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Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage Paperback – 26 Feb 1999

4.8 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers Inc; 2 edition (26 Feb. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078670621X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786706211
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.7 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 763,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

You can't really fail with a book about the Endurance. Although Ernest Shackleton's attempt to make the first Trans-Antarctic crossing barely made it out of base camp, his expedition has gone into the history books as one of the great epics of polar travel. Endurance left England in August 1914 and reached the pack-ice off Antarctica in January the following year. It sank in November, crushed by the weight of the ice, leaving Shackleton and his 27 men stranded in one of the most desolate areas of the world with no hope of rescue. Undaunted, Shackleton led his team to the edge of the ice, dragging three open life-boats that had been salvaged from the Endurance every step of the way. They then sailed to Elephant Island, a remote uninhabited outcrop of rock, where they lived off penguins and seagull. By April 1916, Shackleton realised there was no chance of them being spotted by a passing ship and he and five men set sail in the open-decked 20-foot boat, the James Caird, across 650 miles of the stormiest seas of the southern oceans for South Georgia. After narrowly surviving being shipwrecked on the reefs surrounding the western coast of South Georgia, Shackleton then proceeded to make the first-ever crossing of the mountainous island before reaching the sanctuary of the whaling station at Stromness. And it was Shackleton, in person, who led the rescue mission to Elephant Island to pick up the rest of his men. Miraculously, all 28 men survived.

Alfred Lansing's book, first published in 1957, tells it as it was. He draws heavily on the diaries and other first-person memoirs of those involved, and he writes with both style and pace. As such it is the classic tale of derring-do. What Lansing misses, though, is the social context. He provides little sense of history; in August 1914, when the Endurance left England, World War One was starting. By the time he returned home two years later, thousands of young men of his generation were lying dead on the battlefields of the Somme. The contrast is almost unbearable but Lansing makes nothing of it. Similarly he does not explain how someone like Scott, whose South Pole expedition several years earlier had been an unmitigated disaster of incompetence and bad planning, should go down in British history as one of our all-time heroes, while Shackleton, whose exploits were indeed truly heroic, has lived for so long in Scott's shadow. --John Crace --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

thoroughly attention-grabbing (THE TIMES) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Hardcover
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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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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