I'll nominate South
by the legendary Anglo-Irish explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. I did nominate it previously in the other book club but it came in very late and didn't get into the selection list.
The book is of great historical interest, literate, exciting and accurate. Shackleton himself was a remarkably charismatic leader. As time has gone on his star has risen while that of his great rival, Scott, has dimmed.
Here's the review by Susan Paxton on Amazon.
"Although there have been a number of new books and reprints recently focusing on the Endurance
expedition, this is the one book everyone should read, Sir Ernest Shackleton's own story of the tragedy he turned into a triumph. Shackleton fully covers the expedition from its inception, through the loss of the Endurance
, the stranding of the men on desolate Elephant Island, the majestic small-boat journey in search of rescue to South Georgia, the many attempts to evacuate the men from Elephant Island, and the little-known story of the Ross Sea Party of the expedition, who established a base on the opposite side of the Antarctic continent to lay depots for the planned Antarctic crossing and in spite of horrible deprivation caused when their ship was swept out to sea in a storm, managed to complete all their work laying the groundwork for a trip that never happened. After rescuing his men on Elephant Island, Shackleton had to rescue this party as well, something pretty much ignored in most modern books about the expedition. Very much worth reading. . . . "
And here's an extract from the preface to give you an idea of his style. He discusses the attempt to cross the Antarctic continent:
"We failed in this object, but the story of our attempt is the subject for the following pages, and I think that though failure in the actual accomplishment must be recorded, there are chapters in this book of high adventure, strenuous days, lonely nights, unique experiences, and, above all, records of unflinching determination, supreme loyalty, and generous self-sacrifice on the part of my men which, even in these days that have witnessed the sacrifices of nations and regardlessness of self on the part of individuals, still will be of interest to readers who now turn gladly from the red horror of war and the strain of the last five years to read, perhaps with more understanding minds, the tale of the White Warfare of the South. The struggles, the disappointments, and the endurance of this small party of Britishers, hidden away for nearly two years in the fastnesses of the Polar ice, striving to carry out the ordained task and ignorant of the crises through which the world was passing, make a story which is unique in the history of Antarctic exploration."
It's in the public domain and available right here in the Mobile Read Library.