I just wanted to start out by saying that this is probably my favorite narrative that we've read so far this semester. It is much better written than most of the other texts, and Alfred Lansing manages to present a gripping story without resorting to melodrama.
That being said, Lansing's approach to recording Shackleton's journey is much different from that of most of the other authors. Though Krakauer, Tabor, and Harrer were not present for any or some of the events they describe, the authors' duties as reporters play a central role in their texts. They often describe their interviews with survivors, the research process, and their reasoning behind their conclusions drawn from various pieces of evidence. In a sense, the authors' search for the "truth" becomes the primary focus of the text, and the expedition members become secondary, cast as characters.
Lansing, on the other hand, does not refer to himself or write in first-person except in the one page preface. He briefly explains the research process, and tells the reader that his information comes from diary entries and interviews with survivors. He begins the preface by boldly stating that "The story that follows is true," and he describes his efforts to "record as accurately as possible the reactions of the men who lived them." Of course, these two statements are problematic since he at once makes a claim of "truth" and admits that he can only portray the story "as accurately as possible," suggesting that complete truth is an impossibility. Contradictions aside, Lansing's opening statements reveal an attitude very different from that of Tabor and Harrer, who refer to the "men who lived" the tragedies as "characters" and construct a buffer between the real-life events and their narratives by employing language such as final act, stage, and tragedy (in the theatrical sense). Lansing, though, tries to emphasize the reality of the men's struggles from his opening sentence. Then, he is essentially absent for the rest of the narrative. He never interjects personal reactions, opinions, or anecdotes. And, when he does feel that an explanation of his reasoning/research methods is necessary, he includes such information in the footnotes (see page 120 for an example). This distances the author from the text and allows the reader to become absorbed in the story of the expedition rather than the author's detective process. Interestingly, I found that this approach made the narrative read more like a novel, even though Lansing makes his claim of "truth" clear, writes about men instead of characters, and avoids language that characterizes the men's struggles as a play.