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Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage (original 1959; edition 1999)

by Alfred Lansing

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2,515732,408 (4.35)88
Member:crmass
Title:Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
Authors:Alfred Lansing
Info:Tyndale House (1999), Paperback, 247 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Paperback, Antarctica, Travel

Work details

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing (1959)

  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: A Novel 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 69 (next | show all)
I really can't offer up a firm line between what captivated me most in Lansing's Endurance, whether it was the bravery and will to survive of the Endurance crew or Lansing's style. Both culminated in a result that is inspiring and enjoyable.

[Further review to come.] ( )
  lamotamant | Jun 23, 2016 |
There is something so endlessly fascinating about this horrible journey of Shackleton and his crew to cross the Antarctic which began in 1914. How can they endure such terrible conditions and yet often seem to relish the experience? I had read Caroline Alexander's book, which covers the same territory, not long ago, but I loved Lansing's acceptably melodramatic style. My aging memory and a different viewpoint on the story make it seem new again. ( )
  gbelik | Jun 17, 2016 |
This is a gripping account of the conditions encountered by the men of Ernest Shackleton's expedition to the Antarctic. The original intent of the expedition was to send a party to cross the continent on foot, but it ended up becoming a grim trek back to civilization after the Endurance was beset in ice and crushed by the movement of the pack. The men and their dogs (and later, just the men) endured bone-chilling cold, were buffeted by ferocious gales and coated in water that froze them to the core, and had to contend with frostbite, low food supplies and potentially low morale. But they all survived the expedition.

Lansing consulted with surviving members of the expedition and their families to write this book, which was originally published in 1959. The writing is not ornate but is packed with details and tidbits of context that show just how dangerous the men's trip was. In particular, the part where Shackleton and five other men leave most of the crew behind on Elephant Island so that they can fetch help from South Georgia Island is hair-raising. The Sailing Directions for that part of the world document conditions that would imperil the sturdiest heavy icebreaker, and yet the six men managed to make the trip in a 22-foot open boat. It is awesome in the original sense of the word.

I did find it difficult to read the part where they had to kill the dogs so that they had more food for themselves, and any parts that talked about killing the seals and penguins. I know all of these were necessary if the men were to survive, but that didn't make it easier to read about. (Note to self: cross "polar explorer" off list of career choices.)

I would recommend this to anyone interested in the story of the expedition. It should be supplemented with a book containing the photographs taken by the expedition photographer. Some of these are included in the book, and the ones of the Endurance in particular show just how uncompromising the environment is in that part of the world. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jun 11, 2016 |
Read because it's one of my mother's very favorite books, and the one she recommends to her library patrons most frequently. She's traveling right now, so it's not convenient to call and ask - but I do wonder: do the editions that she's most familiar with have the truly incredible photos by Frank Hurley, photographer for the expedition? The edition I read is almost 'coffee-table' size. bright glossy paper, shows the photos brilliantly, and makes the book at least a full star more interesting (to me) than plain text would have done.

I see the default description for this book uses the words 'new edition... illustrated....' I advise you to be careful what you buy or order from your library system.

Otoh, if you like adventure and suspense (Clive Cussler fans, I'm looking at you), or history, or Jules Verne, or Professor Challenger, you might not need the pictures. Even I (not a fan of Cussler), after a bit of a struggle to get into the book (especially because it's too big to hold comfortably in my favorite reading positions) found myself immersed, turning pages, staying up too late at night to finish. If it weren't for the pictures, I'd have thought the drama exaggerated. What a time to live in, for men as bold and resourceful as these. What a paean to teamwork, and to hard work.

My only complaint is the abrupt ending. I still have questions... I guess I'll have to go to Wikipedia. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
No doubt about it: the saga of Shackleton and his crew is an amazing against-all-odds story of ingenuity, gritty determination, and visceral will to live. I really enjoyed Lansing's account. The author's careful research and attention to detail were palpable on every page. He brought to vivid life the personalities of the crew members. The book is a testament to a level of all-out man-against-nature drive and determination which, thanks to the bounties of modern life and technology, humans are arguably unlikely ever to encounter or display again. Anyone with a curiosity or doubt about what people are truly capable of doing and achieving should read this book. ( )
  EpicTale | Apr 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alfred Lansingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Philbrick, NathanielIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steinel, WilliamCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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