Erebus: The Story of a Ship (Paperback)Michael Palin (author)
The multi-talented Michael Palin turns his talents to maritime history in this extraordinary biography of the sailing vessel, HMS Erebus. Elucidating two very different exploratory voyages, Palin recounts the pioneering successes of James Clark Ross’ passage to the Great Southern Barrier and the tragic outcome of John Franklin’s command to the Arctic, in effortlessly readable style.
In September 2014 the wreck of a sailing vessel was discovered at the bottom of the sea in the frozen wastes of the Canadian arctic. It was broken at the stern and covered in a woolly coat of underwater vegetation. Its whereabouts had been a mystery for over a century and a half. Its name was HMS Erebus.
Now Michael Palin - former Monty Python stalwart and much-loved television globetrotter - brings this extraordinary ship back to life, following it from its launch in 1826 to the epic voyages of discovery that led to glory in the Antarctic and to ultimate catastrophe in the Arctic.
He explores the intertwined careers of the men who shared its journeys: the dashing James Clark Ross who charted much of the 'Great Southern Barrier' and oversaw some of the earliest scientific experiments to be conducted there; and the troubled John Franklin, who at the age of sixty and after a chequered career, commanded the ship on its final, disastrous expedition.
Palin also vividly recounts the experiences of the men who first stepped ashore on Antarctica's Victoria Land, and those who, just a few years later, froze to death one by one in the Arctic ice, as rescue missions desperately tried to reach them.
The result is a wonderfully evocative account of one of the most extraordinary adventures of the nineteenth century, as reimagined by a master explorer and storyteller.
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 327 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 26 mm
'In crisp, unshowy prose Palin explores a post-Waterloo world in which heroes fought the elements, not the enemy.' - The Telegraph
'This lively account reveals much about both exploration and the Royal Navy in the 19th century' - The Observer
'Beyond terrific. I didn't want it to end." - Bill Bryson
'With this irresistible and often harrowing account, Michael Palin makes a convincing case that one heroic little ship embodied the golden ago of polar exploration better than any other: HMS Erebus.' - John Geiger, co-author of Frozen in Time
'At this late date, and against all odds, Michael Palin has found an original way to enter and explore the Royal Navy narrative of polar exploration. Palin is a superb stylist, low-key and conversational, who skillfully incorporates personal experience. He turns up obscure facts, reanimates essential moments, and never shies away from taking controversial positions. This beautifully produced volume - colour plates, outstanding maps - is a landmark achievement.' - Ken McGoogan, author of Fatal Passage
'Palin brings energy wit and humanity to a story that has never ceased to tantalise people since the 1840s' - The Times
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There is a photograph of an exhumed body in this book which is unsettling. Just want to warn other parents out there with children who love adventure stories like this.
Well written, very informative, a great read
Big fan of Michael Palin and polar exploration this was an excellent read it was only through burning a late night candle I had to put it down to get some sleep and after reading The Terror and Lady Franklins Revenge... More
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