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Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage Paperback – March 19, 1999

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Editorial Reviews Review

In the summer of 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set off aboard the Endurance bound for the South Atlantic. The goal of his expedition was to cross the Antarctic overland, but more than a year later, and still half a continent away from the intended base, the Endurance was trapped in ice and eventually was crushed. For five months Shackleton and his crew survived on drifting ice packs in one of the most savage regions of the world before they were finally able to set sail again in one of the ship's lifeboats. Alfred Lansing's Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage is a white-knuckle account of this astounding odyssey.

Through the diaries of team members and interviews with survivors, Lansing reconstructs the months of terror and hardship the Endurance crew suffered. In October of 1915, there "were no helicopters, no Weasels, no Sno-Cats, no suitable planes. Thus their plight was naked and terrifying in its simplicity. If they were to get out--they had to get themselves out." How Shackleton did indeed get them out without the loss of a single life is at the heart of Lansing's magnificent true-life adventure tale. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"Endurance is one of the most gripping, suspenseful, intense stories anyone will ever read." --Chicago Tribune --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Second Edition edition (March 19, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078670621X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786706211
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,581 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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293 of 306 people found the following review helpful By Nathan on February 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely amazing and true accounting of the 1914 Antarctic expedition gone to hell. It is clear that the author did an incredible amount of research, and though this book doesn't read like a novel, its presentation is much more powerful this way, giving a panoramic view of the whole terrible and desperate situation of these men.
I don't have any experience even comparable to what these men went through, the closest I've ever come is rowing down the coast of Maine in the summer in a 30 foot pulling boat, and I'll tell you, this guy gets every detail.
Anyway, an absolutely incredible look at human endurance, at what a person will go through if he must. I definitely recommend this book to everyone.
One note...make sure the version you buy or get at the library has expedition photographer Hurley's photographs in it. Some paperback editions don't, and you're really missing part of the experience without them.
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116 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Jess Hayes on January 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
Within the genre of real life adventure books, Endurance is definitely a stand out. I am lucky to have a brother who regularly reads about explorers and wilderness adventures and recommends to me only the best of the best. Other must-reads in the genre are The Long Walk (though that turns out to be most likely fiction so I no longer recommend it), Into the Wild, and Arctic Adventure: My Life in the Frozen North. Endurance tells the true story of Ernest Shakleton and his crew's ill-fated and legendary expedition to Antarctica. It was likely one of history's best outcomes for what was essentially a disaster.

At the time of launching, Shakleton's expedition was history's most extensively planned exploratory trip to Antarctic, complete with a photographer, scientists, carpenters and engineers (a crew of 27 in total). Shakleton's goal was to transverse and study Antarctic. When they set off in 1914, this expedition was the pride of the United Kingdom. Shakleton was the toast of the town for his bravery and expertise. For his bravery he is still toasted, but his polar expertise proved to be lacking. The ship he guided was no match for the South Pole's crushing cold and ice. Soon after arriving, the Endurance was stuck in ice, absolutely unable to move. The crew salvaged what it could and was forced to make do with dwindling supplies and provisions, eventually eating some of their beloved dogs.
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132 of 137 people found the following review helpful By A. Woodley on August 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is one of the few exceptional -absolutely execptional- tales of survival and it proves the maxim that nothing is so bad that it can't get worse. But also it proves that you can know the end of a story - it is a well known fact that Shackleton brought all his men through this arduous trial and all survived - and it doesn't spoil the story at all. Truth is not only stranger than fiction, but it is a good deal harder.
The bare-bones of the story are that Shackleton and his team left civillisation in 1914 in the Endurance to travel to attempt to reach the South Pole - a trip he had tried and failed by only a couple of hundred miles or so to achive in 1908. Amundsen had already reached the pole first but for Shackleton it was unfinished business. The Endurance had been built to push through the pack ice, but conditions proved too much and it was trapped in pack ice. Summer wore on and there was no escape - the winds were in the wrong direction - then winter hit and they were trapped in their boat. They settled in to a routine until the ice went against them and cracked the Endurance. Shackleton realised the only way out was on their own, so they abandoned the boat and made for the pack ice at first dragging the boats, then relying a floe to carry them north where they might find more supplies, or be rescued.
In the end they had to rescue themselves and this is the story of their indomitable courage and strength to survive under incredibly harsh conditions and in grave discomfort. We are talking about camping out in antartica - in less than adequate shelter, with essentially starvation rations, no heating, barely adequate clothing.
Lansing tells this story in a sparing style and it really works.
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84 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Misha Weidman on November 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
I first became interested in Shackleton's incredible story after seeing photos and a short version of Caroline Alexander's book in the National Geographic a couple of years ago. Since then, I've read and reread Lansing's account, as well as Alexander's, and twice seen the new Butler documentary which incorporates the photos and early film of the expedition's photographer, Frank Hurley.
This is quite simply one of the most amazing stories I've ever read. Survival in the face of incredible hardship. Astonishing bravery, persistence, and resourcefulness, all in the face of unimaginable bad luck. This story should have ended in death at least five times. Instead, after 16 (or 20, depending on who you're counting for) months marooned in the antarctic circle, not a single member of Shackleton's crew was lost.
Lansing's account is creditable and more interesting than Alexander's, though her book has the better pictures. I'd suggest buying both.
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