Monday, October 18, 2010

Author to Explore Leadership Skills Of Explorer Shackleton and Captain Bligh

CHESTERTOWN—Best selling author Caroline Alexander will compare two men she knows intimately, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Captain William Bligh, when she delivers a Downrigging Weekend Lecture Friday, October 29th at 7 p.m.

Titled “Shackleton and Bligh: Two Legendary Open-Boat Voyages and a Contrast of Leadership Under Crisis,” the talk will take place at The Prince Theater, 210 High Street, Chestertown.

Alexander’s 1999 book, The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition, recounted how, after a failed attempt to be the first explorer to cross the Antarctic by foot in 1914, Shackleton led his crew on an icy 800-mile voyage back to civilization in open life boats, saving every life.

For her next project, she researched the real story of the famous 1789 mutiny on the HMS Bounty. She discovered that much of what she and the public thought was true was maliciously false, a product of early spin-doctoring by friends and family of mutiny leader Christian Fletcher. Her 2003 book The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty portrayed Captain Bligh as a competent, considerate and strong leader who, after being set adrift in a small lifeboat with 18 crew members, led that craft and crew through a 48-day, 3,600-mile voyage to safety.

Recounting stories from both Shackleton’s and Bligh’s rescue voyages, more than 100 years and oceans apart, Alexander will explore how these two very different leaders held their men together through extraordinary circumstances.

Free and open to the public, this lecture is sponsored by the Sultana Projects, the Van Dyke Family Foundation and the Center for Environment and Society at Washington College. It is one of many events planned to celebrate the Sultana’s annual downrigging for the season (For information, visit


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