Endurance Info

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The legendary tale of Ernest Shackleton's grueling
Antarctic expedition, recounted in riveting first-person detail by the
captain of HMS Endurance.

You seriously mean to tell me
that the ship is doomed?" asked Frank Worsley, commander of the
Endurance, stuck impassably in Antarctic ice packs. "What the
ice gets," replied Sir Ernest Shackleton, the expedition's unflappable
leader, "the ice keeps." It did not, however, get the ship's twenty-five
crew members, all of whom survived an eight-hundred-mile voyage across
sea, land, and ice to South Georgia, the nearest inhabited island. First
published in 1931, Endurance tells the full story of that
doomed 1914-16 expedition and incredible rescue, as well as relating
Worsley's further adventures fighting U-boats in the Great War, sailing
the equally treacherous waters of the Arctic, and making one final (and
successful) assault on the South Pole with Shackleton. It is a tale of
unrelenting high adventure and a tribute to one of the most inspiring
and courageous leaders of men in the history of exploration. 20
illustrations

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Endurance:

4

Jul 23, 2013

I liked this Endurance better than the other Endurance book, just because it answers all of the questions I wondered about when the other book wrapped up pretty fast. For instance, I wanted more details about their rescue. Also what happened to the men after they got back home? And what about the Ross party, that was supposed to meet up with Shackleton on the other side of Antarctica? What did they do when Shackleton never showed up, with no way to contact each other? This book finished the I liked this Endurance better than the other Endurance book, just because it answers all of the questions I wondered about when the other book wrapped up pretty fast. For instance, I wanted more details about their rescue. Also what happened to the men after they got back home? And what about the Ross party, that was supposed to meet up with Shackleton on the other side of Antarctica? What did they do when Shackleton never showed up, with no way to contact each other? This book finished the story better.

Also, it was written in first person by the ship's navigator, who kept a diary throughout. In one of my favorite bits, he wrote that soon after they had made it through their mountain crossing "a blizzard came blowing down from the mountain range we had just crossed. It could blow as hard as it liked up there--now. Incidentally I learnt afterwards that we had crossed the island during the only interval of fine weather that occurred that winter. There was no doubt that Providence had been with us. There was indeed one curious thing about our crossing of South Georgia, a thing that has given me much food for thought, and which I have never been able to explain. Whenever I reviewed the incidents of that march I had the sub-conscious feeling that there were four of us instead of three. Moreover, this impression was shared by both Shackleton and Crean." (pg 164) ...more
5

Mar 08, 2011

I'm not always able to finish the non-fiction that I pick up, no matter how "worthy" the book or "fascinating" the topic, so I approach with trepidation. I needn't have worried about Worsley's _Endurance_, though. The first three quarters is absolutely, breathlessly riveting. The physical feats of the men are one thing, but I had just as much admiration for their mental toughness. It's hard to imagine being stuck on an ice floe for months (and months!) after your ship has sunk, with an I'm not always able to finish the non-fiction that I pick up, no matter how "worthy" the book or "fascinating" the topic, so I approach with trepidation. I needn't have worried about Worsley's _Endurance_, though. The first three quarters is absolutely, breathlessly riveting. The physical feats of the men are one thing, but I had just as much admiration for their mental toughness. It's hard to imagine being stuck on an ice floe for months (and months!) after your ship has sunk, with an appreciably small chance of survival, and to not only persevere in the most extreme conditions, but to never lose the pluck and good humor Worsley attributes to one and all.

Worsley's mindset is that of the the late Victorian English gentleman explorer. On one hand, it's *very* (unintentionally) funny because it hews to every stereotype you can think of. On the other hand (the "noble savage" stuff hand), it's less so. Of course, the voyage took place in 1914-16, so Worsley was the real deal. If you can appreciate the Victorian silliness (and I can), it only makes it better. If I ever went back to school, I would totally write an examination of the construction of the male Victorian character using Worsley's narrative - fascinating! (I bet someone already has.)

The other thing (probably another facet of the paper topic above!) is Worsley's devotion to Shackleton. As Patrick O'Brian points out in his introduction, Worsley could really care less about everyone else. It would be interesting to read an account less focused on Shackleton and more on the entire crew. I found the last quarter of the book a big yawn. It deals with Worsley's life after the polar expedition and it seems like even he's not that interested since he's not with Shackleton.

In a side note, I would like a few more maps! It only had one overall map in the very front of the book — completely inadequate! If I read it again, I'll keep an atlas by me. ...more
3

Jul 13, 2014

The third book this month on Shackleton's famous 1914 voyage to Antarctica. I first read the "other" Endurance by Alfred Lansing, which was a reportage page-turner and relied on some interviews with survivors. I found Tyler-Lewis' The Lost Men to provide valuable historical context, and so it was a fitting pleasure to have a story in the skipper's voice. While I enjoyed the book for its unique voice and singular viewpoint, it was quite dated in tone and a bit hero-worshippy. While these The third book this month on Shackleton's famous 1914 voyage to Antarctica. I first read the "other" Endurance by Alfred Lansing, which was a reportage page-turner and relied on some interviews with survivors. I found Tyler-Lewis' The Lost Men to provide valuable historical context, and so it was a fitting pleasure to have a story in the skipper's voice. While I enjoyed the book for its unique voice and singular viewpoint, it was quite dated in tone and a bit hero-worshippy. While these qualities were understandable (and something that only Worsley could have written) it made for a less engrossing reader experience than the other two books. I don't hesitate recommending it to anyone who wants to "go deeper" on the subject, and for that it was quite satisfying.

Frank Worsley was the navigator and skipper aboard the Endurance. He was hired on as captain after having a dream about Shackelton's upcoming expedition and went to meet Sir Ernest. Shackleton liked to hire on based on gut feelings and intuition, and some have criticized his choice of Worsley as he was captaining a ship on a major polar expedition with no polar experience. It's understandable that Worsley felt a real debt of gratitude to Shackleton for launching his exploration career and for saving his life. Obviously Shackleton is the idol of Worsley's life, and so Sir Ernest is painted in only the most flattering light. Worsley is able to recount quite a few private conversations with Shackleton and provides a lot of examples of Shackleton's mental and physical devotion to his men's well-being.

A nice feature that makes this a great companion to Lansing's book is that Lansing's book ends abruptly when Shackleton and Worsley show up at South Georgia Island, scaring the living tar out of the Viking whalers that long thought the Endurance to be lost with all hands. Worsley instead goes through the rescue of the remaining members of Shackleton's party. That rescue is quite a story in an of itself, and basically is a testament to the generosity of various South American governments at the height of the First World War when the British Admiralty couldn't give two craps for bailing out a bunch of stranded polar explorers when five of nine Commonwealth soldiers were casualties in places like Passchendale and Jutland. Worsley and Shackleton manage to rescue the Endurance party and then learn that the Ross Sea Party aboard the Aurora has met a similar fate. So, while there is a world war going on these two manage to hopscotch from Chile to Uruguay to Panama to New Orleans to San Francisco to New Zealand (real question...how did they not get mined or sunk on THAT trip?) to start the rescue of the party that was heading across Antarctica from the other side of the world. There was a lot of local drama and Shackleton was deposed from command of the Ross Sea rescue by those in charge of the purse strings. Worsley doesn't mince words about that fine kettle of fish THAT was; a lot of the remainder of the book is defending Shackleton's legacy. Shackleton of course positioned himself well to do that as well; one of the interesting interludes in the book was that regardless of all they jettisoned, the diaries, records, photos and movies that were created on the expedition he cared for jealously as they were the ticket to book deals to pay the back debts of the expedition.

A perspective that Worsely consistently brings to the work is his excellence in navigation. With something like 5% of the navigational tools they started with, in sunless, unimaginably hellish conditions, Worsley's navigation, reckoning and measurements undoubtedly saved the lives of all the men on the expedition. His technical descriptions of the tools and their uses as well as the constant physical peril he was in to deploy them accurately are among some of the greatest heroics of the expedition. Worsley is quite modest about himself and saves the praise for Shackleton, but it's evident to me that he's a deserving hero.

Two items from the latter third of Worsley's work really stood out: 1)in his subsequent explorations he heads to the Arctic and is able to give a detailed comparison/contrast between the two polar regions. It's fascinating, and he's one of the few men from the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration who is positioned to give such an account (especially in English.) 2)The preponderance of the men enlisted in the War effort as soon as they were able. They'd left England the day WWI was declared and believed it long over; they departed England on the last day of the British Age of Exploration and Conquest and returned to a world where men wore wristwatches, died by the tens of thousands in trenches, poisoned one another with gas, and dropped bombs from airplanes. The Endurance didn't even have a wireless and they came back to a world entirely in the thrall of a thoroughly modern war, the British hierarchical culture in its death throes. Worsley does a commendable job relating this culture shock. ...more
5

Mar 07, 2017

Loved this! I have always been fascinated by Ernest Shackleton, especially since he lived for a stint in the house I lived in in London. SO interesting.
5

Aug 26, 2012

Fantastic. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I wish I'd read it 10 years ago... hell, 20 years ago even, just to give single-digits me something to think about. Incredible details, charming vignettes, and most of all a sense of camaraderie and respect for one's peers that I feel is just as worth reading about as all the adventure. The end broke my heart, but in a way where I know I'll never forget how reading this book made me feel.
4

Feb 01, 2009

A good supplement to the Lansing book. He adds more details regarding the environment and animals as well as recounting Shackleton’s death.
4

Dec 03, 2019

I think I would like to be one of these men; especially perhaps the author and Captain of the Endurance, Frank Worsley with his impeccable navigating skills, writing ability and love for his fellow man.

In everything that is described in this book, with the chance encounter at the onset of the exploration by Worsley strolling though London after dreaming about the Antarctic ice, the exploration itself and the mammoth hardships all of the men had to encounter, what struck me most and was obvious I think I would like to be one of these men; especially perhaps the author and Captain of the Endurance, Frank Worsley with his impeccable navigating skills, writing ability and love for his fellow man.

In everything that is described in this book, with the chance encounter at the onset of the exploration by Worsley strolling though London after dreaming about the Antarctic ice, the exploration itself and the mammoth hardships all of the men had to encounter, what struck me most and was obvious to me from Worsley’s documentation and piecing together of this book was his indelible respect he had for the leader of their group; Ernest Shackleton. And he wasn’t the only one.

Shackleton was circumspect to the extreme. It appears he always put his men before himself or any ambition of his own. He made one want to work at whatever it was that was in front of him and saw it as his duty to attend to whatever was asked of him also. To inspire this sort of loyalty and devotion I can only imagine as I have never encountered it but it’s wonderful to even hear of it existing.

It seems to me to be, by some degree, the most important factor in the eventual survival of all the men who left that day 1st August 1914. So after reading of the failed attempts at recovery from Elephant Island, the despair Shackleton felt for his stranded men and the duty of care he took upon himself, I feel completely reverential. ...more
4

May 08, 2018

Excellent true adventure of Antartic exploration in the early 1900's.
3

Apr 09, 2019

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I had to keep in mind that Frank. A. Worsley is an explorer, adventurer, sailor and not a writer which explains a bit plain and simple descriptions of the Antarctic and his surroundings while he was on his historic travels and adventures. One of the reasons why I gave 3/5 stars ("liked it") is because of my false beginners expectations that this book will concentrate more on the survival in the harsh environment during the Endurance expedition.
Unfortunately for me, only 146-175 out of 240 pages I had to keep in mind that Frank. A. Worsley is an explorer, adventurer, sailor and not a writer which explains a bit plain and simple descriptions of the Antarctic and his surroundings while he was on his historic travels and adventures. One of the reasons why I gave 3/5 stars ("liked it") is because of my false beginners expectations that this book will concentrate more on the survival in the harsh environment during the Endurance expedition.
Unfortunately for me, only 146-175 out of 240 pages were dedicated to that trip, while the others were based on their lives, memories and other encounters after the first expedition, and finally Shackletons death (which was a perfect ending to the story).
I really hoped for a longer story on survival, their group relations and conversations, bad moments etc. instead of pretty LONG, simple descriptions of the ice, water and animals they saw...
It seems to me this book was more of an admiration to Shackleton and his life, than it was a story about Endurance.

[Croatian translation by Ana Popovic] ...more
5

Aug 28, 2013

Told in the words of the Endurance's captain this is a tale one won't soon forget. Filled with interesting little details - sometimes humorous - New Zealander Frank Worsley narrates the story of the famous Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

I found this book a great source in researching the Endurance Expedition. Reading contemporary works regarding historical events is good, no doubt about that, but to read a book by someone who was there, who experienced everything firsthand and was a Told in the words of the Endurance's captain this is a tale one won't soon forget. Filled with interesting little details - sometimes humorous - New Zealander Frank Worsley narrates the story of the famous Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

I found this book a great source in researching the Endurance Expedition. Reading contemporary works regarding historical events is good, no doubt about that, but to read a book by someone who was there, who experienced everything firsthand and was a witness to the momentous events is just downright fascinating. And now I must read Ernest Shackleton's account! ...more
5

Apr 05, 2012

A book I've reread many times. I remember a certain administrator who compared herself to Shackleton as she laid off a bunch of people. To which I wanted to yell, "Um, Shackleton didn't throw anyone off the boat."

Anyhow, great adventure and a very lesson in endurance.
5

Feb 25, 2015

An amazing story of leadership!! Sir Earnest Shackleton was a man who had high goals but would never take unnecessary risk of putting his men in danger just to accomplish his goals of exploration. He was loved by all his men, he had the respect of kings and the lowliest sailor, and he always took the brunt of the hardship on himself. He didn't think that as the leader he had the luxury of letting his men do the hard work he knew that as the leader he had the responsibility for doing the hard An amazing story of leadership!! Sir Earnest Shackleton was a man who had high goals but would never take unnecessary risk of putting his men in danger just to accomplish his goals of exploration. He was loved by all his men, he had the respect of kings and the lowliest sailor, and he always took the brunt of the hardship on himself. He didn't think that as the leader he had the luxury of letting his men do the hard work he knew that as the leader he had the responsibility for doing the hard work as well as for the lives of his men. A testament to his ability and care was that he never lost a man while he was in command. The book is wonderfully well written it gets a bit descriptive at some points but the information is very good. ...more
4

Jan 31, 2015

Read this a couple years back and enjoyed it. So amazing what these men endured. Makes me cold just thinking about it!
5

Sep 16, 2011

I have read almost every book written on the Endurance expedition, and quite a number of books about polar exploration.
This is my favorite one.
5

Sep 07, 2009

My favourite account of the Endurance expedition - the photos contained within this book are amazing - written by Shackleton's captain. His navigational abilities are amazing, especially as you read about the harrowing journey in a lifeboat from Elephant Island to South Georgia.
5

May 03, 2011

easy to read and quickly paced. The drama of the adventure is somewhat curtailed by Worsley's tone of voice, but on the other hand, it sort of feels like we've sat down next to him at some ex-pat bar and he's telling us the story in person. The downplaying of the hardships just make it all the more amazing and very much endearing. Loved this book, even after the narrative turned from the initial expedition into tales of the war, past trips, and Shackleton's final voyage.
3

Sep 28, 2011

I like sea stories and hate ice and snow. I had mixed feelings about reading someone's Antarctica story. "It was cold, it was wet, the snow was white." But this is also a story about being stranded, having to build shelters and wait weeks for a rescue in the days before air travel or two way radio. Above all, its a story about the men who went for help, traveling hundreds of miles in an open boat. Then they had to find a ship to make the return trip, locate the camp they left behind, and hope at I like sea stories and hate ice and snow. I had mixed feelings about reading someone's Antarctica story. "It was cold, it was wet, the snow was white." But this is also a story about being stranded, having to build shelters and wait weeks for a rescue in the days before air travel or two way radio. Above all, its a story about the men who went for help, traveling hundreds of miles in an open boat. Then they had to find a ship to make the return trip, locate the camp they left behind, and hope at least some of their friends were still alive. I'm glad I didn't pass it up. ...more
4

Jul 30, 2014

This was an amazing story, but the writing was a bit clunky for me. It was written by the actual captain of the ship back in the 30's, so I didn't expect it to be the best writing ever, which is why I'm giving it 4 stars. The story of their adventure (the plan was to cross the Antarctic continent), their struggles and the fact that they were able to survive was nothing short of miraculous. I also loved that they seemed to keep great attitudes despite being basically wet and cold for two years. This was an amazing story, but the writing was a bit clunky for me. It was written by the actual captain of the ship back in the 30's, so I didn't expect it to be the best writing ever, which is why I'm giving it 4 stars. The story of their adventure (the plan was to cross the Antarctic continent), their struggles and the fact that they were able to survive was nothing short of miraculous. I also loved that they seemed to keep great attitudes despite being basically wet and cold for two years. I'm glad I read this, it was something I knew absolutely nothing about. I see there are a few other great polar exploration books that I need to read now. ...more
5

Oct 21, 2018

It push back the idea how far can we go. What a man can endure.
4

Jan 24, 2018

I listened to Endurance on audiobook on my Mom’s recommendation. The narrator was great. And the story was astounding. Additionally, she claimed that Captain Shackleton was “one of the great and imperfect leaders in History.” Listening with that in mind, the story of the Endurance and its crew did not disappoint. Captured by the ship’s navigator, Wolsey, in his diary, the reader get’s an intimate look at the day-to-day experience of surviving in the Antarctica from 1914-1916. The details are I listened to Endurance on audiobook on my Mom’s recommendation. The narrator was great. And the story was astounding. Additionally, she claimed that Captain Shackleton was “one of the great and imperfect leaders in History.” Listening with that in mind, the story of the Endurance and its crew did not disappoint. Captured by the ship’s navigator, Wolsey, in his diary, the reader get’s an intimate look at the day-to-day experience of surviving in the Antarctica from 1914-1916. The details are masterfully woven together to tell a seamless and compelling tail. Not only did I learn a lot about leadership, I also learned a few new words.

This was one of my first foray’s into non-fiction, and i loved it. Definitely more to come. Send me recommendations of people’s stories I can learn from. ...more
4

Feb 25, 2018

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The book, Endurance, by Alfred Lansing, tells the true, incredible, and improbable story of Ernest Shackleton and his crew and their traumatizing experience at sea. It is the story of them abandoning their ship which was being compressed by the deadly grips of the Antarctic ice, only to realize that the ice beneath them began to break apart, and they were forced into three lifeboats. Eventually, Captain Shackleton, and a few of his men, bravely took one of the lifeboats across extremely harsh The book, Endurance, by Alfred Lansing, tells the true, incredible, and improbable story of Ernest Shackleton and his crew and their traumatizing experience at sea. It is the story of them abandoning their ship which was being compressed by the deadly grips of the Antarctic ice, only to realize that the ice beneath them began to break apart, and they were forced into three lifeboats. Eventually, Captain Shackleton, and a few of his men, bravely took one of the lifeboats across extremely harsh conditions in order to help their crew stay alive.
The book was very intense and inspiring, although could be slow at times. The emotional and physical struggle of Shackleton and each of his men was very motivational, particularly when I read about the bravery of Shakleton and a few of his men staring death in the eye when they sacrificed themselves to save their crew. However, the book dragged on at some points, maybe just like the experience of the Shackleton and his crew. When the conflict was introduced early in the story, I was biting my lip and was gripped with excitement. But when the men left the boat, and attempted to survive on ice, the story lacked intensity and I found myself flipping pages. Overall, it is an incredible true story of bravery, commitment, endurance against all odds.
...more
5

Mar 07, 2018

In chapter 2 I was going by to rate it 4 stars because I thought it was weird to skip around time and find out what happened to certain people years later, then skip back to the present moment. Now, I think it was the perfect way to tell the story.

Example without spoilers: you hear about the Herculean efforts that happen to save a few particular people, you go on an emotional roller coaster, then when it’s all over he basically says “that was great... it’s really a shame the guy we spent so much In chapter 2 I was going by to rate it 4 stars because I thought it was weird to skip around time and find out what happened to certain people years later, then skip back to the present moment. Now, I think it was the perfect way to tell the story.

Example without spoilers: you hear about the Herculean efforts that happen to save a few particular people, you go on an emotional roller coaster, then when it’s all over he basically says “that was great... it’s really a shame the guy we spent so much effort to save died 2 years later when a U boat sank his ship.” It tells you a lot about the world at the time and gives a really interesting perspective on World War I because the sailors on the Endurance left for the Antarctic right as the war was beginning

Aside from that, this book should be considered a MUST read for anyone who has a manager or is a manager. Much more than in Shackleton’s own account, you learn from his skipper how he managed his crew and received unwavering support from them. There’s one particular moment that highlights this perfectly with a unanimous gesture from the crew before the departure of Elephant Island... but I’m treading close to spoiler territory here.

If you are trying to decide which of the many accounts of the expedition to read, start with this one first. ...more
5

Feb 25, 2018

I was presented this book by my father a few years after my bachelor's graduation - "a perfect encapsulation of what it means to be a manager." What's great about this book is that it works on multiple levels - an interesting story of colonial exploration gone wrong; a re-imagining of the romantic era through a post-modernist lens of pivot and reinvention; an approach to understanding creative crisis; and a beautiful parable for leadership when the ship has already gone down.

It works on all I was presented this book by my father a few years after my bachelor's graduation - "a perfect encapsulation of what it means to be a manager." What's great about this book is that it works on multiple levels - an interesting story of colonial exploration gone wrong; a re-imagining of the romantic era through a post-modernist lens of pivot and reinvention; an approach to understanding creative crisis; and a beautiful parable for leadership when the ship has already gone down.

It works on all these levels, and even more miraculous to have a wealth of media to accompany the tale, to see how extreme conditions and fear of death affected these men.

My wife and I had been married but a few months when 9/11 happened. At the time, we were commuting together, and spent the car ride reading this to one another. It was uplifting to us as we traversed light cases of surivor guilt, buoyed ourselves against the stories of the DC sniper and anthrax, and comforted us as we prepared for war with a barely existent state. I used it last year in my final presentation for my MBA program's leadership curriculum. It's not my favorite book, but I can't think of a better one. Archetypal in a comparable way to Viktor Frankl. ...more
4

Feb 24, 2018

I picked this book after reading Lansing’s Endurance, because I really wanted to get Worsley’s account of the events. I loved this because it was great to read the story from a different point of view, one that was actually abroad. Worsley focused a lot more on nature and scenery, and as a biologist I appreciated his attention to details of fauna and flora of the Antarctic, and his fascination with it is quite fascinating in itself. His account also included the details of the rescue and I picked this book after reading Lansing’s Endurance, because I really wanted to get Worsley’s account of the events. I loved this because it was great to read the story from a different point of view, one that was actually abroad. Worsley focused a lot more on nature and scenery, and as a biologist I appreciated his attention to details of fauna and flora of the Antarctic, and his fascination with it is quite fascinating in itself. His account also included the details of the rescue and aftermath of their lives, something I was curious about.
However, I took one star off my ratings because Worsley was not always the best with details. Especially knowing everything about the adventure, his retelling was more general in its nature. Also, his fondness of Shackleton, whilst endearing most of the time, was getting a little bit too much as I kept reading on.
But all in all, a great read and perfect companion to Lansing’s book. ...more
5

Aug 21, 2019

Frank Worsley writes with stunning clarity and emotion in his tale of the Endurance and his friendship with Ernest Shackleton. I found myself with, greedily, such a want for more when the book was closing. I did not want to read about the pain and sorrow of losing such a friend, such a man as Shackleton. Though necessary, of course, as the world turns, books end, heroes die.

The Skipper of the Endurance was a remarkable genius, I'd have to say the greatest navigator, maybe of all time. His Frank Worsley writes with stunning clarity and emotion in his tale of the Endurance and his friendship with Ernest Shackleton. I found myself with, greedily, such a want for more when the book was closing. I did not want to read about the pain and sorrow of losing such a friend, such a man as Shackleton. Though necessary, of course, as the world turns, books end, heroes die.

The Skipper of the Endurance was a remarkable genius, I'd have to say the greatest navigator, maybe of all time. His humble qualities and cheery outlooks serve only to make him even more unlikely in a world that seems so far away from us now.

This book is more intimate in the telling of Endurance, more no-nonsense and straight forward. While I think Alfred Lansing writes a more gripping tale, Worsley writes the tale you would hear from someone who loved the boat and the men who were with him, and the man who they all owe their lives to time and time again. ...more

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