Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage Paperback – 26 Feb 1999
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|Paperback, 26 Feb 1999||
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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.
thoroughly attention-grabbing (THE TIMES) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very well written from a compilation of diary and interviews.Even though you may know the ending the suspense Is kept up throughout.Published 24 days ago by hazel
What an incredible adventure. "Endurance" tells the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton's attempts to cross the Antarctic overland with his 27 man crew. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Natalie Vellacott
Ample illustrations and a solid, readable storyline devoid of excruciating detail but in every way a complete history.Published 3 months ago by Fernan G Montero
The story of Shackleton and his men on this voyage is absolutely incredible, and the manner in which Lancing portrays the events is an extraordinary feat. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Spaglies