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South: The Endurance Expedition [Paperback]

Ernest Shackleton
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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South: The Endurance Expedition (Penguin Classics) South: The Endurance Expedition (Penguin Classics) 4.5 out of 5 stars (90)
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Book Description

25 Nov 1999
The epic first hand account of the Endurance expedition. As the first world war broke out in Europe, Shackleton's expedition to the South Pole became trapped by ice. Their ship, the Endurance, was crushed and the men were forced to survive in and escape from one of the world's most hostile environment. Traversing glaciers, scaling cliffs and crossing treacherous seas in open boats, all the time threatened by brutal cold and hunger, the men, through their own strength and Shackleton's leadership, all made it to safety. This story makes the efforts of latterday adventurers look pale in comparison.

Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; TV Tie in Ed edition (25 Nov 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140288864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140288865
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Sir Ernest Shackleton is the archetypal British hero; a legendary figure in the history of polar exploration.

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Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
89 of 89 people found the following review helpful
South is Ernest Shackleton's much praised report from his second expedition to the South Pole. The plan was to sail to the Weddell sea and march across the land mass of Antartica via the pole to the opposite side where another ship would collect the men and bring them home.
Naturally nothing went right. Shackleton's ship, the Endurance, was trapped in pack ice which sealed her in and eventually crushed her. Abandoning the ship, and unable to reach the continental land mass itself, Shackleton led his men from ice floe to ice floe, setting up camps and abandoning them when the floes broke in two (as they frequently did) eventually ending up on a tiny, unexplored island with only three ships boats to provide shelter and living off the scarce resources of an inhospitible land.
In simply the bravest move I have ever heard about, Shackleton decided that to reach help he had to sail across the southern Atlantic in a tiny open rowing boat to the island of South Georgia - over three hundred miles away. Once there and safely landed he then had to march across the desolate island to reach the whaling communities on the far side - something that had been thought of as impossible.
South made Shackleton's name as an explorer - and you can see why. The story is staggering - even more impressive when you consider that only one of Shacklton's party perished in their two year stay on the ice.
If I have any criticisms it is that lack of any review or explanation of the book by an editor. Penguin Classics, their reprinting of the works of the Classical writers, are all prefaced by an editor who provides much of the back story and explanations of the times in which the books were written.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Account 31 July 2003
Not being a writer myself, I feel that my simple use of words will struggle to give this book justice. It is a frank, first person account of an expedition that bordered on disaster, of heroic endurance, and leadership that you seldom hear of.
The book is similar to Shackleton's first writing, 'The Heart of the Antarctic' in that it is a report and it's style is very matter of fact. This limits the early and later chapters, because they chronicle and summarise the administrative parts of the expedition. Although it is important to understand the organisation, logistics and motives for Shackleton and his comrades, it does not provide the thrills that this book is famous for.
When the thrills come they hit you hard, and Shackleton's matter of fact style then begins to help you become absorbed in the way these men faced insurmountable odds, and continued bravely, knowing that failure would mean certain death. I found myself pausing during reading, just to sit and think about how terrible and helpless their situation became. It was at the most dire occasions that Shackleton's awe inspiring leadership and self belief showed most. I felt there was much to learn from his approach: 'A man must shape himself to a new mark directly the old one goes to ground' Wise words from an exceptional man.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Quite simply awesome. And I don't use the word lightly, considering it is very much an overused word. Ernest Shackleton was a hero not only because of what he endured, but because of how he led. As opposed to Robert Scott who made a series of errors (as well as experiencing some genuine bad luck with inclement weather) culminating in disaster in 1912, Shackleton's primary concern above all aspects of his mission were the men under his command. In 1908 - on his earlier 'farthest south' expedition, he turned himself and his men around when within reach of the elusive Pole. He had realised that due to depleted rations and muscles, in the face of extremely adverse weather, if they attained their stated aim of the Pole, they would not return alive. As it was, he had to be hauled on a sledge for the last slog by his two exhausted team-mates, as he was too weakened to carry on unaided...

This book tells the almost incredible tale of how his 1914 expedition failed early in its stated aims, but ultimately triumphed against a series of truly fearsome circumstances in the most inhospitable place on earth. Survival on the ice after the crushing destruction of their ship the Endurance, followed by the break-up of the ice and the harrowing escape over the ice floes into the open waters on board the Endurance's 3 lifeboats until the sanctuary of the bleak Elephant Island. Here is where the story begins anew as 'Uncle' Shackleton and 5 men depart for help leaving behind the remaining expedition team on the remote barren island with a protective shelter of 2 upturned lifeboats and a veneer of sealskins, and a diet consisting of pemmican hoosh, ship biscuit, seal blubber and seal meat when that could be hunted...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring. 31 Aug 2007
Shackletons first hand account of his doomed transatlantic expedition is undoubtably a story of the utmost fortitude and endurance, from Shackletons crew as well as himself.

True he fails to acknowledge that it was largely his own shortcomings that got his team into such a mess in the first place, but it is hardly fair to expect that from him. What comes across loud and clear is the undoubted and total loyalty that he inspired in others.

The book is a very fluent read, as Shackleton's always are. It certainly gives one a real feel for the privations they suffered. Just a pity that he sullied his copybook by his mean-spirited decision to deny the polar exploration medal to three of his crew. Chippy McNish played as big a part as anyone in the escape and he should have been done justice.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
It is more than a crew's experience of a woeful failed 1914-17 trans-polar Antarctica expedition but, via Shackleton's own words, a book that shows failure turned on its head when... Read more
Published 12 months ago by M. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing tale of courage and survival
This book is one of the most fascinating and inspiring tales of human endeavour and resilience I have ever read. Read more
Published on 26 Jan 2012 by magicaltrevor
4.0 out of 5 stars SOUTH
Published on 18 Dec 2011 by CATMAN
5.0 out of 5 stars shackleton
Quite simply this is a great book. Ernest Shackleton is a forgotten British hero, not because of what he discovered, travelled to or claimed for the crown, but of what he brought... Read more
Published on 28 July 2011 by Jim H
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story of determination and courage
The book starts slowly as Shackleton sets the scene, however it soon turns into an account of real leadership in the face of adversity. Read more
Published on 18 May 2011 by Gerald
5.0 out of 5 stars South: The Endurance Expedition by Ernest Shackleton
Probably the BEST book I have ever read. The enormity of the man;on his shoulders, do those who come after, stand. I am not surprised that only the word, "South.. Read more
Published on 18 Oct 2010 by Reading Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I`ve ever read!
This book is a magnificent example of human spirit. The camaraderie, hope, courage, integrity, and determination shown by the Endurance`s crew, in the face of seemingly... Read more
Published on 15 Aug 2010 by andy e t
5.0 out of 5 stars The Boss
Just for clarity and historical account: South: The Endurance Expedition: The "Endurance" Expedition, was not written by Shack.
Published on 15 Oct 2007 by The Boss
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible fortitude of these men
As a seafarer I can only imagine the suffering of the poor guys in that small boat to Elephant Island. Read more
Published on 20 Oct 2001
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