

Prior to this book, I was unaware of the massive voyage undergone by these people. Sure, I knew that trips like these had taken place, but I did not know the specifics. I had no idea how treacherous these journeys, like this one, could be.

This book seems to be appropriate for people of all ages, from kids to grownups. It would do really well in a middle school social studies class, especially with students who like action and adventure, or maybe even a freshmen level geology class that is learning about the areas that pertain to this book.
The illustrations are great, as well.

Note: The picture of Lionel Greenstreet on page 68 is excellent.
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LibraryThing member enbrown504
Armstrong's book about the famous expedition of the Endurance was one of my favorites I've read this semester. It told the story of captain Shackleton and his crew who traveled to Antarctica on an exploring expedition that was eventually stranded in that unusually icy season. When the ice shifted their boat the Endurance was crushed and the crew was left to find their way back to civilization. A few of the men sailed back on a life boat where they found help and rescued the rest of the crew without a life lost. This is an incredible story of adventure and survival in a different time in the history of society. Armstrong writes in an informative and exciting tone without exaggerating or sensationalizing the experience of the crew. The book is illustrated with many photos taken by the ships photographer on the expedition. The organization is narrative and chronological. The sources used are extensive both in terms of background knowledge about exploration and the Antarctic and the story of Shackleton and the Endurance giving a very dependable feel to the account provided by Armstrong.… (more)
LibraryThing member KeithMaddox
I very thoroughly enjoyed this book, so much so that I wonder if my male gender has biased me towards enjoying a rollicking adventure tale. The book is an account of Shackleton's attempted Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which became the stranding and sinking of the Endurance, and escape to Elephant Island and finally accross the Southern Ocean to South Georgia Island in a lifeboat. The fact given away at the beginning of the book, that everyone survived, takes nothing away from the reading experience. The book is illustrated primarily with photographs taken during the expedition, which are of themselves a fascinating description of the narrative. In the front of the book can be found a (labeled) photograph of the crew, which will prove invaluable as the reader follows the same people for two-and-a-half years, as well as the original blueprints of the Endurance, and an map/timeline of the route they took. Armstrong's story-telling is impeccable.
I have a few concerns that I will describe now; I feel that my ability to give them the weight they merit has been prejudiced by my enjoyment of the story, so I will let the reader of this review evaluate their significance. The primary negative of this book is the sourcing. Armstrong is not clear as to where exactly the information she asserts is coming from. There were journals and such on the expedition, but the specifics of what came from where are not explicitly stated. On this note, there is dialogue between crew members, and it is impossible for the reader to know whether this is from primary sources, or whether Armstrong made it up.
Beyond this serious concern, I noticed some terms were not defined, which can pose a problem for the young reader. Armstrong mentioned Antarctic fauna, particularly birds without particularly describing them. It would have been fun for the reader to pull out an illustrated identification guide to look up petrels and skuas, but also unsettling for a reader who could not. There were a few nautical terms or parts of a ship that were not explained either (though the blueprints in the front of the book answer most of these questions).
However, I would have to say that Armstrong's explanations of Antarctic phenomena are possibly the strongest part of this book. She clearly and simply explains phenomena that are outside the range of most readers' experience (particularly those in New Orleans for whom snow itself is a mysterious substance). Honorable mention goes to her explanation of celestial navigation and the resolution of the longitude problem through use of accurate chronometers (the astronomy geek in the reviewer wishes she would have described occulation, a celestial method to approximate latitude, but we cannot have everything we ask for), the meterology and climatology of the region, explaining the high wind-speed, unique waves, the process of iceberg formation, and how the Earth's axial tilt is responsible for weather and changes in daylight seasonally. First place goes to her description of types of snow. Scrabble-players are advised to read the beginning of the chapter "The Face of the Deep is Frozen." The gap between this New Orleanian's vocabulary for snow and that of the Eskimo has narrowed immensely.
A possible complaint could be what the book does not mention. Very little is said about events after the expedition. Another facet I found interesting but was not addressed was the idea of isolation, that these men were out of contact with civilization. They departed Agentina just as World War I was beginning, and yet I saw very little thought given to what must going on at home.
However, none of this detracts from the narrative. When our class read "Almost Astronauts" about the women who were tested for the Mercury program, I thought that the discription of their travails was somewhat repetitive and predictable. X, Y, and Z was done to so-an-so, and she did really well. X, Y, and Z was done to the next three so-an-sos, and they did really well too. And then something like X, Y and Z was done to..., and guess what? They did really well!... and so on. (I am not trying to take away from the subject matter of the book, or compare what the Mercury 13 v. the Endurance crew went through, my problem is specifically with the storytelling.) I did not have this problem with Armstrong's book at all. Though it may be some latent gender bias, I felt as though the descriptions of freezing breath, saltwater blisters, etc. were short, clear, vivid, but not postponing the narrative.
I would recommend this book to a student with an interest in adventure. In terms of encouraging reading, or of learning about history, geography, and science, this book is perhaps second to none. However, in terms of using this book with an entire class, there may be better stories. Perhaps the exception would be a geography class that was spending substantial time on Antarctica (though I do not think that is likely), but aside from that the focus of this book is too specific. This book would not give a general understanding of life in the early Twentieth Century (so a History teacher may want to look elsewhere), and the science is broad and clearly explained, but not in depth enough for a science teacher's purpose. Perhaps creativity can make up for these deficiencies, but I think the adventure element of this book is too big of a focus to spend class time on. Perhaps an English class could use this book though. It could provide interesting story ideas, be a good companion read to an adventure novel, and the narrative structure of the book might make it an ideal candidate to be used to teach students how to read nonfiction. The technical language and broad reach of concepts addressed in this book makes me reluctant to use with all but the most advanced middle schoolers, though it may be a good tool to teach high schoolers how to read a book that requires outside resources to enhance context (such as a science textbook or a bird identification guide).
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LibraryThing member jamiesque
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong recounts the adventure of Sir Earnest Shackelton, his crew and their vessel, The Endurance. Armstrong jumps right into the thick of the voyage after a brief first chapter. The narrative is streamline, beginning when The Endurance sets sail and ends, perhaps abruptly, when the crew is rescued. But for the very brief epilogue, nothing is mentioned about the aftermath of the rescue. It is though after resoulution of the main conflict, the tale ends; no falling action. However, the events and people that are mentioned are done so vividly and effectively.
While the content is satisfying, the most outstanding aspect of the book is its format. The cover is a near canvas of white except for the bottom third, which contains a photograph of the harnessed crew dragging a boat behind them. The imposing blank background impresses upon the view a sense of isolation and impotence in the face of nature. Throughout the book there are more amazing photos that transplant the reader into a barren, Antarctic wasteland bespeckeled by only their own human settlements. There are photos of the crew, their ship, before and after icy torture, as well as snapshots of thier everyday lives. One page contains four crew portraits; these portraits put a face on man's desire for adventure and exploration. The deeply creased faces of the men speak not of a coddled life, but of weather and sea and peril. Over and over the photographs depict the struggle playing out in the book: nature's fury and harshness and the human drive to conquer it. The book also contains maps, blueprints of The Endurance, lists of crew members and their specialaties in relation to the voyage.
The text is interesting and it is easy to follow the chain of events transpiring in the book. There are humerous anecdotes, such as Mrs. Chippy and the stowaway, as well as tense tales of near mutiny. However, the photos taken by an Endurance crew members are what really sets this book apart. We all know what a picture is worth.
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LibraryThing member jaisidore
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World is a piece by Jennifer Armstrong which uses a collection of journals and photographs to tell the story of daring adventurers. The content opens with the intent of having the reader identify with the hostile conditions of the Antarctic. Ernest Shackleton leads the crew of deckhands and scientists on a voyage to cross the icy continent, but misfortunes come to plaque the expedition. Facing the bitter cold and starvation, the crew musters the determination and will to survive the arduous venture.

Armstrong use of details brings a great amount of geographical and scientific knowledge to the reader. The work provide intervals of intricate details such as temperature, coordinates, process of turning seawater into fresh water, astrological alignment, and wildlife accounts. Then, Armstrong content pattern follows with a particular circumstance or continues the storyline of Shackleton and his crew as they move from aboard the shipwreck Endurance and their travels through the ice shelves of Antartica.

This work provides the reader with interesting dynamics of the South Pole which can be incorporated in the study of Geography, Math, or even Earth Science and use in History to compare Shackleton to early European explores.
A major cause for concern is that Armstrong does not include details on sources for this work. These sources, if included, would have allowed for authenticating information presented.
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LibraryThing member rwilliamson
This story is the amazing true survival story of The Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Twenty-seven men were trapped in polar ice for nine months. There ship the Endurance was crushed forcing the crew to cross the frozen sea. Finally, expedition leader Shakleton and two others cross almost hundred miles of open water to reach help. Amazingly all survived. Unfortunately, three members of the party racing from the other side of Antarctica to lay-out supply depots died never knowing Shakleton’s group was not coming.
There are photos taken by the ship’s photographer, throughout the book. There are maps and a diagram of the Endurance. It also contains an epilogue, index, bibliography, and acknowledgments. In the acknowledgements, Armstrong discusses her sources including primary sources such as the logbook from Endurance.
This book will appeal to middle grade readers. It might appeal to reluctant male readers. Shipwreck At the Bottom of the World is easy to read with short chapters and gripping pictures. The hundredth anniversary of the expedition would make an interesting tie-in. This book could be used as part of a larger unit on the exploration of Antarctica. There are numerous math problems to be explored from the distances covered before and after the ship was destroyed, the size of Antarctica, the amount of food needed by the crew, the stores brought aboard ship for the voyage. This unit could also the biology and geography of Antarctica. Extensions could be made comparing the North and South Poles. Students could also compare Antarctic research today with 100 years ago.
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LibraryThing member DustinB1983
“Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World” is the true story of the crew of the Endurance, led by Sir Ernest Shackleton. They set out to cross the continent, but they icy conditions turned their mission of expedition into one of survival. The meat of Armstrong’s story is based on the personal accounts of the men who were there, and we are lucky enough to have had a photographer aboard to supplement it with some haunting pictures. I would not describe this was an easy read, because the story is graphic, but like an automobile accident on the side of the highway, I could not look away. A survivor of this ordeal might not only remember the moments of drama and heroism, but also ice, ice, and more ice as far as the eye could see. However, Armstrong ties the pieces of the story together in a way that brings the reader along with her.

Although a very intriguing read for mature children and young adults, I would not recommend a story with so many dead puppies, penguins, and seals to a younger reader. Also, Segments of the story might be fascinating in a number of content areas. For example, in the context of a geography class, one might find excerpts helpful in describing the harsh conditions of Antarctica. However, I struggle to see any direct classroom application. With classroom time at a premium, a history teacher would prefer to cover more pivotal events. This is a great book, and an interested young reader would find it compelling and informative, but I do not know how I could use this in a classroom.
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LibraryThing member JLCasanova
This book tells of twenty-seven, courageous men who set out to cross Antarctica. During their journey their ship becomes stuck in ice and eventually is crushed from the pressure. With their ship sunken, the men survive almost a year of intense cold and exhausting conditions. This is a great tale of survival and determination. Science teachers can use this book as a way to introduce the shifting of the continents. Students can also learn about ice floes and the different types of ice and icebergs. Science teachers can also teach students about why drinking salt water is harmful. Students can also learn about the tools used by the explorers such as a sextant, a compass, and nautical tables. History teachers can have students research what other explorations were taking place at this time and what was known about the world and exploration. Math students can learn how to track latitude and longitude from the chapter titled “Into the Boats.” English teachers can have students pretend to be stowaways on the ship and have them record a diary explaining their experiences. This book follows a chronological order that begins with the men being selected for the task and ending with their rescue. The author uses a simple style so that even advanced third or fourth graders can comprehend the reading. The book also contains a diagram of the ship, a list of the crewmembers, and a map of the expedition to give the readers a better understanding. Black and white photographs taken by the crew’s photographer are inserted throughout the book and help the reader to sympathize with the men. The author includes a table of content, acknowledgments, a bibliography, and an index. All of these additions show that the author put great effort into researching this story. This book would make a great addition to any middle school collection.… (more)
LibraryThing member Kathdavis54
I wanted to like this book so much. Armstrong gives the reader a great introduction, descriptive storytelling, and thorough resources like an index and bibliography. Honestly, I just found the topic very boring. I can say, though, as someone who had no interest in the topic, I enjoyed her style of writing. Armstrong is obviously passionate about Shackleton's story and obviously admires him.

If teaching this topic I would recommend this book over Armstrong's children's book version of the same information.
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LibraryThing member harriewatson
I have read Endurance by Alfred Lansing 5-6 times. I think short of reading the actual primary sources, diaries and log books, etc, that book is the definitive one on this story. I think Jennifer Armstrong did an outstanding job of truncating this incredible story so that even middle schoolers could share this. For middle school I think this would be a perfect one for librarians to read outloud. There will be many terms and concepts that will probably need guidance and support for middle school students and maybe even for high schoolers.. This book could easily be integrated into history and geography. Armstrong doesn't go into what happened to Shackleton in the aftermath, but that story illustrates completely how the western world changed after WWI. The avalanche of technology and the public's weariness with extreme public displays of reckless bravery based upon nationalism (like exploration) combined to make Shackleton's story less valuble on the lecture circuits of the day (which were themselves being replaced with film). His return voyage was less ambitious because he couldn't raise funding. I think this book could be an intersting way to segue into how the Roaring 20"s came about and how England never really recovered from WWI.

I have placed this book in the Documents, journals, diaries, and albums category. It could also be placed in the biography category. The use of primary sources, both paraphrase and quotes, adds great richness to the story. The photographs from the epic trek are amazing and well captioned to fit into the story. Even details in the captions such as explaining that a photograph of Hurley's on page 40 add much to the understanding of the entire story. Caption explains that photo looks like a negative because the trapped Endurance is covered in white snow when the sun didn't rise at all for months. Sources are all well documented with included references and also in the bibliography. In examining criteria for nonfiction, I am struck by the firm documentation resulting in a great deal of accuracy. The story itself is sensational, but there is no sensationalism. Content includes the scope of this story which is more detailed than presented here. But the chosen focus is to give the juvenile reader enough detail without being overwhelming. I think the author has handled this task well. Her tone is serious, but admiring of the dtermination of these men. Her clarity is appropriate to her audience and she does explain special equipment and tools of navigation. There are still terms which will need explanation for full understanding. Unfortunately, I find most young readers just skip over those terms and miss the full comprehension willingly. The book is organized chronologically and well illustrated with photos, maps, and drawings.
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(170 ratings; 4.2)
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