Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage Info

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The harrowing tale of British explorer Ernest Shackleton's
1914 attempt to reach the South Pole, one of the greatest adventure
stories of the modern age.


In August 1914, polar explorer
Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance and set sail for
Antarctica, where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent on
foot. In January 1915, after battling its way through a thousand miles
of pack ice and only a day's sail short of its destination, the
Endurance became locked in an island of ice. Thus began the
legendary ordeal of Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men. When
their ship was finally crushed between two ice floes, they attempted a
near-impossible journey over 850 miles of the South Atlantic's heaviest
seas to the closest outpost of civilization.

In
Endurance, the definitive account of Ernest Shackleton's fateful
trip, Alfred Lansing brilliantly narrates the harrowing and miraculous
voyage that has defined heroism for the modern age.

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Reviews for Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage:

5

May 30, 2011

Behold...the gentleman whose exploits crushed the last vestiges of manhood from my fragile psyche*:

* Psst....don’t mention this to my wife as she thinks she took care of this years ago.

Stranded for over a year in the most inhospitable climate on the face of the Earth, literally one tiny step away from complete disaster due to starvation, extreme weather or the ice flows on which they lived deciding to crack and deposit into the freezing depths below.



Holy persevering manliness Batman, I was Behold...the gentleman whose exploits crushed the last vestiges of manhood from my fragile psyche*:

* Psst....don’t mention this to my wife as she thinks she took care of this years ago.

Stranded for over a year in the most inhospitable climate on the face of the Earth, literally one tiny step away from complete disaster due to starvation, extreme weather or the ice flows on which they lived deciding to crack and deposit into the freezing depths below.



Holy persevering manliness Batman, I was wincing, shuddering and cringing just reading about this ordeal from the creaturey comfort of my toasty, warm bed while maintaining a glass of wine within reaching distance. Now I’m not a non-fiction, survival story expert, but this has to be pretty close to the absolute limit of human endurance, both physically and psychologically. This is one of the stories that will reset your perspective on what the human animal is capable of and I highly recommend you avail yourself of the opportunity to reboot your mind-set.

It will make your daily grind seem like a daily paradise.

HIGHLIGHTS AND PHOTOS:

The story tells of the amazing, nut-shrinking, bowel-tightening, faith-testing, life-affirming expedition of Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 27 as they were stranded while trying to make the first trans-antarctic crossing in 1914. There’e no way I can convey to you in this review the sense of astonishment and awe that you’ll get from being witness to 300 pages of constant, relentless, extreme hardship and danger and the ceaseless intrepidity and unmitigated strength of will exhibited in by these men.

Therefore, here are some highlights and photos that offer just a taste of what these men went through:



**Saltwater Boils (aka pips or pigeons)...a condition where grit and dirt from clothing (usually around the wrists) create small abrasions that become infected and cause severe pain if not treated. These things were mentioned as a casual, passing comment and all I could think was “they had to suffer through those for months with no medical attention and only making them worse.” [No photos of this. A little too gross]

**Using packed snow as toilet paper...not just once mind you, but for almost a year. Not trying to be overly graphic here, but can you imagine the soreness and chafing that this led to in a part of the body that does not abide chafing. Add to that the diet that these men had to endure and the increased strain it placed on the bowels and my privileged mind was aching with imagined pain. [Again, photos withheld because I couldn't find any for propriety's sake]

**Anemomainia (aka “wind madness”)...are you fucking kidding me? I had never heard of this before but this is a condition whereby normal people go bat-shitty bonkers when exposed to constant severe winds that simply...do...not...stop. Leave it to Mother Nature to come up with this unusual form of torture...nasty bitch. And while I’m not showing photos of ice-wiping or grit boils here is a shot that gives you some idea of the winds these men were facing (up to 100+ mph):


** 80 hours without sleep. At one point, a group of men with Shackleton survived for over 3 full days without sleep. I may not sleep as much as most people, but you take away my shut eye for 24 hours and I'm apt to go on a 3 state killing-spree. At most, these guys got a bit cranky.


** Dogs, Penguins and Sea Leopards...oh my. The only diet these men had for over a year consisted of penguins, one sea leopard and, eventually, their own dogs. This last part was incredibly moving because the men, for all of their hunger, were reluctant to resort to these brave animals that had been their stout companions throughout the ordeal. In the end, they did what they had to and the animal lover in me had zero issue with it. Respectful, sad and necessary.

** Removal of gangrenous appendages. Nuff said I think except for the almost preternatural courage and good humor with which the enterprise was conducted.

These were a group of rare individuals.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Lansing’s prose is wonderfully balanced. He tells the story without hyperbole or excess melodrama and lets the reality of the tale provide all of the drama and tension. It is more than enough to keep you white-knuckled and awed. The journal entries and notes from the men involved, to which Lansing had unprecedented access, provide essential flavor to the story and increase the sense of intimacy.

Throughout the hellish ordeal endured by these men, the two things that struck me more than anything else were: (1) the unfailing sense of good will and camaraderie that persisted between the men and (2) that NO ONE DIED. I’m not sure which fact was more astounding to me but they are both truly worthy of an eye-bulging jaw-drop.

A truly inspirational saga of men prevailing over seemingly impossible odds and nightmarish conditions and making this sacrifice at the alter of the human need for exploration and the conquering of the unknown.

5.0 stars. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!! ...more
5

Apr 30, 2011

oh my god i feel like i haven't written a review in ages.

goodreads.com, how you holding up without my pearls of wisdom??

i was going to write a DBR of this last night, because that's what shackleton would do, but then i ended up eating candy and doodling instead, and that is why i live a life of mediocrity and insignificance and i am not like shackleton, who ran into some trouble on a boat ride and managed to triumph over impossible odds.

cheerfully.

that's what i love the most - his unflagging oh my god i feel like i haven't written a review in ages.

goodreads.com, how you holding up without my pearls of wisdom??

i was going to write a DBR of this last night, because that's what shackleton would do, but then i ended up eating candy and doodling instead, and that is why i live a life of mediocrity and insignificance and i am not like shackleton, who ran into some trouble on a boat ride and managed to triumph over impossible odds.

cheerfully.

that's what i love the most - his unflagging optimism and good-naturedness. i can't even handle it when customers put their water bottles or umbrellas on the books, i wanna smack them like a seal in the arctic. i could never hang with shackleton; retail has roooned my sunny disposition.

shackleton...such wonderful, harrowing stuff...he led a group of men into a dangerous situation and they behaved like grown men and survived, improbably. i need to meet me some explorers. these boymen on the subway with their e-readers and their sculpted hair - what would happen to them, slapped on a boat on a moving glacier in the middle of nowhere, all frostbitten and without their cell phones - so cold that the fluid in their blisters turned to ice!!??...i don't think they would make it. doomed!! i see all these gym-hard people, but not life-hard people - no shackletons. your abs are of no use in the antarctic seas, mister!! i expect this situation is on account of where i live and all, but surely there has to be one polar-explorer type wandering through queens, looking for a lady to tell his tales of adventure to! let me be that lady!! i will fill you with pulled pork and onions!!

this feels like a DBR, but i assure you, it is not.

i just get really excited about shackleton.

i had read shackleton's stowaway, so i pretty much knew everything that was going to go down, but i still highly recommend this to anyone, really. except dana. because of the amputation and all. but anyone else - thumbs up.

this book deserved a better review.
but the pork and onions are calling.

come to my blog! ...more
5

Nov 15, 2010

There aren't many true-life tales that live up to the hype. There are always some details that make the story just a little less dramatic than in the made-for-TV movie. Not this time. While listening to this audiobook, the thought that went through my head over and over again was "Holy s***!" The book starts with the Endurance, trapped in the Antarctic ice, being literally crushed to death. The men abandon ship, and then float on the ice pack for months. When the pack breaks up, they launch the There aren't many true-life tales that live up to the hype. There are always some details that make the story just a little less dramatic than in the made-for-TV movie. Not this time. While listening to this audiobook, the thought that went through my head over and over again was "Holy s***!" The book starts with the Endurance, trapped in the Antarctic ice, being literally crushed to death. The men abandon ship, and then float on the ice pack for months. When the pack breaks up, they launch the lifeboats they salvaged from the Endurance and land on Elephant Island. Then Shackleton sets off again in one of the lifeboats, crossing the incredibly dangerous Drake Passage in nothing more than a 22-foot open boat, hoping to reach South Georgia to come back with a relief ship for the men left behind on Elephant Island.

The whole epic voyage takes over a year, and every single day, they were one wave, misstep, or blizzard away from being wiped out in an instant. That any of them survived is amazing; that everyone did is unbelievable. Alfred Lansing wrote this book from the journals the men kept, which gave him a very detailed picture of every stage of this journey. It's a tense thriller all the way through, and will make you so incredibly glad you have never had to go through anything like this. When Shackleton finally stumbles into a whaling camp on South Georgia Island and announces himself, you will have a hard time not feeling a lump in your throat.

As affecting as the unbelievable odds these men beat is the unbelievable hardships they endured. They teetered on the verge of starvation and freezing to death, lived and slept in the most miserably wet, frozen conditions, with little protection from blizzards and gale-force winds. They lived for months on pack ice! Lansing does not stint on the grimy, unpleasant details of day-to-day existence under these circumstances, like having to go outside to empty the communal urine pot in a gale, or taking a dump over the side of a boat that is being tossed about by rough seas (and surrounded by killer whales just in case the poor bastards didn't have enough to think about), or having to kill and eat their dogs, or having to cut off gangrenous toes. Every time you think it can't possibly suck worse to be them, it sucks worse.

Absolutely a thrilling read, and will really make you appreciate how grueling and miserable this expedition was, and how awesome their achievement was just in surviving. ...more
5

Jul 21, 2019

Ernest Shackleton set out for Antarctica in 1914 to cross the last uncharted territory. His ship became trapped in the ice. For ten months they drifted North-West.
The crew of 27 men would find that the sinking of the ship was only the beginning. They would suffer, traveling over both sea and I've for over 850 miles. This true account describes the year off travel and suffering, incredible leadership and harrowing experience in which all crewmen survived.
Easy to read, informative, and an Ernest Shackleton set out for Antarctica in 1914 to cross the last uncharted territory. His ship became trapped in the ice. For ten months they drifted North-West.
The crew of 27 men would find that the sinking of the ship was only the beginning. They would suffer, traveling over both sea and I've for over 850 miles. This true account describes the year off travel and suffering, incredible leadership and harrowing experience in which all crewmen survived.
Easy to read, informative, and an incredible read, this is a MUST READ! Includes photography. ...more
4

Jun 08, 2013

What an incredible story! This was my introduction to Shackleton, and I am left reeling from the experience.

I chose Endurance to add symmetry to my list. Earlier this year I read In the Kingdom of Ice, Hampton Sides' excellent book about a doomed expedition to the North Pole, and I thought I should balance the hemispheres by reading about a South Pole expedition. Lansing's book was highly rated by GR friends, and justifiably so.

What struck me about the writing was how modern it was. Lansing had What an incredible story! This was my introduction to Shackleton, and I am left reeling from the experience.

I chose Endurance to add symmetry to my list. Earlier this year I read In the Kingdom of Ice, Hampton Sides' excellent book about a doomed expedition to the North Pole, and I thought I should balance the hemispheres by reading about a South Pole expedition. Lansing's book was highly rated by GR friends, and justifiably so.

What struck me about the writing was how modern it was. Lansing had good descriptions, great storytelling and created a powerful momentum to the events. These techniques are now widely used in narrative nonfiction, especially among popular history writers such as Sides, Nathaniel Philbrick, and Laura Hillenbrand. I mention this because Lansing's book was originally published in 1959, but didn't become a bestseller until decades later when a publisher who was a fan decided to reprint it. Lansing was definitely ahead of his time.

[Sidenote: In the 2014 edition that I had, Philbrick wrote a great introduction about Lansing and his book, and it included this bit of wisdom: "One of the biggest challenges for a writer of nonfiction is to avoid using too much of his or her hard-won material. A great and enduring book isn't comprehensive; it is highly, even ruthlessly, selective, zeroing in on the most evocative and illustrative moments while dispensing with the clutter that might prevent the high points from resonating to maximum effect."]

But back to the adventure! In 1914, Ernest Shackleton wanted to make the first land crossing of Antarctica. The South Pole had previously been discovered, but Shackleton hoped to lead an expedition from sea to sea. However, his ship never reached the continent — it became stuck in ice in the Weddell Sea, and was eventually crushed and destroyed by the ice pack.

Shackleton and his men had to camp on an ice floe, and slowly drifted out to sea. When the floe became unreliable, they set out in lifeboats in hopes of reaching an island.

(At this point, this book was so compelling that it was affecting my sleep. I dreamt that I was stranded on an iceberg, and was relieved to wake up in a bed, in a house, on land, in a warm climate and with food readily available.)

The men reached Elephant Island, which was remote and unlikely to be visited by any other ships. Shackleton and a few men then set out again in a lifeboat for South Georgia Island, which was about 800 miles away. Amazingly, they reached the island, despite wicked winds and dangerous seas, and then had to make a difficult land crossing to the other side to reach a dock with some whaling ships.

After several attempts, Shackleton was finally able to procure a ship that was sturdy enough to rescue the men stranded on Elephant Island, making for an emotional reunion. If you think I reached the end of this adventure without getting a little misty-eyed, you would be wrong.

Shackleton was such an inspirational leader that I understand why he has become so revered. Lansing did some impressive reporting by interviewing the survivors of the expedition, and he also had access to numerous journals and logbooks. I listened to this on audio, narrated by Simon Prebble, and it was excellent. I also recommend looking through a print copy of the book to see the photographs from the expedition, including some jaw-dropping photos of the ship stuck in ice.

I highly recommend this book to fans of history or true adventure.

Favorite Quotes
"Few men have borne the responsibility Shackleton did at that moment. Though he certainly was aware that their situation was desperate, he could not possibly have imagined then the physical and emotional demands that ultimately would be placed upon them, the rigors they would have to endure, the sufferings to which they would be subjected. They were for all practical purposes alone in the frozen Antarctic seas. It had been very nearly a year since they had last been in contact with civilization. Nobody in the outside world knew they were in trouble, much less where they were. They had no radio transmitter with which to notify any would-be rescuers, and it is doubtful that any rescuers could have reached them even if they had been able to broadcast an SOS. It was 1915, and there were no helicopters, no Weasels, no Sno-Cats, no suitable planes. Thus their plight was naked and terrifying in its simplicity. If they were to get out — they had to get themselves out."

"In all the world there is no desolation more complete than the polar night. It is a return to the Ice Age — no warmth, no life, no movement. Only those who have experienced it can fully appreciate what it means to be without the sun day after day and week after week. Few men unaccustomed to it can fight off its effects altogether, and it has driven some men mad."
...more
5

Apr 01, 2019

I've read my share of leadership texts over the years – an occupational necessity for a while – and a name I came across more than one was Ernest Shackleton. Some sources reckoned him to be possibly the greatest leader that ever lived. Well that’s some claim and it’s something I knew I'd have to look into sooner or later. So when I came across this book, originally published in 1959, the time had finally arrived.

I knew that the man was an Antarctic explorer but precious little else. I soon I've read my share of leadership texts over the years – an occupational necessity for a while – and a name I came across more than one was Ernest Shackleton. Some sources reckoned him to be possibly the greatest leader that ever lived. Well that’s some claim and it’s something I knew I'd have to look into sooner or later. So when I came across this book, originally published in 1959, the time had finally arrived.

I knew that the man was an Antarctic explorer but precious little else. I soon learned that after having twice previously failed to reach the South Pole, in 1914 he set off with a 28 man crew hell bent on becoming the first person to cross the Antarctic continent. If you don’t already know the story then I’ll not spoil it by giving a full run down of how it played out but what I will say is that quite early on Shackleton’s ship, Endurance, was crushed by ice flows leaving everyone stranded on the ice pack. They were left in a truly desperate situation, exposed in the freezing cold hundreds of miles from any civilisation and with no means of contacting any potential source of assistance. It was to take well over a year for events to unfold to a conclusion.

This really is an amazing adventure story. I'd even go so far as to say that were I to have been told that this was a work of fiction I'd have dismissed it as overblown and way too far fetched to be believable. The story is brilliantly told I enjoyed it all the more for having had no pre-knowledge of these events. It's been pieced together from first hand accounts handed down through interviews with members of the crew and from diary entries (some of the crew kept diaries throughout the ordeal). I found myself totally gripped by this account. The terrible conditions the crew faced and the many acts of daring, bravery and stoicism reported here are truly humbling.

And what of Shackleton’s leadership qualities? Well he definitely had a style I struggle to recognise from my business experience but there’s no doubt that he did display many of the acknowledged skills and behaviours we’re told are essential for any good leader. He was open and honest (sometimes brutally so), also decisive and he certainly employed effective delegation. He showed, too, a readiness to improvise, an ability to get the group working as a team and he maintained throughout a faith and optimism that simply beggars belief. The best ever? I'm not sure about that but he pulled off the virtually impossible, so maybe he truly does deserve this accolade. ...more
5

May 01, 2013

I am almost unable to express my feelings about this amazing and unbelievable story. I finished the last paragraph with tears running down my face and shaking my head in disbelief.

If this were a work of fiction, you'd barely believe it, but you'd credit Alfred Lansing for his story-telling and imagination.

It's not fiction, and you can't help but find yourself in a perpetual state of awe over these men and their optimism, faith, humor, determination, and endurance.

I felt quite unworthy on every I am almost unable to express my feelings about this amazing and unbelievable story. I finished the last paragraph with tears running down my face and shaking my head in disbelief.

If this were a work of fiction, you'd barely believe it, but you'd credit Alfred Lansing for his story-telling and imagination.

It's not fiction, and you can't help but find yourself in a perpetual state of awe over these men and their optimism, faith, humor, determination, and endurance.

I felt quite unworthy on every page.

Shackleton and his men, who quickly become "as helpless and isolated from the outside world as if they were on another planet," show you, just as quickly, the best that humans can be.

And, Alfred Lansing brings them all back to life with his concise and inspired writing.

...more
5

May 09, 2016

What an incredible adventure.

Endurance tells the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton's attempts to cross the Antarctic overland with his 27 man crew. But, in October 1915 when they were still half a continent away from their intended base, their ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. The entire crew with 50 dogs left the doomed vessel, camping on ice and using small boats to attempt to reach the nearest island. They became castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world. Any hope of What an incredible adventure.

Endurance tells the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton's attempts to cross the Antarctic overland with his 27 man crew. But, in October 1915 when they were still half a continent away from their intended base, their ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. The entire crew with 50 dogs left the doomed vessel, camping on ice and using small boats to attempt to reach the nearest island. They became castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world. Any hope of survival seemed lost.....

This account is gripping and exciting almost to the last page.

I appreciate what Dr Dobson has tried to do by re-publishing this as a "special Christian edition." But the reality is that this is not a Christian book and believing that the men "must have sought God" as they daily faced imminent death does not prove that they actually did this or that any were Christians. From the various journal entries and comments included it seems sadly likely that they were not Christians and an attempt to re-write the reality although well-intended seems to me to be a bit odd. Dr Dobson has also included an Afterword. He attempts to use an analogy from Endurance to explain end times theology yet he makes the point that his analogy will only probably be understood by those who are acquainted with Biblical prophecy. I don't understand the purpose of this, if it is for those who are already saved then it is not evangelistic so why form an ill-fitting analogy to try and link this story to the Christian faith?

Dr Dobson should probably instead have concluded this great story of adventure by commenting on the tragedy of survival against the odds but without true eternal hope, instead of trying to turn this into a Christian book/turn these into Christian men when they don't seem to have been.

I recommend this book for those who enjoy true adventure stories. It is basically clean; mostly free of bad language (there is one curse word,) also free of violence and sexual content. ...more
5

May 08, 2019

This is quite the tale, what a crazy adventure! Endurance tells the story of Shackleton and his crew and their Arctic expedition. The men ran into more than their fair share of trouble, to put it lightly. The book is fascinating and really shows you the incredible power of human resilience and tenacity. Perfect for an armchair traveler, it read like a novel and I couldn't put it down!

Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com
2

Dec 01, 2017

*2.5 stars*



Other than the bazillion amounts of bonus points that I got from my history-loving father for reading this one, I found Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to be a little underwhelming.

Honestly, it's a fascinating story and a true testament to the will of man, but it is also extremely repetitive. Though the narrator was very good, I had trouble keeping my attention on the story as the guys killed another seal and were cold... again... for hours and hours of listening time on *2.5 stars*



Other than the bazillion amounts of bonus points that I got from my history-loving father for reading this one, I found Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to be a little underwhelming.

Honestly, it's a fascinating story and a true testament to the will of man, but it is also extremely repetitive. Though the narrator was very good, I had trouble keeping my attention on the story as the guys killed another seal and were cold... again... for hours and hours of listening time on end.

I ended up skimming parts of the story because it go to be too much, but I maintain that the story is a remarkable one. ...more
5

Jan 13, 2018

10/5 's: An exciting, epic battle of survival; Stoicism to the nth degree. Truly incredible.

“The ship had been named the Polaris. After the sale, Shackleton rechristened her Endurance, in keeping with the motto of his family, Fortitudine vincimus—"By endurance we conquer."

Easily one of my all-time favorite books—ever—it's not hard to see why astronaut Scott Kelly brought it with him to the ISS not once, but twice. Although I hazily remembered Shackleton's voyage from history class, it wasn't 10/5 ⭐️'s: An exciting, epic battle of survival; Stoicism to the nth degree. Truly incredible. 🏆

“The ship had been named the Polaris. After the sale, Shackleton rechristened her Endurance, in keeping with the motto of his family, Fortitudine vincimus—"By endurance we conquer."

Easily one of my all-time favorite books—ever—it's not hard to see why astronaut Scott Kelly brought it with him to the ISS not once, but twice. Although I hazily remembered Shackleton's voyage from history class, it wasn't until Kelly's Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery that Alfred Lansing's book was brought to my attention. Both books are amazing, dealing with life and death situations outside of civilization, on the forefront of exploration.

If you enjoy true tales of adventure, heroism, and strength of character in the face of insurmountable odds—look no further. Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition is nothing short of extraordinary.

The introduction alone was so striking, I listened to it four times. Narrated by Simon Prebble, it reads like the BBC Planet Earth documentaries, beautiful and riveting.

Stuck in "the icy wasteland of the Antarctic's treacherous Weddell Sea, just about midway between the South Pole and the nearest known outpost of humanity, some 1,200 miles away," the ship Endurance is abandoned a little more than a year after setting out from London in 1914.

All in all, the group of 28 men (all of whom survive) will have no contact with the outside world for almost two years, and not see land for 497 days. No radio, no satellite, no help from anywhere, only the guidance of maps, stars, and the indefatigable leadership of Ernest Shackleton.

"Thus their plight was naked and terrifying in its simplicity. If they were to get out—they had to get themselves out.”

After the Endurance sinks, the men take the sled dogs, lifeboats, and anything they can carry, setting out across the ice. Throughout their journey back to the known world, I found myself holding my breath and constantly amazed at how the men could endure such trials—even attaining a level of contentment with their primitive existence.

"The rapidity with which one can completely change one's ideas ... and accommodate ourselves to a state of barbarism is wonderful."

Developing a degree of self-reliance greater than they ever thought possible, it is clear the men take the time to savor the pleasure of simply being alive. Lansing seamlessly incorporates diary entries from the men, giving us incredible insight to the men's personal feelings.

Several camps are made on the ice, the last aptly named: "Patience Camp." Once the ice floes begin to break up, the men set out for the South Shetland Islands in two small boats, eventually landing on Elephant Island. Too weak to go on, a majority of the men remained there while Shackleton and five others set off in the James Caird for South Georgia. Covering a distance of 800 miles through the Drake Passage it is widely viewed as one of the greatest small-boat journeys ever undertaken.

Once they reached King Haakon Bay, Shackleton and two others made the first confirmed land crossing of the South Georgia interior, arriving at the whaling station of Stromness. The men there are in shock and utter awe at the strength and determination of Shackleton and his men. As soon as he can, Shackleton goes back and rescues the rest of his party.

I often referenced maps of the expedition and ended up researching the various legs of the journey in greater detail—the photos alone are captivating. The whole story is phenomenal, and awe-inspiring—I really can't recommend this enough.

Favorite Quotes:

“In some ways they had come to know themselves better. In this lonely world of ice and emptiness, they had achieved at least a limited kind of contentment. They had been tested and found not wanting.”

“In that instant they felt an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment. Though they had failed dismally even to come close to the expedition's original objective, they knew now that somehow they had done much, much more than ever they set out to do.” ...more
5

Dec 16, 2017

While reading this novel, I never ceased to feel amazed at the courage of the group of men who undertook a voyage into most unfriendly regions on our planet more than 100 years ago, and who dared to dare. I feel thankful to those who travelled to the place where I'd never venture. Film based on this novel with Kenneth Branagh is worth watching, the novel is much more terryfing, though.
5

Nov 12, 2017

Endurance, Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing, Narrated by Simon Prebble, Blackstone Audio Book

This is an incredible account of a December, 1914, British Antarctic expedition of 28 men and their venture to sail to the Weddell Sea. They were to land a shore party near Vahsel Bay, in preparation for a transcontinental march via the South Pole to the Ross Sea. They never made it to the starting point. Halfway there they were caught in ice floes and the ship was eventually crushed and Endurance, Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing, Narrated by Simon Prebble, Blackstone Audio Book

This is an incredible account of a December, 1914, British Antarctic expedition of 28 men and their venture to sail to the Weddell Sea. They were to land a shore party near Vahsel Bay, in preparation for a transcontinental march via the South Pole to the Ross Sea. They never made it to the starting point. Halfway there they were caught in ice floes and the ship was eventually crushed and sunk. The men spent about 15 months on the ice.

It is almost a relief to have finished the book. The relief is not due to poor writing. On the contrary the writing and narration are excellent. It is the intensity of the story: the crushing and sinking of the wooden ship “Endurance” between ice floes, and the challenges the men faced as they they will try to survive having lost gear and food stores with the sinking ship.

The book is too, a testament to man being tested to his limits, the importance of experienced leadership, and planning for contingencies. Hardly no 2 days on the ice were the same. From drastic swings in temperatures, to gale force winds, to phenomena no one in the rest of the work will ever experience. For example, while on the pack ice, a rouge ocean swell could crack and split the ice under foot potentially losing valuable gear and men’s lives. Another phenomenon is the tide rip, where a deep-water tide could surface and gather ice and other debris and without warning move it at incredible speeds devastating anything is its path. It could then dissipate as quickly as it began.

I have to say, this is not only a true story that, like a good novel, kept me listening to the excellent narration by Simon Prebble, but a learning experience about the inhospitable environment of Antarctica, of which I had no idea.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys adventure that takes them to places they have never been, and meeting the men who are part of the journey. ...more
5

Dec 10, 2018

I am in awe and in tears.

The ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition aboard the Endurance has got to be one of the most phenomenal survival stories that will last through the ages. The conditions that beset the crew of the Endurance were brutal and harrowing beyond my imagination. I don't think that even a fiction writer could have conjured up the unbelievably horrific circumstances that were endured, and survived, by Shackleton and his men.

On the book itself, the narrative was written by I am in awe and in tears.

The ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition aboard the Endurance has got to be one of the most phenomenal survival stories that will last through the ages. The conditions that beset the crew of the Endurance were brutal and harrowing beyond my imagination. I don't think that even a fiction writer could have conjured up the unbelievably horrific circumstances that were endured, and survived, by Shackleton and his men.

On the book itself, the narrative was written by piecing together all the events experienced by the crew of the Endurance, accomplished via combing through every diary kept during the expedition and extensive interviews with almost all the surviving crew members. I believe this enabled the author to put forth an in-depth and intimate account of this most incredible and perilous voyage, which lasted almost two years. The audiobook narration added to the experience as the narrator was adept in modulating his delivery to suit the moment - be it desperation or acquiescence, excitement or relief. He also injected a bit of character to the different crew members through nuanced voices.

I highly, highly recommend this classic true tale of survival to anyone who seeks to be inspired by the sheer indefatigable will, courage and nobility that humans can be capable of. I wasn't aware that it was even possible until I've read this book. ...more
4

Dec 12, 2011

This was exciting! I recommend this book to those who want to throw themselves into another world, albeit a world cold, wet, icy and filled with fear, exhaustion and hunger.

Ernest Shackleton set out in 1914 to cross the Antarctic from west to east. Yes, WW1 had broken out and he had Churchill’s go-ahead Why? For the glory of Britain and for his own glory too. The race for polar discovery was in full-swing. On December 14, 1911, the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen led the first successful This was exciting! I recommend this book to those who want to throw themselves into another world, albeit a world cold, wet, icy and filled with fear, exhaustion and hunger.

Ernest Shackleton set out in 1914 to cross the Antarctic from west to east. Yes, WW1 had broken out and he had Churchill’s go-ahead Why? For the glory of Britain and for his own glory too. The race for polar discovery was in full-swing. On December 14, 1911, the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen led the first successful expedition to arrive at the South Pole, five weeks ahead of a British party led by Robert Falcon Scott. Robert Edwin Peary, an American explorer, is credited with having been the first to reach the geographic North Pole. There has been some debate as to whether Frederick Cook, also an American, got there a year earlier.

The audiobook narration by Simon Prebble is excellent.

When the expedition began there were twenty-nine men aboard the Endurance; there was one stowaway! (view spoiler)[All twenty-nine survived. (hide spoiler)]This book lets you live the experiences of these men and shows how this amazing feat was accomplished. I have a shelf for books concerning “bad-trip” expeditions. To date, this is my favorite.





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4

Nov 25, 2017

‘Endurance’ is Alfred Lansing’s very thorough, workmanlike but effective and affecting – at times moving account of Shackleton’s ‘Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic’.

For anyone who is not familiar this story – quite simply, this must be the greatest true story of survival against all the odds and is simply unparalleled in our times.

The book, as the expedition, is a sobering, frightening story of unrelenting suffering, challenges on a super-human scale, seemingly unrelenting and insurmountable ‘Endurance’ is Alfred Lansing’s very thorough, workmanlike but effective and affecting – at times moving account of Shackleton’s ‘Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic’.

For anyone who is not familiar this story – quite simply, this must be the greatest true story of survival against all the odds and is simply unparalleled in our times.

The book, as the expedition, is a sobering, frightening story of unrelenting suffering, challenges on a super-human scale, seemingly unrelenting and insurmountable obstacles, overwhelming odds against survival; but ultimately it’s very much truly inspirational story of hope, of never giving up. It’s a story about man’s incredible capacity for survival.

It has to be born in mind the time that Shackleton’s voyage took place (starting out in 1915) and the enormity and ambition of that endeavour. Consider the technology that simply wasn’t available to Shackleton and his crew at that time – the limitations in respect of communication and navigation, let alone the possibility of being found and rescued in the event of an emergency, should the need arise…the technology and the possibility just didn’t exist. Consider also the inhospitable nature of the Antarctic seas, the ice floes, ice bergs, the frighteningly low temperatures, potentially the worst weather and sailing conditions anywhere on the planet, the risk of the ship becoming trapped and crushed in the ice. Finally consider the equipment and protective clothing available in 1915 to the crew – it just doesn’t bear thinking about; Antarctic exploration in 1915 in comparison to that of the 21st Century was quite simply in an entirely different world.

Accompanying Lansing’s text are the evocative and very striking photograph’s taken by the expedition’s photographer Frank Hurley – which amazingly enough survived the ordeal of the expedition.

It is no spoiler to say that this is a story of survival – that fact is known to the reader at the outset. The story is well told and conveyed by Lansing, who had access to surviving ships logs and crew diaries – he also interviewed at length surviving members of the crew of the ‘Endurance’.

There are no superlatives that can be used which could overstate the astonishing and unbelievable nature of this story – nothing that could be said could ever constitute hyperbole. The story of Shackleton’s Antarctic voyage and that of the crew of the ‘Endurance’ is quite simply inspirational; it is a monumental story on a par with that of Odysseus. The quest for Shackleton and his crew was perhaps the greatest quest of all; it was the fight for survival, a battle against insurmountable odds, a fight with the worst that the elements could offer – this was a voyage of the human condition at its finest, the quest to find a place of safety, the fight for life and the fight to find a way home.

Truly an astonishing story.
...more
4

Feb 06, 2012

Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 27 men have taken away my man card. Seriously.

I have never even remotely come into a situation as dire and desperate as the stranded crew of the Endurance. If I did, I’m sure I would curl up in the fetal position and just hope that it all works itself out. That being said, it wouldn’t be long before I would freeze to death or be killed and eaten by a sea leopard. However, if Shackleton was my captain, he could probably get more out of me then I would think Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 27 men have taken away my man card. Seriously.

I have never even remotely come into a situation as dire and desperate as the stranded crew of the Endurance. If I did, I’m sure I would curl up in the fetal position and just hope that it all works itself out. That being said, it wouldn’t be long before I would freeze to death or be killed and eaten by a sea leopard. However, if Shackleton was my captain, he could probably get more out of me then I would think possible.

In 1915, Shackleton and his crew were attempting to become the first to navigate the continent. Little did they know, they would run into some hellish circumstances that would push them to their absolute limit. Shortly after embarking on their arduous journey, the ship becomes trapped. Stuck for months, the ship eventually becomes crushed under the pressure of the surrounding ice. Faced with a "do or die" situation, Shackleton makes the call to lead the men in search of dry land.

For the life of me, I still cannot understand how they survived. However, I do realize that until you’re faced with a situation like this, you’re unable to imagine how you’ll react. Between the loss of limbs, the dire food situations, the difficult living conditions and the fear of never knowing if you'll make it or not, I don't know how they did it.

All of these men have an iron will, there's simply no other way to explain it. It made me think about my day to day problems and how little they matter when you contrast it to being stranded at sea and living on ice flows for the better part of two years.

As good as this book was, I did feel it dragged at parts. I grabbed the audiobook of this and while Simon Prebble's narration was excellent, I found parts were a little long winded. This is in no way a criticism of a real life situation, just maybe a tighter narrative would have been better. ...more
4

May 25, 2017

Although this book was nonfiction, it read like a thriller. The author interviewed survivors of the ill-fated 1914 expedition to Antarctica and also used some of their diaries as his source material. I wanted to learn a little about this expedition after seeing a play in which Ernest Shackleton was a character. (It was actually a strange little musical, and not particularly good, but it managed to pique my interest.)

Shackleton was a flamboyant, arrogant adventurer, who was interested in fame, Although this book was nonfiction, it read like a thriller. The author interviewed survivors of the ill-fated 1914 expedition to Antarctica and also used some of their diaries as his source material. I wanted to learn a little about this expedition after seeing a play in which Ernest Shackleton was a character. (It was actually a strange little musical, and not particularly good, but it managed to pique my interest.)

Shackleton was a flamboyant, arrogant adventurer, who was interested in fame, glory and cash. Not necessarily in that order. Even when facing his probable death, one of his chief concerns was the commercial exploitation of the story of the Endurance. After the Endurance was crushed by ice, the explorers attempted to drag their two remaining ships across the ice. This didn't go well and finally, after many hardships, it was up to Shackleton to attempt the rescue of 22 of his men stranded on a barren island locked in by ice. It was quite a story.

Necessarily, there was a great deal of repetitiveness to the story. The men were stuck in basically the same situation for almost 2 years. All there was to write about was ice, cold, snow, weather, food (or the lack of food), dog sledding (or killing dogs), sighting land, being unable to reach the land, sickness, pain, courage, despair, hopefulness, arrogance and bad decisions. All in various permutations. Nevertheless, the book was certainly not boring. Simon Prebble was the narrator of the audiobook and he did an excellent job. ...more
4

Jan 31, 2012

The unbelievable and tragical story of the Ernest Shackleton's expedition to Antarctica and their struggle to survive for an interminable period of time.

The book describes the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–17) his third expedition, also known as the Endurance Expedition.



Endurance became beset in the ice of the Weddell Sea before reaching Vahsel Bay held in the pack ice throughout the Antarctic winter of 1915.
5

Jan 06, 2019

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage is a heartfelt story that is deeply touching, and rewards the reader with a true story of survival against all odds, and the strength of the human spirit!


Alfred Lansing's book about the incredible misadventure of the explorer ship, The Endurance, is nothing short of a masterpiece! This thrilling account of one of the most astonishing feats of exploration and human courage ever seen, and to top it off, its' 100% based on real events. The author, Alfred Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage is a heartfelt story that is deeply touching, and rewards the reader with a true story of survival against all odds, and the strength of the human spirit!


Alfred Lansing's book about the incredible misadventure of the explorer ship, The Endurance, is nothing short of a masterpiece! This thrilling account of one of the most astonishing feats of exploration and human courage ever seen, and to top it off, its' 100% based on real events. The author, Alfred Lansing, wrote this 61 years ago, and it feels so incredibly relevant to modern day standards. Lansing himself, was a WW2 veteran and served in the capacity of a Naval hero, receiving the purple heart for his efforts! His military background likely inspired him to write his magnum opus. Having experienced true life and death moments, likely gave him the substrate to relate to each character of this extraordinary voyage of the Endurance.

In a nutshell, the story tells the adventures of the British ship Endurance, which set sail In August of 1914 for the South Atlantic. Along with his seasoned ship captain Ernest Shackleton, a group of 30 odd sailors embarked in the adventure of a lifetime, in the hopes of conquering malignant seas, and being the first recorded ship to sail to Antarctica.




A heart wrenching tale of shipwreck in the least hospitable place on earth, makes the Endurance an absolute must read! Lansing's prose is majestic, he's narrative is affluent in describing the perils of the ill-fated crew. Lansing's 'cadence' and tonality makes his book so effective and powerful. Along the book, real photos archived form the Royal Geography society, made the experienced that much more real!

As a reader, I couldn't put down the book, as the turn of a single page could have been doom or salvation for our brave sailors! Without spoilers (this is in the book's description), the 'Endurance' becomes trapped in 2 feet floes of ice in the middle of the Antartic sea. What follows is a series of death-defying attempts of escape and survival! When I thought the worst was over...holy shit, I so wrong! Also, having no previous knowledge as to the story's conclusion really helped heightened my experience!








Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage is an awe inspiring tale of brave sailors, that faced the unimaginable, and with death throes all around them, they taught us the unbreakable strenght of the human spirit!

5 STARS! ...more
2

Mar 03, 2017

I'm sorry. I know this is an incredible survival story, but I have to call bullshit. This is being advertised as a story of "leadership" and "heroism" when it's more like the opposite. I used to be OK with letting such stuff go as a "conversation starter" but I now think such fuzziness is too dangerous.

Shackleton plans the expedition for the sake of a publicity stunt that he hopes will make him rich. He picks his crew "capriciously." He "hypocritically" adds a science component. He ignores I'm sorry. I know this is an incredible survival story, but I have to call bullshit. This is being advertised as a story of "leadership" and "heroism" when it's more like the opposite. I used to be OK with letting such stuff go as a "conversation starter" but I now think such fuzziness is too dangerous.

Shackleton plans the expedition for the sake of a publicity stunt that he hopes will make him rich. He picks his crew "capriciously." He "hypocritically" adds a science component. He ignores advice from whalers. He fails to bring along essential materials. He lands his ship in a self-created disaster. And so on. I give the author credit for presenting these facts and labels, but the overall tone is off.

This book is assigned in schools. We should not be teaching young people that leadership is selfishness, hubris, poor planning, bad decision-making, etc. Saving your own skin in a difficult situation could be admirable resourcefulness, but it's not the best illustration of heroism.

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5

May 10, 2007

Part ripping yarn, part social psychology experiment, part metaphor for graduate school -- this is the most IN-CREDIBLE book that I've ever read.

It is insaaaaaannnneeeeee!!!!

But even though the whole time you are reading it, you are thinking to yourself -- #$(*&@$%(*waaahhh!!! -- the writing is remarkably restrained and pithy, putting you right in the moment without distracting you from what's going on. You'd almost think you were reading Updike, except the people in the story are real, and Part ripping yarn, part social psychology experiment, part metaphor for graduate school -- this is the most IN-CREDIBLE book that I've ever read.

It is insaaaaaannnneeeeee!!!!

But even though the whole time you are reading it, you are thinking to yourself -- #$(*&@$%(*waaahhh!!! -- the writing is remarkably restrained and pithy, putting you right in the moment without distracting you from what's going on. You'd almost think you were reading Updike, except the people in the story are real, and they are really trying to sail 1,000 miles in open sea in a 20 foot open-topped boat, and deciding whether or not it's worth it to slide down a fog-shrouded mountaintop to be smashed against rocks or fly off the edge of a cliff.

Alfred Lansing tells it straight, with lots of quotes from the sailors' diaries, and brilliant structuring. I hope he got some kind of prize for this, since it kicks so much ass.

!!!More exclamation points!!!
!!!!! ...more
5

Aug 28, 2007

I rarely re-read books, but this was such a gripping, true-life adventure, and well told, that I have read it three times in the last fifteen years. I think it is due for another re-read! It blows my mind to think of what these men went through and how they survived being stuck in Antarctica for years. The way they engineer their own rescue is hardly to be believed. What adds to the appeal of the book is the wonderful color throughout - details of how the men made life bearable during this I rarely re-read books, but this was such a gripping, true-life adventure, and well told, that I have read it three times in the last fifteen years. I think it is due for another re-read! It blows my mind to think of what these men went through and how they survived being stuck in Antarctica for years. The way they engineer their own rescue is hardly to be believed. What adds to the appeal of the book is the wonderful color throughout - details of how the men made life bearable during this unbearably stressful and gruelling experience - playing football on the ice, putting on Christmas Eve talent shows, passing the time by making a list of the foods they'd most like to eat when they are stranded on a desolate rock with nothing to eat but seal blubber. With a few choice details and diary excerpts, Lansing also makes almost all of the men come alive on the page as very distinct (and often quirky) characters. Awesome book! ...more
5

Feb 26, 2018

One of the best novels based on a true story that talks about "Endurance" in harsh situations. I have never enjoyed an audiobook like this. Thrilling and exciting!! I recommend this audiobook too because the narrator work was superb.

There are moments in the book that it makes you feel anguish, however, that anguish is totally related to the situation of the journeymen. It is now one of my favorites.
4

Mar 29, 2012

If someone pitched a book idea to a publisher about a bunch of guys stranded in the Arctic, who’s boat is destroyed by ice, who get hunted and in turn hunt sea lions, and who save the day by –no joke- sledding down a mountain to avoid freezing to death and manage to save their whole crew of shipwrecked mates, you would be laughed at. It’s too ludicrous. Too unbelievable.

BUT IT FREAKING HAPPENED.

Look if you want to learn how to be a good manager, a good adventurist, a good person- then you need If someone pitched a book idea to a publisher about a bunch of guys stranded in the Arctic, who’s boat is destroyed by ice, who get hunted and in turn hunt sea lions, and who save the day by –no joke- sledding down a mountain to avoid freezing to death and manage to save their whole crew of shipwrecked mates, you would be laughed at. It’s too ludicrous. Too unbelievable.

BUT IT FREAKING HAPPENED.

Look if you want to learn how to be a good manager, a good adventurist, a good person- then you need to read about Shackleton’s voyage. Very few people are blessed with a leader that understands the people around him so completely, that knows when the odds need to be played, and isn’t afraid to be cautious when fear and impatience push logical men towards death. And it wasn’t just Shackleton either. These men maintained themselves emotionally. With very few exceptions, they smiled as they defied the odds. The feat of navigation that the XO pulled off was so meticulously miraculous that it’s like probably hadn’t been seen since Captain Bligh of Bounty fame. These men excelled at surviving because they had to. Equal turns luck, skill, and determination make for an amazing journey.


“We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that Nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.”

** The only thing that I wish this book had contained was a critical analysis of what happened after the journey. Where did the men go. How did they react to the continuation of WWI upon their return? They failed to reach the pole, but their story of survival launched them to fame for a short while. How did it affect other journeys to the pole. I know there ARE books out there that cover that, but I wish this one had as well.

***I totally wonder what seal meat tastes like. ...more

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