Antarctic and Arctic Exploration

Michael Smith


Region:
South East
Notice Period:
Regular (more than one month's notice)
Type:
Professional
Fee:
Paid: Negotiable
Category:
History
Updated:
4th December 2019
Tagged:
Antarctica

SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON – the Man & The Myths Sir Ernest Shackleton, who lived in Eastbourne, became a legend on four epic voyages of discovery to the Antarctic a century ago, including the famous Endurance expedition. Polar historian Michael Smith recalls the recalling the compelling story of a complex and charismatic man who touched greatness on the ice but struggled to come to terms with home life. Shackleton was an inspirational figure who lived life “like a mighty rushing wind” but was happiest in the icy wilderness where he could leave behind his messy personal life. Michael’s recent book – Shackleton – By Endurance We Conquer - is the first major biography of Shackleton for 30 years and has received strong critical acclaim. TOM CREAN – Unsung Hero of Antarctic Exploration Tom Crean was the unsung hero of Antarctic exploration whose incredible exploits exploring with Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton were overlooked for 80 years. Crean, who ran away from home at 15, served on three expeditions to the Antarctic, spent longer in the ice than either Scott or Shackleton and outlived both men. He was among the last to see Scott alive near the South Pole in 1912 and returned to the ice to bury his frozen body. Crean was also a major figure on Shackleton's Endurance expedition to the Antarctic exactly 100 years ago. But Tom Crean could never speak about his exploits and took his remarkable story to the grave. Michael Smith, who wrote the only account of Crean’s life, explains why.

THE RACE TO THE SOUTH POLE - & THE SUSSEX CONNECTION The dramatic race to reach the South Pole which began exactly 200 years ago in 1820. It is a saga with a close connection to Sussex and began with an enigmatic Irish navigator and obscure Russian seaman who first set eyes on Antarctica. The story recalls the intrepid British mariners who braved the perilous pack ice in sailing ships to map the frozen continent and reaches a tragic climax in the contest between Amundsen and Scott.

SHACKLETON – THE MAN & THE MYTHS Sir Ernest Shackleton, who lived in Eastbourne, became a legend on four epic voyages of discovery to the Antarctic a century ago, including the famous Endurance expedition. Polar historian Michael Smith recalls the recalling the compelling story of a complex and charismatic man who touched greatness on the ice but struggled to come to terms with home life. Shackleton was an inspirational figure who lived life “like a mighty rushing wind” but was happiest in the icy wilderness where he could leave behind his messy personal life. Michael’s book – Shackleton – By Endurance We Conquer - is the first major biography of Shackleton for 30 years and has received strong critical acclaim.

CAPTAIN FRANCIS CROZIER Captain Francis Crozier was a major figure in the three epic quests of 19th century Polar exploration – navigating the North West Passage, reaching the North Pole and mapping Antarctica. He sailed on six voyages of discovery with Parry, Ross and Franklin and only sailed on the doomed Franklin expedition to impress the woman who rejected his marriage proposals. Crozier assumed command of Franklin’s tragic Arctic expedition and led the desperate attempts to escape from the icy labyrinth. Crozier’s brief note found a decade later in a remote cairn is the only written clue to the disaster. But the recent discovery Crozier’s ships in Arctic waters may shed fresh light on the expedition.

THE FRANKLIN EXPEDITION DISASTER – Lost and Found The Franklin expedition, which was sent to the Arctic in 1845 to find the fabled North West Passage, was the biggest disaster in the history of Polar exploration. Two well-stocked ships, 129 men and the hopes of the Empire disappeared in the Arctic ice and were never seen again. The mystery has intrigued people for 170 years and there is now hope of solving the mystery following the discovery of the two lost ships high above the Arctic Circle. Michael Smith charts the background to the disaster, pieces together the tragic events and discusses what the shipwrecks may reveal.

CAPTAIN OATES – ANTARCTIC TRAGEDY “I am just going outside and may be some time” – Is this the most famous saying in the English language ? While everyone knows the famous phrase, few know that the speaker was Captain Oates, the explorer who died in the Antarctic ice with Captain Scott 100 years ago. But there was considerably more to Oates than a memorable farewell. Oates was an Eton-educated officer in an elite cavalry regiment who paid the equivalent of £50,00 from his own pocket to join Scott’s South Pole expedition and was the most tragic figure on the disastrous venture. He clashed with Scott and limped to the Pole because an old war wound left one leg 2 inches shorter than the other. He was also the only member of the party who chose the precise moment to die – his birthday !

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About Michael Smith

MICHAEL SMITH
Michael Smith is an authority on Polar exploration whose 10 books have sold over 250,000 copies worldwide. He has appeared in TV and radio documentaries and lectured at many prestigious venues, including: The Queen’s Gallery Buckingham Palace, Royal Geographical Society, National Maritime Museum, National Museum of Ireland, Princess Grace Memorial Library Monaco, the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and Scott Polar Research Institute Cambridge. Michael has appeared at many literary festivals across the country and is a regular speaker to local history societies, U3A and Probus groups, WI, Townswomens’ Guild and schools. Michael is a former award-winning journalist with The Guardian and The Observer.


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