Monday, April 14, 2014
Given our discussion of "slanting the truth" and the expectation that comes along with seeing that a book is "non-fiction," I felt I had to point out Lansing's Preface. I opened this book to get ready to read, and the first sentence of the Preface made me laugh out loud. Right there on the first page, Lansing states "the story that follows is true." He lets that sink in and then in the next paragraph he begins with "every effort has been made to portray the events exactly as they occured." Lansing goes on to explain how he extensively interviewed the survivors of Shackleton's voyage and proclaims that together they worked to "re-create in the pages that follow as true a picture of the events as we could collectively produce." In the interest of fairness, I must note that he disclaims that "if any inaccuracies or misinterpretations have crept into this story, they are my own and should in no way be attributed to the men who took part in this expedition." However, the fact remains that this entire preface is devoted to proclaiming to the reader the Truth of this book. To go off of our recent discussions and questions in class, I ask: how much do we trust Lansing when he makes this proclamation? Do we trust/believe him more than Barrett since he is relaying a story that actually happened? Do we trust him more than Albanov since he states that he interviewed multiple survivors, and is presumably giving more than just one person's take on things? What do we make of his claim that this story is unquestionably "true"?