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 this 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.