The White Darkness

The White Darkness

By the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon , a powerful true story of adventure and obsession in the Antarctic, lavishly illustrated with color photographs Henry Worsley was a devoted husband and father and a decorated British special forces officer who believed in honor and sacrifice. He was also a man obsessed. He spent his life ido...

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Title:The White Darkness
Author:David Grann
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The White Darkness Reviews

  • Karen

    A riveting true story of Henry Worsley, a born leader and man obsessed with exploring the challenging, breathtakingly beautiful terrain of Antarctica, following in the footsteps of his idol Ernest Shackleton.

    I immediately became immersed in this remarkable story. Worsley’s notes and recorded telecommunications of his exploration are pieced together expertly by David Grann, never dragging with details. Photos are included in all the right places.

    Worsley’s first exploration leading a courageous

    A riveting true story of Henry Worsley, a born leader and man obsessed with exploring the challenging, breathtakingly beautiful terrain of Antarctica, following in the footsteps of his idol Ernest Shackleton.

    I immediately became immersed in this remarkable story. Worsley’s notes and recorded telecommunications of his exploration are pieced together expertly by David Grann, never dragging with details. Photos are included in all the right places.

    Worsley’s first exploration leading a courageous crew through this brutal and unforgiving landscape and a separate solo journey years later both took my breath away. It never ceases to amaze me what a human body and mind can endure and when they decide ‘no more’. I was overcome with emotion nearing the final pages. Worsley sacrificed so much to make his dreams reality. My heart went out to his wife and children.

  • Somayeh Pourtalari

    داستان سفر هنرلی ورزلی از این سر تا آن سر جنوبگان، قارهی قطب جنوب.

    داستانی که هر لحظه اش شما را به فکر وا میدارد .

    به فکر این که کجا ایستاده اید و برای تحقق رویاهاتان چه کرده اید ...

    در یک کلام فوق العاده بود ❤

    داستان سفر هنرلی ورزلی از این سر تا آن سر جنوبگان، قاره‌ی قطب جنوب.

    داستانی که هر لحظه اش شما را به فکر وا میدارد .

    به فکر این که کجا ایستاده اید و برای تحقق رویاهاتان چه کرده اید ...

    در یک کلام فوق العاده بود ❤️

  • L.A. Starks

    This gem of a book details the Antarctic expeditions of Harry Worsley, who modeled himself on the leadership of explorer Ernest Shackleton. While the book is small at 146 pages, it is perfect as a gift for inspiration and/or admiration.

  • Onceinabluemoon

    The day before I read the book dry, this book was the contrast I was seeking. Knowing nothing of the outcome I was awestruck by his endeavors, but the mood shifted and I prayed the tonal difference I felt was wrong... alas, tears were dripping down my cheeks at the close. I am truly awestruck at man's endeavors, it was humbling to read in the comfort of my warm cozy bed. Loved the photos, you could feel the sting and exhaustion every step of the way. An incredible lifetime of journeys unfathomab

    The day before I read the book dry, this book was the contrast I was seeking. Knowing nothing of the outcome I was awestruck by his endeavors, but the mood shifted and I prayed the tonal difference I felt was wrong... alas, tears were dripping down my cheeks at the close. I am truly awestruck at man's endeavors, it was humbling to read in the comfort of my warm cozy bed. Loved the photos, you could feel the sting and exhaustion every step of the way. An incredible lifetime of journeys unfathomable.

  • Chris

    Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

    You might not recognize Henry Worsley’s name, but you mostly likely have heard the story. At the end of 2015-the beginning of 2016, he attempted to cross Antarctica alone, but sicken, was airlifted, and, sadly, died while doctors while trying to save his life. His quest, done in part as a fundraiser, was followed by the media and classrooms. He received support from the royal family. If you are like me, you were impressed by the drive and the attempt, but also wonde

    Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

    You might not recognize Henry Worsley’s name, but you mostly likely have heard the story. At the end of 2015-the beginning of 2016, he attempted to cross Antarctica alone, but sicken, was airlifted, and, sadly, died while doctors while trying to save his life. His quest, done in part as a fundraiser, was followed by the media and classrooms. He received support from the royal family. If you are like me, you were impressed by the drive and the attempt, but also wondering why.

    David Grann’s White Darkness does a good job at answering a question whose best answer till now has been “because it’s there”.

    Grann is perhaps the best teller of true stories working right now. This short book showcases his shorter work (the story appeared in The New Yorker), and proves that his short profiles can be just as riveting.

    As Grann notes, Worsley was obsessed with Shackleton an artic explorer who is better know for his failures where people didn’t starve to death than anything else. Unlike Amundsen who made it or Scott who died the stiff upper lip way, Shackleton got his people home. Worsley’s obsession seems in part because of a family connection (his ancestor Frank worked with Shackleton). In fact, prior to his solo attempt, Worsley had done a three-person hike with Will Gow (a descendent of Shackleton) and Henry Adams (a grandson of Jameson Boyd). Worsley’s obsession too does seem to be a case of hero-worship, he makes on interesting pilgrimage to Shackleton’s grave.

    Grann presents a quick overview of Worsley’s life, giving the reader a sense of who was lost, and not just a vague or abstract tragedy. While Grann never says, this is why, he does a great job of allowing the reader to get a sense of the drive and determination that fueled Worsley’s quest, but also to see the family that supported him.

    The long essay is supplemented by photos, and the tone itself is one of remembrance, but more peaceful or comprehensive than an obituary.

  • Nancy

    My obsession with Antarctic explorers began when I was eleven and read The Great White South by Herbert Ponting, the photographer on the 1911 Scott expedition. As a girl, I held a heroic idealization of Scott and his men freezing in their hut. It seemed all so heroic, then. Later readings lowered Scott in my estimation.

    Henry Worsley idolized Ernest Shackleton for his courage and leadership. Although Shackleton was never able to complete his expeditions, he did save his men's lives. And Worsley'

    My obsession with Antarctic explorers began when I was eleven and read The Great White South by Herbert Ponting, the photographer on the 1911 Scott expedition. As a girl, I held a heroic idealization of Scott and his men freezing in their hut. It seemed all so heroic, then. Later readings lowered Scott in my estimation.

    Henry Worsley idolized Ernest Shackleton for his courage and leadership. Although Shackleton was never able to complete his expeditions, he did save his men's lives. And Worsley's own grandfather had been with Shackleton on his failed expedition to the reach the South Pole.

    Henry made a career in the army, completing Special Forces training while pursuing his obsession by collecting Shackleton artifacts.

    The White Darkness by David Grann tells the story of how Henry Worsley, after retirement from the army, participated in a centennial expedition retracing Shackleton's trek, along with two other descendants of the original team. The goal was to reach the South Pole, which Shackleton failed to do. They made it. Not content with this achievement, Henry afterward endeavored to complete the other journey that Shackleton had to abandon: crossing the Antarctic. Henry, though, would do it solo.

    Once again, I am amazed how men can be driven to endure the unimaginable physical stress of the Antarctic, not just once, but returning again to the dangerous beauty of ice. A hundred years ago men wanted to bring honor to their country and the Antarctic and Arctic were the last unexplored places on earth. But there has always been something more, a need for men to test themselves to the ultimate, to conquer the most extreme conditions imaginable

    In this short book about Henry Worsley, Grann covers the history of Antarctic exploration and conveys a chilling exposure to the 'white darkness' of the freezing desert landscape that has lured so many men to their deaths.

    I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

  • Faith

    Nothing about Ernest Shackleton's story would make me want to replicate his expedition crossing Antarctica, but Henry Worsley wanted to do just that, but alone. He wasn't deterred by the fact that Shackleton's journey was an epic failure. I guess "adventurer" is just another word for "idiot". I suggest reading one of the books about Shackleton rather than this one, unless you just want to read a book about suffering in the cold. Both Shackleton himself and his trek were more interesting than any

    Nothing about Ernest Shackleton's story would make me want to replicate his expedition crossing Antarctica, but Henry Worsley wanted to do just that, but alone. He wasn't deterred by the fact that Shackleton's journey was an epic failure. I guess "adventurer" is just another word for "idiot". I suggest reading one of the books about Shackleton rather than this one, unless you just want to read a book about suffering in the cold. Both Shackleton himself and his trek were more interesting than anything in this book.

  • Tucker

    3.5 stars

  • Krista

    Author David Grann is known for spinning fascinating narrative nonfiction (as with

    and

    ), and

    Author David Grann is known for spinning fascinating narrative nonfiction (as with

    and

    ), and frequent readers of his essays in

    might well assume that whatever is intriguing Grann at the moment will eventually be spun into a tale that will intrigue them, too. Even so, I found

    to be a little thin – at only 140 pages, including dozens of beautiful full page photographs, I really don't think that Grann made full use of what is, in fact, a potentially spellbinding tale. (And,

    , I don't know that the book much improves upon Grann's original

    on Worsley's story in

    .) The pictures in this slim volume, however, are admittedly stunning.

    The format of the story is well chosen – We begin with Henry Worsley as he struggles to do what no one has done before: cross the continent of Antarctica by his own power, with no outside help, no prearranged food caches along the way, or even a cup of tea at the South Pole station that he passes en route. As his body weakens and his stomach cramps, Worsley must consider the lessons of the two earliest South Pole explorers who have fascinated him all of his life: Sir Ernest Shackleton, who turned back when a couple days short of the South Pole in order to get his men home safely; and Captain Robert Scott, who eventually did reach the Pole, and died alongside his crew on the return trip. The question Worsley must answer for himself: Is it truly better to be a live donkey than a dead lion?

    The book then goes over a very brief history of Antarctic exploration, followed by a very brief history of Henry Worsley's life: he was always intrigued by tales of South Pole exploration, was fascinated to learn that he is distantly related to one of Shackleton's crew, joined the British army and did two tours with the SAS. When one of Shackleton's descendants reached out to ask Worsley if he'd like to join him and another early explorer's descendant to attempt to complete the trek to the South Pole at the centenary of their ancestors' failed attempt, Worsley jumped at the chance. The book covers that trip, a later polar trek that Worsley joins, and eventually, after Worsley ages out of the army at 55 and promises his family that his dream of a solo Antarctic crossing would be the last time he ever left them, we rejoin the story from the beginning: trudging along with Worsley as he skis and hikes and tows his sledge, avoiding crevasses, and making his solitary way through the mind- and muscle-numbing white darkness.

    There's plenty of meat here for a full-length book, and I feel like Grann sold the story short; I do not feel fulfilled by this. Naturally, I kept reading to learn of Worsley's fate, but I would have happily stayed in this icebound world for quite a while longer.

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