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Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic [Hardcover]

Alfred Lansing
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Dec 2001
'A thrilling reading experience! One of the greatest adventure stories of our times' - New York Times Book Review. In 1914 Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 men, sailed for the South Atlantic on the 'Endurance' with the object of crossing the Antarctic over land. In October 1915, still half a continent away from their intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in ice. For five months Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the world's most savage regions. This gripping book based on firsthand accounts of crew members, describes how the men survived, living together in camps on the ice for 17 months, how they were attacked by sea leopards, had to kill their beloved dogs whom they could no longer feed, and suffered disease with no medicines (an operation to amputate the foot of one member of the crew was carried out on the ice). Their extraordinary indefatigability and their lasting civility towards one another in the most adverse conditions shines through.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; New edition edition (31 Dec 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 029782919X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297829195
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 17.5 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 443,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

When Alfred Lansing's Endurance was first published in 1959, few people in this country--or anywhere else for that matter--had heard of Shackleton or the Imperial Transantarctic Expedition of 1914. Britain's polar history had been rewritten with Shackleton airbrushed out and Captain Scott taking centre stage as the archetypal English hero who died on the Great Barrier on his long haul back from the South Pole.

If Scott's deification was almost instantaneous, Shackleton's descent into obscurity was more of a slow fade than a sudden death. He achieved a certain amount of acclaim when South, his own account of the Expedition, was published, but his legend seemed to die with him when he suffered a fatal heart attack on another trip south in 1922. His memory deserved much better. Not only was he a far better explorer than Scott, both in terms of his technical and man management capabilities, but the story of the Transantarctic expedition read like an epic out of a Boys Own annual. With his boat crushed, he led his men across the pack-ice, sailed them in open boats to Elephant Island. Once he realised there was no chance of rescue, he and four crew mates sailed a further 600 miles across the southern ocean to South Georgia where they were shipwrecked. The five men then made the first crossing of the island to reach the whaling station at Stromness. Three attempts and three and a half months later, Shackleton returned to Elephant Island to pick up the remaining men. Not a single member of either party was lost.

So we have Lansing to largely thank for Shackleton's rehabilitation. But herein lies the problem. Shackleton's story has been now been so well told both in books--especially Roland Huntford's definitive biography, and in film and TV, that even though Lansing's thrilling account, making liberal use of the diaries of several expedition members, was the first to be published it now feels all terribly familiar and adds nothing to what we already know. Even Frank Hurley's exquisite photographs which illustrate the book now engender a slight feeling of déjà vu--not least because they have already been better reproduced in a single volume published by Bloomsbury. But Lansing deserves his day in the snow and no polar library would be complete without this book. And if, by any chance, you've never previously read a word about Shackleton, this is as good a place as any to start. --John Crace


In the summer of 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set off aboard the Endur ance bound for the South Atlantic. The goal of his expedition was to cross t he Antarctic overland, but more than a year later, and still half a continent aw ay from the intended base, the Endurance was trapped in ice and eventuall y 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 ab le to set sail again in one of the ship's lifeboats. Alfred Lansing's Enduran ce: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage is a white-knuckle account of this astoun ding odyssey.

Through the diaries of team members and interviews with survivo rs, 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 i ts simplicity. If they were to get out--they had to get themselves out." Ho w 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. -- Amazon. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Endurance" from a 14 year old 30 Aug 2003
By A Customer
It seemed right that you should get a younger persons point of view on the book. So here it is.
Every second of this book was breath-taking and the remarkable characters never stopped amazing me with their never ceasing courage and determination to get home. Set during the first World War the crew of the Endurance are forgotton as their ship sinks leaving them stranded on the vast Antarctic ice. For two years the men crossed the ice, living on seals, penguins and dogs. Through vivid diary extracts and accounts you see the adventure through the eyes of the men who struggled through it; you realise how each mans different personalities and qualities succeeded in get the others around him home. The descriptions of the ice and atmosphere of the surrounding countries are amazing and the pictures are breath-taking.
As you read the book you realise Alfred Lansing excellent skill as a writer of accurate events and never loose interest in the risks taken by the crew of the Endurance as they cross ice, the wilest sea in the world and a mountain climbed never before, driven by pure determination and strength of mind.
This book is amazing. Alfred Lansing had true talent.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the ultimate survival story 12 April 2006
If this weren't a true story you would consider it too far fetched. The determination to survive in the face of extreme hardship is mindblowing. Shackleton's leadership skills are unparalleled and could be applied to many other areas of life. One of the best books I have ever read - thoroughly recommended.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If I didn't know it was true... 2 Dec 2003
This account of Shackleton's famous expedition reads like a thriller novel. It may lack some technical detail that a student of Antarctica might desire, but it gives full vent to the predicament the party found themselves in, and the inspirational fortitude and courage of their leader. One advantage of this book is that the author had access to surviving expedition members when researching the subject, and the book benefits from these first hand accounts of the persoanlities involved as well as the bleak details of their situation.
As the story unfolds, each step required to get nearer rescue becomes more 'impossible'. Threat of starvation, wintering on ice, breaking ice floes, an incredible boat journey, amputation, crossing impenetrable mountains (the first to do so)---it is all in here. Each phase is a powerful story in itself. It is one of the great stories of the 20th century---up there with the Apollo 13 crew---but these men had no-one except themselves and their determination to get themselves home safely. If you know little or nothing about Shackleton's adventure this is, I think, the best book to introduce the subject. It is the pinnacle of the 'heroic age' adventures, and Alfred Lansing captures the mood beautifully.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
UK EDITION: Lansing does a great job of conveying life on the ice with Shacklton's team and allows us to meet the men involved. I found myself constantly refering to the nominal role at the front of the book to check who did what. I would have liked even more background on the personalities, if only to stop me briefly hating those whose courage or determination fialed to match the incredible standards set by the others. The author, I'm sure plays down subjects which would normally be life changing- frostbite,hypothermia and malnutrition to name a few. Set in an environment most of us would find hard to imagine and over a priod difficult to comprehend. A fitting way to introduce Shacklton's story in a non academic style but I would love to have seen photo's (especially of the main characters), detailed maps, manifests and technical data relating to the voyage. Shackleton joins the likes of Scott,Mawson and Fiennes in making me feel inspired but insignificant at the same time, every schoolboy should be told this story.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic insight into Shackleton's epic voyage 10 Jan 2001
Entrapped in the Ice of the Weddell sea over an Antarctic winter, it is the story of how the crew survived; which they managed, despite the overwhelming odds against them. Shows brilliantly man's ability to endure against all hardships imaginable and his ability to succeed against impossible odds. The pictures alone, saved by the crew during the sinking of their ship, make this book worth purchasing. Even today with modern equipment and technology the chances of a voyage like this being sucessful are exceedingly slim. The South Georgian interior was not explored until some 40-50 years after Shackleton's journey.
An epic adventure.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio Cassette
This is such a good piece of work, both the original writing and Tim Piggot-Smith's expert reading combine to make it a 3D-audio-smellovision experience. Forget all the smoothie image-men with their 'cool' talk and their tight T-shirts revealing bulging muscles. This is a real adventure story of the most incredible fortitude and persistence in the face of unbelievable adversity. Although it was a team effort it was surely Shackleton's iron will, compassion, judgement and man-management skills that brought his entire party back alive after the Endurance was crushed by the ice. Dragging the ship's boats over the pack ice for many miles, fighting the crushing floes once the boats were launched, repeatedly revising plans as the boats were blown by gales and driven by currents until they finally made landfall on the desolate Elephant Island. But that was only half of the story. Taking one of the boats, Shackleton and a small crew left the rest of the party on the island (living under the other two boats and eating penguins and seals) and brought rescue by successfully crossing the south Atlantic to South Georgia, landing on the 'wrong' side due to the conditions, then crossing the devastatingly difficult mountains on foot to seek help from the Norwegians at the whaling station, arriving like scarecrows on the doorstep of the station manager. The whole party were then rescued after several attempts. Shackleton's achievement is best summed up by the reaction of the experienced old Norwegian whaling skippers who queued up to shake the hand of the man who had achieved what all had believed to be impossible ---- and they above all knew what they were talking about.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars So much more than just survival
An amazing piece of history. Very well written with so many references to all those diaries.
This is not only a great read but an excellent example of how leadership, man... Read more
Published 24 days ago by Richard
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
Everybody should read this book. Shackleton saved his entire crew amid the most extreme conditions imaginable. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Robert plant
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best book I have ever read
Excellent value and quick response. Would buy from them again. Probably the best book I have ever read. The story is one of the best I have ever heard.
Published 1 month ago by Dermot O'Malley
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
A thoroughly enjoyable read. An eye-opener; a life changing book. The author could possibly have shortened the account of the group's floating on the ice floe, but... Read more
Published 2 months ago by P. Perhac
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a gift
I understand this is a very good book but have not read it myself as it was bought as a Christmas gift
Published 3 months ago by Mazda
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best.
If only one book on this fascinating subject, this is it. Once you start in the pack ice you won't want to put it down. I thoroughly recommend this to anyone who reads. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Roger D Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable
I bought this for a friend who loves this kind of book and, although he hasn't read it yet (it was a Christmas gift) he is delighted to have it and looking forward to enjoyable... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mollie Lyons
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally gripping
Started this reluctantly for a book group but was soon gripped. Told in simple, spare prose, it felt all the more vivid for that, and amazingly cinematic - so much so that I felt... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs AG
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible true story
An incredible true story that is really deserving of retelling. The story alone is fantastic but this drama really does it credit with good perfermances from the cast and beautiful... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Bungie
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for the winter
I had a copy of this book which I gave to a friend so ordered a replacement. My order was fulfilled quickly and efficiently. Read more
Published 5 months ago by JL
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