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The Endurance [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Caroline Alexander , Michael Tezla , Martin Ruben
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: 21.20
Price: 17.96 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 May 2000
In August 1914, days before the outbreak of the First World War, the 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. Weaving a treacherous path through the freezing Weddell Sea, they had come within eighty-five miles of their destination when their ship, Endurance, was trapped fast in the ice pack. Soon the ship was crushed like matchwood, leaving the crew stranded on the floes. Their ordeal would last for twenty months, and they would make two near-fatal attempts to escape by open boat before their final rescue.

Drawing upon previously unavailable sources, Caroline Alexander gives us a riveting account of Shackleton's expedition--one of history's greatest epics of survival. And she presents the astonishing work of Frank Hurley, the Australian photographer whose visual record of the adventure has never before been published comprehensively. Together, text and image re-create the terrible beauty of Antarctica, the awful destruction of the ship, and the crew's heroic daily struggle to stay alive, a miracle achieved largely through Shackleton's inspiring leadership.

The survival of Hurley's remarkable images is scarcely less miraculous: The original glass plate negatives, from which most of the book's illustrations are superbly reproduced, were stored in hermetically sealed cannisters that survived months on the ice floes, a week in an open boat on the polar seas, and several more months buried in the snows of a rocky outcrop called Elephant Island. Finally Hurley was forced to abandon his professional equipment; he captured some of the most unforgettable images of the struggle with a pocket camera and three rolls of Kodak film.

Published in conjunction with the American Museum of Natural History's landmark exhibition on Shackleton's journey, The Endurance thrillingly recounts one of the last great adventures in the Heroic Age of exploration--perhaps the greatest of them all.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Highbridge Company; Abridged edition (25 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565114183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565114180
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 14.4 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,283,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Melding superb research and the extraordinary expedition photography of Frank Hurley, The Endurance by Caroline Alexander is a stunning work of history, adventure, and art which chronicles "one of the greatest epics of survival in the annals of exploration." Setting sail as World War I broke out in Europe, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, led by renowned polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, hoped to become the first to cross the Antarctic continent. But their ship, Endurance, was trapped in the drifting pack ice, eventually to splinter, leaving the expedition stranded on floes--a situation that seemed "not merely desperate but impossible."

Most skillfully Alexander constructs the expedition's character through its personalities--the cast of veteran explorers, scientists, and crew--with aid from many previously unavailable journals and documents. We learn, for instance, that carpenter and shipwright Henry McNish, or "Chippy," was "neither sweet-tempered nor tolerant," and that Mrs. Chippy, his cat, was "full of character." Such firsthand descriptions, paired with 170 of Frank Hurley's intimate photographs, which are comprehensively assembled here for the first time, penetrate the hulls of the Endurance and these tough men. The account successfully reveals the seldom-seen domestic world of expedition life--the singsongs, feasts, lectures, camaraderie--so that when the hardships set in, we know these people beyond the stereotypical guise of mere explorers and long for their safety.

Alexander reveals Shackleton as an inspiring optimist, "a leader who put his men first." Throughout the gruelling ordeal, Shackleton and his men show what endurance and greatness are all about. The Endurance is a most intimate portrait of an expedition and of survival. Readers will possess a New-found respect for these daring souls, know better their unthinkable toil and half-forgotten realm of glory. --Byron Ricks, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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The captain of the ship, Frank Worsley, would remember the day vividly ever afterward. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Although this book adds nothing new to an already well-documented heroic venture, as an introducion to those just now being bitten by the Shackleton bug, it will serve its purpose quite well. Frank Hurley's photographs alone make the book a valuable addition to any afficianado's collection on the subject. They are awe-inspiring, and in turn both majestic and intimate in their portrayal of the fate of the Endurance and her crew. This book is released in conjunction with the exhibition to be mounted at the Museum of Natural History next spring; I only wish that some additional material, such as journal pages and related artifacts had been included to give the book a little more "warmth" since the subject matter is so undeniably "chilly"!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book! 10 Feb 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I still can't believe this was so cheap! I am fascinated by this expedition and the way Shackleton kept his crew motivated and psychologically healthy through an astonishingly harrowing time of privation and doubt. See the Kenneth Branagh film, watch South, read the diaries and the commentaries but please look at Frank Hurley's poignant and technically perfect photographs which have been printed so beautifully in this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great story but... 2 April 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This refers to the audio CD version of this story. This is one of the most wonderful tales of adventure and hardship amongst many during the Heroic Age of Antartctic exploration and is well told on this absorbing CD set. However, I was disappointed that there was an American narrator, and that it seemed that one other support narrator tried to do voices from diary entries for Englishmen, Scotsmen, Irishmen and Antipodeans. Mostly not very well. I was disappointed by the Scott bashing - both Scott and Shackleton had flaws but were also heroes of the age - you can appreciate both without knocking one or the other. I was also surprised by the reference by the narrator to the party raising a glass and saying God Save The Queen, in 1914 !! What Queen was that then? On a positive note the story does build steadily towards the party finding safety on Elephant Island, and then the James Caird journey and finally the trek over South Georgia and the eventual rescue. A wonderful way to negate boredom in a long car journey and a CD to listen to over and over.
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