On January 5, 1922, 47-year-old Sir Ernest Shackleton died of a massive heart attack at South Georgia Island.
Shackleton and his contemporaries had no idea that 100 years later he would be celebrated for what astronaut Jim Lovell calls his "successful failure," the Endurance expedition.
University of Washington finance professor Jonathan Karpoff summed up the reasons we find Shackleton so compelling today. "We long for the teamwork and camaraderie that the Boss inspired. We admire his ability to recognize both the faults and the potential of his men, and his willingness to lead by example. We empathize with the loneliness that haunted his tough decisions. And we praise his understanding that respect for human life trumps any short-term prize. Ultimately, Shackleton is a success because, in him we catch glimpses of who we want to be."
Members of the Endurance expedition gathered around Shackleton's grave on South Georgia. From left, Frank Worsley, Frank Wild, James McIlroy, Charles Green, Thomas McLeod, Alexander Macklin, A. J. Kerr.