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The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition (1998)

by Caroline Alexander, Frank Hurley (Photographer)

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1,453368,973 (4.23)49
In August 1914, renowned explorer Ernest Shackleton and a crew of twenty-seven set sail for the South Atlantic in pursuit of the last unclaimed prize in the history of exploration: the first crossing on foot of the Antarctic continent. They came with in eighty-five miles of their destination when their ship, Endurance, was trapped fast in the ice pack, and the crew was stranded on the floes. Their ordeal lasted for twenty grueling months, and the group made two near-fatal attempts to escape by open boat before they were finally rescued. Drawing upon previously unavailable sources, Caroline Alexander gives us a riveting account of Shackleton's expedition. An extraordinary re-creation of the terrible beauty of Antarctica, the awful destruction of the ship, and the crew's heroic daily struggle for survival, The Endurance thrillingly describes one of the last great adventures in the brave age of exploration-perhaps the greatest of them all.… (more)
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» See also 49 mentions

English (30)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
The start of the Shackleton Obsession (a subset of the Antarctica Obsession)
  ibazel | Aug 7, 2020 |
I read this book over the course of about 3 days. It was fascinating reading, and I read quickly so as to actually finish it. I considered how their travails compared to those endured by those who are successful in any endeavor. They were not successful in their goal of traversing Antarctica, but were successful in coming back without loss of life. I suppose that is because of the perseverance of their leadership.

The contrast in tenacity between their leader, and some who gave up is a striking lesson in how to fail. After giving up, chances of success diminish dramatically. But Shackleton did not give up. That he brought back all of the men alive is rare and extremely impressive. ( )
  bread2u | Jul 1, 2020 |
Includes the photographs of Frank Hurley. ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 20, 2020 |
I read Caroline Alexander’s The Endurance, an account of the legendary 1914-1916 expedition accomplished by Ernest Shackleton and his men, while sampling a gift I’d received: “Shackleton Blended Malt Scotch Whisky…The Spirit Supplied to the 1907 British Antarctic Expedition.”

The 1907 expedition isn’t the one described in Alexander’s book, of course. Also, better whiskeys than Shackleton exist. Sipping it, though, can create a sensation that the man’s spirit has been infused into your own. Such accompaniment enhances time spent with him and his men at sea and on ice and seems to fortify the diary entries Alexander quotes extensively. The most diligent diarists inevitably get more attention than other crew members, not necessarily for the best. No matter. More than any other, the paramount contributor to this book is expedition photographer Frank Hurley. His pictures are many and breathtaking and do much to show the physical character of an enterprise in which men survived an experience that lies well near unfathomable. ( )
  dypaloh | Feb 27, 2020 |
The heroics of the expedition chronicled in [The Endurance] extended from the expedition leader, Sir Ernest Shackleton, to its lowest-ranking team member (who surely would be Perce Blackborow, a stowaway). Twenty-eight men sailed aboard a wooden-hulled, three-masted steamship, named the Endurance, from the southernmost outpost of civilization--a whaling station on South Georgia Island--toward Antarctica. The intention was to land members of an expeditionary team that would traverse the continent and be picked up by a second ship.

Ah, but the Endurance never made landfall. Two days after leaving port, 7 Dec 1914, near the southern hemisphere's summer solstice, the ship encountered the Antarctic ice pack. Of course, once the Endurance sailed it lost all contact with civilization: no radio communication, no homing pigeons, no semaphore, no smoke signals. No one would be looking for the Endurance, either. The expedition was on its own.

For a month, the ship struggled through the ice, working its way south, closer to its intended landfall. But on 18 Jan 1915 the ice seized the Endurance, never to let her go. For ten months, the Endurance drifted with the ice pack. On 27 Oct 1915, pressure of the ice crushed the ship's hull, forcing all aboard onto the ice. The team did have almost a month to unload and salvage whatever they could; 21 Nov 1915, the ship sank. The next four months were spent on the ice, still drifting. And drifting to an extent that the team, on Shackleton's order, destroyed all the sledge dogs, fit everything they could into the three lifeboats salvaged from the Endurance and sailed to tiny Elephant Island. For the first time in more than a year, the men set their feet on solid ground. But they were far from safe. It would be another four months until they were rescued and returned to civilization.

The remarkable thing was that all 28 men survived. Stuck in perpetual winter from January 1915 through August 1916, sheltering in tents in the open during blizzards with high winds and negative double-digit temps. Everything wet—sleeping bags, clothing, boots. Shackleton selected his team members astutely and kept all hands occupied every day. He earned the respect and admiration of every man. And just as important, the men trusted and respected each other, followed orders, worked to the best of their abilities. Yes, personalities clashed; some guys were difficult, irritable and Shackleton managed to single these fellows out and minimize their contact with their principal antagonists (a tough job in such a confined environment). Together, they survived.

A feature of the book I read was the collection of photos taken during the expedition by Frank Hurley, an Australian hired primarily to capture the voyage on film. A view camera taking glass plates was Hurley's primary camera, but he also used a Kodak box camera and a motion picture camera. While on the ship, he developed his photos and soldered them into tin containers to preserve them.

The book includes more than 150 photos of the expedition taken by Frank Hurley. I've posted a few of them, with the book's captions, here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/250357#5992309
  weird_O | Mar 29, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alexander, CarolineAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hurley, FrankPhotographermain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Never for me the lowered banner, never the last endeavour. - Sir Ernest Shackleton
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To Mrs. Chippy who pioneered the way
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The captain of the ship, Frank Worsley, would remember the day vividly ever afterward.
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Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
La exploración del Antártico, a comienzos del siglo XX, no se parecía a ninguna otra exploración en cualquier otro punto de la Tierra. No había feroces animales ni indígenas salvajes que cerraran el paso al explorador. El obstáculo esencial era puro y simple: vientos de hasta trescientos kilómetros por hora y temperaturas de hasta cincuenta grados centígrados bajo cero. La lucha se establecía entre el hombre y las fuerzas desatadas de la naturaleza, entre el hombre y los límites de la resistencia.
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In August 1914, renowned explorer Ernest Shackleton and a crew of twenty-seven set sail for the South Atlantic in pursuit of the last unclaimed prize in the history of exploration: the first crossing on foot of the Antarctic continent. They came with in eighty-five miles of their destination when their ship, Endurance, was trapped fast in the ice pack, and the crew was stranded on the floes. Their ordeal lasted for twenty grueling months, and the group made two near-fatal attempts to escape by open boat before they were finally rescued. Drawing upon previously unavailable sources, Caroline Alexander gives us a riveting account of Shackleton's expedition. An extraordinary re-creation of the terrible beauty of Antarctica, the awful destruction of the ship, and the crew's heroic daily struggle for survival, The Endurance thrillingly describes one of the last great adventures in the brave age of exploration-perhaps the greatest of them all.

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