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Summary

At a time in the early 20th century when world first’s could deliver a person lasting greatness, the continent of Antarctica provided the ultimate trophy ground for ambitious explorers. 

Two of the names that stood aloft in the pursuit of frozen glory were those of Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton. Though the missions of both men would eventually fail to claim them the prizes they sought, their epic yet contrasting dramas, on the most inhospitable place on Earth, would captivate the entire world.

Both men were privileged to have been born into the upper echelons of a class system that could assist them in achieving their dreams and ambitions, yet neither could have undertaken their expeditions without those from the opposite end of the class spectrum. 

It was from this class of men that one appeared, whose incredible story has escaped history for over a century. Tom Crean’s epic tale expands far beyond his three expeditions with Scott and Shackleton to Antarctica where, among his numerous acts of heroism, was a feat that saw him become one of the rare recipients of the Albert Medal.

Now revealed comprehensively for the first time in Crean -The Extraordinary Life of an Irish Hero, discover the remarkable saga of Tom Crean, a humble hero whose story the world has been bereft of for too long.

©2018, 2019, 2020 Tim Foley (P)2020 Tim Foley

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Tom Crean, an Irish Hero

I have just finished listening to this wonderful Audiobook. In fact I listened to it a second time because I enjoyed it so much. The author Tim Foley brings us the story of Tom Crean, a true Irish hero. Skillfully narrated by Aoife Burke, we hear about Tom, a sixteen year old young lad from the village of Annascaul in Co. Kerry who in 1883 joins the Royal Navy.Tom, one of eleven children joins up not out of allegiance to the Crown but against the post-famine back drop of poverty in Ireland at the time and the need to earn a living and send money home. A native Irish speaker, Tom brought his Irishness every where he went. The author tells us about Tom's early career in the Navy as he travelled the oceans and progressed up the ranks, but it is on his expeditions to Antarctica with both Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton that his resilience and courage are breathtaking. From saving lives, man-hauling heavy sledges over impossible terrain and eventually setting off with Ernest Shackleton and four other men on an amazing rescue mission to save the lives of the rest of the crew stranded on Elephant Island. They travelled 800 miles in the lifeboat the James Caird, only for Crean, Shackleton and Worsley to have to climb a dangerous mountain range to reach civilisation on the other side of the island of South Georgia. The Endurance was the name of the Ill fated expedition ship, but endurance is an apt description of the crew of which Tom was a larger than life figure always keeping spirits up with his infectious good humour. We also learn about Tom Crean's life after his career in the Navy, back in his native Co Kerry. I don't want to spoil the tale of adventure for anyone who doesn't know of it. It is a 5star story, a wonderful tribute, brilliantly researched and written by Tim Foley and excellently narrated by Aoife Burke. I can strongly recommend listening to this fantastic Audiobook in honour of the late Tom Crean.

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Crean a true hero

I’ve read a handful of books now on polar exploration and am becoming familiar with the men and characters that populated that era. For me Tom Crean stands out as exceptional. Tim Foleys book sets out Crean’s life and and feats of heroism in a concise and fluent way. This audio book is narrated by Aoife Burke who does a grand job, If you have read unsung hero by Michael smith then listening to this will only go on to compound Tom Crean’s story. If you are a fan of Crean this will not disappoint. Well worth taking the time to listen to. It made my journeys to and from work most enjoyable.

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  • BF
  • 11-01-21

Required reading

Brilliant. Well researched and even more brilliantly narrated. It does a great man great service

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Tom Crean, Irishman and Antarctic Hero

I have listened thrice to Tim Foley's excellent biography "Crean - The Extraordinary Life of an Irish Hero". It is a work of the heart and a very interesting biography of one of the greatest polar explorers to walk on the Antarctic continent.

Many times the well-researched and intelligent, passionate writing brought tears tears to my eyes, as when Captain Scott excluded Tom Crean from the for the final dash to the pole.

That said, I am happy to think of him at The South Pole Inn, rather than suffer the same horrible fate of Scott and his companions.

Truly, it was a damn fine book and I hope it finds a huge audience. Yes, Ireland should definitely honour Tom Crean!

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Tom Crean - an Irish Hero

That famous question... 'what characters past or present would you invite to a dinner party?' I would love to have the opportunity to sit down with Tom Crean and talk to him about his life and the stories that are told in this book. What adventures they were. You will read of a time when men set off on a journey not knowing if they would make it back alive and you sense that with every page. The book transports you to the Antarctic so clearly that you can almost feel the cold and hunger they suffered.
Tom Crean deserves the highest recognition for his achievements - anyone reading this book will know that.

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A story that needed to be told.

A remarkable story told of an extraordinary man.Well told and meticulously researched.Greatest Kerryman ever .Brilliant.

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A marvellously exciting read!

Tim Foley has penned a gripping account of the life of a man who was humble, dependable and brave and who had an unbreakable sense of loyalty to his comrades. This book brings you on the vivid journey that was Tom Crean's life as we experience the heroic adventures of the Kerry man. I have learned so much about the back story of his life prior to the expeditions. I loved this book and have bought some copies as presents for people as I think everyone should know this story.

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  • Michelle K Irwin
  • 15-04-21

Truly the Amazing Adventures of an Irish Hero

Author Tim Foley has done superb research on Tom Crean's life. He offers to fill in the years before and after Crean's better known arctic adventures on Shackelton's South Pole expedition. Fabulous settings and descriptions of life in Annuscul. I have fond memories of visiting The South Pole Inn. Wonderful narration by Aoife Burke.

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  • Ana Carolina
  • 13-10-20

An Inspiring Read

Fascinated by the incredible tales of the man from Annascaul - the great Tom Crean - the author Tim Foley wrote this valuable book, able to illustrate the heroic feats of the Giant Irishman. The narrative is very well organized from prior to latter events of Crean’s life, his childhood in hard times can be imagined by the readers and the same occurs with the following happenings. The vivid account shows Crean’s challenges, bravery, optimism, confidence, and affection for his companions and family.
I may sound stunningly excited at times by reviewing this book, but I can’t help it once this work perfectly portraits Tom Crean as the man who was beside most of the men which were part of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. Tom, the polar titan, the Kerryman, the animal lover, the comrade who saved Lt. Evans’ life and was awarded the Albert Medal for lifesaving, the able seaman who was the senior man on the Stamcomb Wills, the sea dog and sometimes the helmsman onboard the James Caird heading South Georgia, the one who marched across the uncharted mountains of this isolated island, who sang old songs while Primus stove was going merrily, who had laughter in his heart even having injured lips, the one who happily got the whaling station at Stromness, the one who, in Chile, watched over Shackleton like an older brother, the man who was part of the Yelcho crew and rescued the twenty-two marooned men on Elephant Island, who married Ellen Herlihy and is father of Mary, Kate and Eileen Crean. And that is not the end, I could list more and more stories regarding Crean’s feats, these were just examples of what was part of Crean’s life, and which are pretty well detailed in the book.
Without any doubt Crean – The Extraordinary Life of an Irish Hero is a fantastic documentation of the life of an unforgettable man to the polar, naval and world history. I strongly recommend this epic, unique book. Reading it is a great experience and a single opportunity to know the life of a person who surpasses his time and is able to influence the subsequent generations.