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4.4 out of 5 stars304
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 13 June 2013
if you thought you were a hard man - read this book, THEY were hard men. They never complained - except that -20°F was too warm!! Hard to credit this happened not quite a century ago. Rubbish equipment, rubbish food, no contact with the outside world for months at a time. A walk over South Georgia, over the glaciers at 4000 feet in rotten boots and torn clothing! Barely believable. After reading this you will think twice about complaining about anything ever again!!!

Maps, data and sketches not included in this ebook though - which is a shame.
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on 31 August 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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on 17 January 2011
The book is a contemporary account of the last great polar adventure of the early 20th century. It is an excellent read, particularly in the first two-thirds, when Shackleton is describing, first-hand, the trials and tribulations of the 'Endurance' party. The remainder, about the 'Aurora', which formed the other part of the expedition (laying depots for the intended trans-Antarctic journey, the original purpose), is a more fragmented narrative. The appendices can be safely skipped through, except for an early mention of the effects of whaling on the local populations of various species. As others mention, the lack of maps and illustrations prevents a 5 star rating for the Kindle edition.
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on 23 November 2001
Ernest Shackleton' own account of a disasterous expedition to the antarctic aboard the Endurance. Despite a somewhat dull start, the book launches into excitement once the expedition starts to get into trouble. Then it blossoms into an extremely exciting account of increasing misfortunes which are overcome one by one, as they occur.
It is a tribute to the natural leadership skills of Ernest Shackleton, a man who instictively made the right decisions in every situation and created his own incredible luck.
Despite being stranded on the ice hundreds of miles from any help, he lead his team across the ice and sailed in small boats to the comparitive safety of Elephant Island. He then set out in the miniscule "James Caird" to cross the Southern Ocean to South Georgia in order to get help. Landing on the uninhabited side of the island, he then tranversed the mountainous centre to reach civilisation. He then made a number of attempts to sail back to Elephant Islandand rescue his team. He was eventually successful and rescued them all.
Shackleton has been hailed as the greatest natural leader of all time and this account re-inforces this claim.
An excellent book which is more exciting than a good many fictional stories.
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on 8 January 2004
I have now read this book about 4 times and each time I do I became more 'captured' by it.
The book starts slow and it took me a while to get 'into' it but then it starts to grip you. It is such an amazing story of survival and courage that will never be repeated.
It has a variety of pictures which help set the scene.
Best read one evening in front of a log fire with the wind blowing outside !. Enjoy.
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on 11 September 2014
Review courtesy of www.subtleillumination.com

Shackleton has reached almost cult status as a heroic figure who kept his team together in enormously difficult situations. He conducted three Antarctic expeditions, dying on the third one and being buried there at the request of his wife.

His second expedition, however, was what sealed his reputation, despite failing in the original aim to cross the Antarctic continent. His ship, the Endurance, got caught by ice over the winter, trapped by icebergs for 281 days and drifting 570 miles before eventually being crushed by the millions of tons of pressure placed on it by the ice. The 28 men were forced to camp on icebergs, waking up the middle of the night to find them splitting underneath them, and make their way over hundreds of miles of frozen ocean to the nearest island. There, 22 men were left to wait while the final six took a small boat over 800 more miles to get help. 24 hour darkness, massive blizzards, and rather chilly weather were just some of the obstacles they faced.

Despite all that, all of them survived, and Shackleton’s book is a testament to human endurance in the face of adversity. It practically oozes British stiff upper lip. Sailors ask for their tea to be a little weaker or stronger next time while losing limbs to frostbite; they trade imaginary bottles of champagne to each other while lying in icy sleeping bags. The book can at times feel dry as it proceeds through hundreds of pages of adversity and log entries, but the endurance of the men it talks about is truly astounding.

“Man can sustain life with very scanty means. The trappings of civilization are soon cast aside in the face of stern realities, and given the barest opportunity of winning food and shelter, man can live and even find his laughter ringing true.”
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on 23 February 2012
This is a tale of courage of course but the first part is written in a beautifully descriptive way. The ice floes and natural effects are so well described that you can almost see them and feel the cold - I think that our everyday winter wear must be warmer than the gear worn by the explorers. Sir Edmund was certainly dedicated to his men and animals and just would not give up.
I found the second part of the book (where he went off on another mission) less interesting as the beautiful descriptive phrases were not so abundant. I think that perhaps the script for this came from a different source; but it was still interesting enough to keep me hanging on until the end.
Not too many typos, all in all a pretty fair deal for free
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on 20 June 2013
I read this after visiting Antarctica this winter. It was an ideal book as we followed Shackleton's journey. The bravery and fortitude of these early adventurers leap from the page and the cold and discomfort are tangible. An excellent companion for anyone contemplating making this wonderful journey.
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on 5 November 2011
I downloaded this randomly for free and I have to say it is the best free Kindle download I have chosen yet. I remain glad I downloaded it and would actually pay full price to read a book like this.

It's so detailed and yet covers the sweeping adventure of Shackleton and his team exploring the Antarctic in the early twentieth century. It's in diary format for the most part, with gaps filled in here and there. The story of the men involved as well as the landscape itself and the wildlife - it's compelling. I really enjoyed it, although certain parts did upset me a little (mainly the killing of animals parts).

The style is very Keep Calm and Carry On - very English gentleman on an adventure. There's no hysteria, everyone just seems to accept the situation and just get through it as best they can, keep going, always stoic and joking through some of what must be the harshest conditions I have ever heard of humans inhabiting. This is a story of survival if nothing else.

I watched a documentary about Prince Harry and some Iraq veterans going to Antarctica the night before I started reading this book, by chance, and the whole way through the book I couldn't help but constantly make comparisons of their conditions with the modern-day. They covered a vast, frozen terrain and icy waters wearing woollen jumpers and normal shoes with nails in the soles, never changing their clothes, wearing them until they literally fell apart. They had nothing to protect them from the elements towards the end. The food (and lack thereof) is mentioned often, and Shackleton comments that humans can fortunately survive on any kind of diet. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to, though, especially when they started digging up fish bones to re-boil up.

A map would have been fantastic but otherwise I don't think this account could be improved upon. A fantastic read that has stayed with me. Recommended for anyone. Animal lovers should be warned about the middle section, though.
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on 22 June 2013
From the man himself, heroic yet modest. Tells the story straight. And the story is worth telling. A good read
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