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on 30 August 2003
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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on 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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on 29 November 2001
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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on 2 December 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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on 3 June 2000
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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on 10 January 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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This is an excellent book. It is the true story of Ernest Shackleton's journey to cross the Antarctic overland, but you probably knew that already!!

I can't think of a better book on the subject. Crammed with photos taken by Frank Hurley, 'Endurance' is a wonderfully researched account of this almost unbelievable story. Full credit must go to the writer of this account Alfred Lansing. He truly does a fantastic job and keeps the story pushing along at a terrific pace.
At times, it seems a work of fiction, such are the many amazing happenings on this trip of a lifetime. Once again, as in 'The Heart of the Antarctic', Shackleton shows that above all else the safety of his men was paramount.

Don't think about getting this book, just go for it! You won't regret it.
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This book is a phenomenal read from cover to cover. The author keeps the prose pacy and intense it is an exhausting book to read. He really communicates the massive feat of human endurance and the sheer power of Ernest Shackleton as a leader and personality. At last an accessable book championing the cause of Britain's greatest polar explorer (the title often going to Scott. The expression 'Great Scott' should be changed for 'Great Shack' sadly, like many uncompromising men, Shackelton did not really fit into acceptable Edwardian society as readily as Scott but his exploits speak for themselves. The only critisism of the book is that the author doesn't spend much time on developing the characters except Shackleton, and that is only through his actions. Nor does he put it into social context, this is probably because when the book was written in the '50's the expliots of the crew of the Endurance was still fresh in the public conciousness. I recommend that one reads Roland Huntsford's 'Shackleton' which elaborates on the whole episode. But for sheer enjoyment this is the volume to read.
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on 23 February 2001
Profoundly well written, vivid report culled from the various diaries and interviews with this team of real adventurers. My only sorrow is that I did not read this sooner and that it lasts only 282 pages. The photos from Frank Hurley are exceptional considering the circumstances and given that they were taken with equipment from the beginning of the century. A must read!
Chester W. Anderson
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on 13 November 2008
Not a book I would probably have chosen to read, but it was selected as the monthly read for our book club by an ex-naval officer and I was delighted he chose it. This was, as many have said before, a truly gripping story and I was thankful that from the start I knew that the team had by and large survived their ordeal, otherwise the suspense mught have got too much at times! They really did seem to be up against impossible odds and surviving those conditions with the equipment available to them was just amazing.

Equally amazing was what the book told you about the people and their incredible leader, Shackleton. They sound like the kind of men you would want on your side in a tight situation and Shackleton's strength in adversity was super-human. They all had to face immense strain over a sustained period of time, but none more so than Shackleton who took his responsibilities terribly seiously. Why his achievements as an antarctic explorer have been so overshadowed by Scott is a mystery to me.

Despite all this, I have docked Lansing one star for his rather abrupt finish to the book. I would have liked to read more about how Shackleton and his men were received back home, what was it like for them to discover what had been happening in the 1st World War while they had been doing battle with the elements, did they all carry on exploring, or was it more than enough for some etc. etc. I think another two or three chapters of Epilogue would have been very appropriate and I felt they were missing.
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