This collection of classic tales comprises over 50 accounts of true-life adventure taken from contemporary memoirs, letters and journals. They span the years 1800 to the end of the 20th century, in a period which can be termed the modern age of exploration. Inspired by Ernest Shackleton's 1914-15 escape from the bitter clutches of Antarctica, this book is by turn inspirational, harrowing, tragic and unimaginable. It recounts stories of ordinary mortals who achieved extraordinary things. From the ice-locked poles and endless deserts of Arabia to the storm-tossed South Atlantic, the rainforests of the Amazon and sheer peaks of the Himalayas, the world's most famous adventurers recount their experiences. It includes accounts from some of the greatest ever explorers and adventurers: Captain Scott, Ernest Shackleton; John Franklin, Edmund Hilary, Laurens Van der Post, Thor Heyerdahl, John Blashford-Snell, Ranulp Fiennes, Chay Blyth, Jacques Cousteau, Nick Danziger; Charles Lindbergh, Peter Fleming and many more.