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  • Wordie's career as both an explorer and academic geologist opened up his participation in Shackleton's epic Endurance expedition of 1914-1916, where he proved one of the most resilient of those stranded in appalling conditions on Elephant Island. He continued to lead arduous expeditions well into his forties, while building his reputation as an academic and mentor. During the Second World War, he was instrumental in safeguarding British strategic interests in the Antarctic territories, and later rose to be President of the Royal Geographical Society and Master of St John's College, Cambridge. He died in 1962. Michael Smith captures all the drama of an extraordinary life lived at the edge and goes a long way to establishing James Wordie in his rightful place in the pantheon of great British explorers.