Recent Reads

Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842, by Nathaniel Philbrick.
This is the story of America’s first trans-oceanic expedition. The story is very interesting but I felt like the book really wallowed too much into the mundane detail. I found myself really pushing to finish it. The detail behind Wilkes’ leadership, however, is a great anti-pattern (an example of what not to do), particularly when compared to the outstanding performance of Shackleton.

Shackleton’s Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer, by Margot Morrell, Stephanie Capparell.
The explicit leadership advice is mostly common sense but it does offer insight into Shackleton’s thought process as well as additional biographical and historical details not found in the Lansing text. It definitely inspired me to (1) think about Shackleton’s leadership style and attempt to apply it day-to-day and (2) read more about the Shackleton story. The rich depth and detail provided in some of the books anecdotes is illustrative of the partiular point they are trying to make, but I want to learn the whole story at that level of detail rather than the segments that suited the authors needs. (That’s not a dig on the book at all).

The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic, by Gay Salisbury, Laney Salisbury
I gave this as a gift to someone who then lent it back to me. It completed a hat-trick of ice cold adventure tales. Cruelest Miles is the story of the race to save Nome, Alaska during a diptheria outbreak in the early 1900’s. The story of the dog sled relay to get the serum to Nome is actually short enough to be covered in a long magazine article, but the authors expand it to book-length by detailing the history of Alaska’s frontier days, the evolution and technical details behind dog sledding, and biographical details on the significant people involved in the drama. The details grew tedious at times but overall it was exciting and interesting.

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