STARRED REVIEW
December 2018

The White Darkness

By David Grann
Review by

Henry Worsley was 13 when he read Ernest Shackleton’s The Heart of the Antarctic, which detailed Shackleton’s expedition to the Antarctic in the early 20th century. Worsley fell under Shackleton’s spell, and the book shaped his own future as an explorer.

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Henry Worsley was 13 when he read Ernest Shackleton’s The Heart of the Antarctic, which detailed Shackleton’s expedition to the Antarctic in the early 20th century. Worsley fell under Shackleton’s spell, and the book shaped his own future as an explorer. The White Darkness, originally published in The New Yorker, is David Grann’s cogent, intensely drawn portrait of Worsley, his fascinating life, his lifelong obsession with the Antarctic and his relentless passion to follow in Shackleton’s footsteps and succeed where he didn’t: crossing Antarctica on foot, alone. Only two and a half hours long, The White Darkness is one of the most powerful audios of the year, made so by Grann’s deftly crafted prose and Will Patton’s unwavering performance, delivered with conviction and calm urgency. Worsley eventually made two successful Antarctic expeditions with teams in 2008 and 2011 and went back for a fateful third expedition alone in 2015. You’ll feel the icy cold, his exhaustion, courage and formidable will as he battles the “obliterating conditions” on his transcontinental quest. Perhaps you’ll come to understand what drove him and the brave few among us to challenge frontiers, regardless of risk.

 

This article was originally published in the December 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 

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The White Darkness

The White Darkness

By David Grann
Random House Audio
ISBN 9781984840158

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