Blackstone Audio. Apr. 2022. 11:51 hrs. ISBN 9798200897704. $22.95. BIOG
Narrator Jonathan Keeble has a gift for making Fiennes’s (Mad, Bad & Dangerous To Know) history of a polar exploration feel immediate, without losing the academic and authoritative tone that invites listeners to trust the text. Fiennes is himself an explorer (he once crossed Antarctica on foot), and he brings his own experiences into his history of Ernest Shackleton’s 1915 Antarctic expedition—a good fit for the audiobook format as it creates the sense that listeners are next to someone who’s speaking passionately about a favorite topic. It also adds a layer of authenticity to descriptions of Shackleton’s trials. Fiennes describes Antarctic conditions vividly, and Shackleton’s hardships become more than narrative devices. Fiennes also gives Shackleton enough background to feel like a real person, rather than just an adventurer and hero of the past. In fact, despite his great admiration for Shackleton, Fiennes makes sure to highlight some of the explorer’s flaws.
VERDICT Listeners will finish this audiobook feeling as if they’ve been both educated and entertained; happily, there are plenty of other books about Shackleton to explore next.
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