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Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by…

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage (1959)

by Alfred Lansing

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,041892,690 (4.34)149
  1. 30
    The Ice Master: The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Karluk by Jennifer Niven (John_Vaughan)
  2. 10
    Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado (caimanjosh)
    caimanjosh: This book clearly is somewhat different - there's no sea journeying involved - yet the themes of enduring terrible suffering and overcoming incredible hardships to effect a rescue of one's comrades are the same. Both are the most inspiring stories about the human spirit that I've ever read.… (more)
  3. 10
    The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition by Caroline Alexander (chrisharpe)
  4. 00
    Trial by Ice: The True Story of Murder and Survival on the 1871 Polaris Expedition by Richard Parry (Pondlife)
    Pondlife: Endurance shows the positive effects of a great leader; trial by ice shows the negative effects of weak leadership.
  5. 00
    Shackleton's Boat Journey by Frank Worsley (chrisharpe)
    chrisharpe: An account of the same journey by Endurance's Captain Worsley.
  6. 00
    South: The Endurance Expedition by Ernest Shackleton (chrisharpe)
  7. 00
    Men Against the Sea by Charles Nordhoff (WildMaggie)
  8. 01
    The Odyssey by Homer (BookWallah)
    BookWallah: Odysseus & Shackleton both had travails getting home from their epic voyages. Differences in their stories: The former’s took 17 years, lost all his men, & was told as epic poetry. The latter’s took 16 months, saved all his men, & is told as gripping biography.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
4* for the book & 3* for this audiobook edition. Simon Prebble does a professional narration but I find his voice soporific and each time I started listening to this it required a concerted effort to concentrate before the story took hold. ( )
  leslie.98 | Sep 23, 2018 |
In Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing tells the story of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition's experience from 5 December 1914 through May of 1916 based on the diaries of the Endurance's crew, interviews with those still alive when Lansing researched his book in the 1950s, and scientific and topographical data that was discovered only after the expedition. While most accounts of the Endurance focus on her captain, Sir Ernest Shackleton (and Lansing spends an appropriate amount of time focusing on Shackleton), Lansing's great skill is to portray the other 27 men as distinct individuals. Additionally, though Lansing tells a factual story backed up by meticulous research, he also knows how to deploy his considerable literary talents so that the reader can better appreciate these men's experiences. Simply listing a temperature and wind speed would not do; Lansing describes how the wind cuts the skin and causes icicles to form in men's beards and ensures that the reader can empathize with these men's constant exhaustion. Though written in 1959 and failing to find a large audience in its own time, Endurance has enjoyed great success over the last thirty years. Even those who know what happens will find Lansing's prose both informative and suspenseful. Nathaniel Philbrick's introduction is particularly informative for the history of the book itself. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Jun 30, 2018 |
On one extreme, you're on a tropical beach. The breeze is soft and cooling. A well-chilled pitcher of your favorite beverage is within arms length. Soft lilting melodies can be heard in the background. Life is good. Life is easy. Now, at the exact midpoint, there is Navy Seals boot camp. And at the very opposite extreme, there is what takes place in this book. Any questions? ( )
1 vote larryerick | Apr 26, 2018 |
Excerpts from my original GR review (Nov 2012):
- The word "miraculous" gets tossed about a little more than it should, but in the long, frozen saga of the Endurance of 1914-16, the ultimate salvation is hard to describe otherwise. The ship photographer saved for posterity the shots of the strong wooden vessel firmly encased in pack ice in August 1915, and then in gradual stages of wastage as the frozen sea crushes it to splinters in the ensuing weeks. The daily sight, and groaning sound, of their ship's suffocation had to be demoralizing, and yet they rallied, remained organized under the resolute leadership of Shackleton, and somehow pressed on. A phenomenal tale straight through.
- The Endurance episode has been the subject of many books, including one by Sir Shackleton himself and others by his able crew members. This 1959 study is widely viewed as the best, owing to thorough research and access to diaries. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Apr 20, 2018 |
”The order to abandon ship was given at 5 PM. For most of the men, however, no order was needed because by then everybody knew that the ship was done and that it was time to give up trying to save her. There was no show of fear or even apprehension. They had fought unceasingly for three days and they had lost. They accepted their defeat almost apathetically. They were simply too tired to care….The ship was being crushed. Not all at once, but slowly, a little at a time. The pressure of ten million tons of ice was driving in against her sides. And dying as she was, she cried in agony.”

And then, oddly enough, the real adventure began. Because these explorers, who were meant to cross the Antarctic continent overland from west to east, found that that goal was not going to happen because their voyage was doomed almost before it began.
I’ve read several books that deal with explorations into the coldest places on earth and it always amazes me how the men on these expeditions survive unlikely and brutal conditions. And I always ask myself the same question: How in the world is it possible to have so much courage, to go on when you are to the point of exhaustion, when you haven’t had any water to drink in way too long, when your hands and feet are probably suffering from frostbite? How do you just push yourself to go on? I can’t say this book answered this question but it was a stark reminder that there are people in this world who have demonstrated this uncanny ability. And the men on Shackleton’s expedition were among those men.

Using first-hand accounts in the diaries of the men on the expedition, Alfred Lansing has written a masterwork that details the horrendous conditions and the value of working together to accomplish a common goal. I don’t really know how not one person suffered from pneumonia or bronchitis as many of them were submerged in the arctic seas with little chance of drying out. Everything was cold and wet including the sleeping bags. But somehow these men survived, defying the odds.

”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.”

Indeed. ( )
1 vote brenzi | Apr 5, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alfred Lansingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Philbrick, NathanielIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steinel, WilliamCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The order to abandon ship was given at 5 P.M.
The time for hesitation was past, and Shackleton swung himself over the side. Working furiously, he began to cut steps in the face of the cliff, descending slowly, a foot at a time. A bitter chill had come into the air, and the sun was nearly down. Gradually they were getting lower, but it was maddeningly slow progress. After thirty minutes, the ice-hard surface of the snow grew softer, indicating that the grade was not quite so steep. Shackleton stopped short. He seemed to realize all at once the futility of what he was doing. At the rate they were going it would take hours to make the descent. Furthermore, it was probably too late to turn back. He hacked out a small platform with the adz, then called to the others to come down. There was no need to explain the situation. Speaking rapidly, Shackleton said simply that they faced a clear-cut choice: If they stayed where they were, they would freeze-in an hour, maybe two, maybe more. They had to get lower-and with all possible haste. So he suggested they slide. Worsley and Crean were stunned-especially for such an insane solution to be coming from Shackleton. But he wasn’t joking…he wasn’t even smiling. He meant it-and they knew it. But what if they hit a rock, Crean wanted to know. Could they stay where they were, Shackleton replied, his voice rising. The slope, Worsley argued. What if it didn’t level off? What if there were another precipice? Shackleton’s patience was going. Again he demanded-could they stay where they were? Obviously they could not, and Worsley and Crean reluctantly were forced to admit it. Nor was there really any other way of getting down. And so the decision was made. Shackleton said they would slide as a unit, holding onto one another. They quickly sat down and untied the rope which held them together. Each of them coiled up his share to form a mat. Worsley locked his legs around Shackleton’s waist and put his arms around Shackleton’s neck. Crean did the same with Worsley. They looked like three tobogganers without a toboggan. Altogether it took a little more than a minute, and Shackleton did not permit any time for reflection. When they were ready, he kicked off. In the next instant their hearts stopped beating. They seemed to hang poised for a split second, then suddenly the wind was shrieking in their ears, and a white blur of snow tore past. Down…down…they screamed – not in terror necessarily, but simply because they couldn’t help it. It was squeezed out of them by the rapidly mounting pressure in their ears and against their chests. Faster and faster – down … down …down! Then they shot forward onto the level, and their speed began to slacken. A moment later they came to an abrupt halt in a snowbank. The three men picked themselves up. They were breathless and their hearts were beating wildly. But they found themselves laughing uncontrollably. What had been a terrifying prospect possibly a hundred seconds before had turned into a breath-taking triumph.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 078670621X, Paperback)

In the summer of 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set off aboard the Endurance bound for the South Atlantic. The goal of his expedition was to cross the Antarctic overland, but more than a year later, and still half a continent away from the intended base, the Endurance was trapped in ice and eventually was crushed. For five months Shackleton and his crew survived on drifting ice packs in one of the most savage regions of the world before they were finally able to set sail again in one of the ship's lifeboats. Alfred Lansing's Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage is a white-knuckle account of this astounding odyssey.

Through the diaries of team members and interviews with survivors, Lansing reconstructs the months of terror and hardship the Endurance crew suffered. In October of 1915, 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." How Shackleton did indeed get them out without the loss of a single life is at the heart of Lansing's magnificent true-life adventure tale.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:15 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

The astonishing saga of polar explorer Ernest Schackleton's survival for over a year on the ice-bound Antarctic seas, as "Time" magazine put it, "defined heroism". Alfred Lansing's scrupulously researched and brilliantly narrated book--with over 200,000 copies sold--has long been acknowledged as the definitive account of the "Endurance's" fateful trip.… (more)

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