- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (November 3, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375404031
- ISBN-13: 978-0375404030
- Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 238 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition 1st Edition
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Melding superb research and the extraordinary expedition photography of Frank Hurley, The Endurance by Caroline Alexander is a stunning work of history, adventure, and art which chronicles "one of the greatest epics of survival in the annals of exploration." Setting sail as World War I broke out in Europe, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, led by renowned polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, hoped to become the first to cross the Antarctic continent. But their ship, Endurance, was trapped in the drifting pack ice, eventually to splinter, leaving the expedition stranded on floes--a situation that seemed "not merely desperate but impossible."
Most skillfully Alexander constructs the expedition's character through its personalities--the cast of veteran explorers, scientists, and crew--with aid from many previously unavailable journals and documents. We learn, for instance, that carpenter and shipwright Henry McNish, or "Chippy," was "neither sweet-tempered nor tolerant," and that Mrs. Chippy, his cat, was "full of character." Such firsthand descriptions, paired with 170 of Frank Hurley's intimate photographs, which are comprehensively assembled here for the first time, penetrate the hulls of the Endurance and these tough men. The account successfully reveals the seldom-seen domestic world of expedition life--the singsongs, feasts, lectures, camaraderie--so that when the hardships set in, we know these people beyond the stereotypical guise of mere explorers and long for their safety.
Alexander reveals Shackleton as an inspiring optimist, "a leader who put his men first." Throughout the grueling ordeal, Shackleton and his men show what endurance and greatness are all about. The Endurance is a most intimate portrait of an expedition and of survival. Readers will possess a newfound respect for these daring souls, know better their unthinkable toil and half-forgotten realm of glory. --Byron Ricks
From Publishers Weekly
The unparalleled adventure and ordeal of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew, stranded on the Antarctic ice for 20 months beginning January 20, 1915, then forced to row a 22-foot boat 850 miles across storm-ravaged seas, has inspired at least three marvelous books: Shackleton's own memoir, South; Alfred Lansing's bestselling Endurance; and this stirring account by Alexander (The Way to Xanadu). In 1914, Shackleton sailed to Antarctica with 27 men in hopes of being the first human to transverse the continent. But his ship, the Endurance, was trapped, then crushed, by ice in the Weddell Sea, propelling the party into a nightmare of cold and near starvation. Alexander, relying extensively on journals by crew members, some never published, as well as on myriad other sources, delivers a spellbinding story of human courage (and occasional venality) in the face of daunting odds. She succinctly and boldly captures the character of the men and of the terrible land- and seascape they crossed toward salvation. What makes this book especially exciting, however, are the 170 previously unpublished photos by the expedition's photographer, Frank Hurley: stark, artfully composed tributes to the savage beauty of the ice and to the fortitude of the men and their dogs. Not one of the men died during their sojourn in a freezing hell; as Alexander makes clear in her gripping, emotionally resonant book, this incredible fact bears witness not only to Shackleton's leadership but to the strength of the human spirit. Agent, Anthony Sheil. Author tour. (Nov.) FYI: The Endurance is being published in association with the American Museum of Natural History, which in March 1999 will open an exhibit, curated by Alexander, chronicling Shackleton's voyage. A feature-length IMAX film on the subject will be released then, as well.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The book chronicles the 'refuse to quit on even one man' efforts of Shackleton, who struggled against unimaginable hardships in the most inhospitable place on earth, in an effort to deliver His men to safety ... from what must surely be an unavoidable fate.
The journey will astound you ... enthrall you ... have you re-reading pages to try to appreciate the magnitude of the circumstance ... and then have you shaking your head in awe. These men WERE made of sterner stuff.
Shackleton was not a perfect man, but ... a perfect hero for that very reason. Our world could use more like him.
I encourage you to try this book ... it will change your outlook ... on many things.
The personal accounts of the crew members daily treacherous turmoils, coupled with an undefeatable and inspired leader (Shackleford) is devastating. Photographer Frank Hurley supplied some of the most breathtaking and dynamic pictures of the saga of the trip, one can only become overwhelmed with the enormity of the dilema. It is simply too real and too heartbreaking.
This beautfully crafted "coffee table" book is one of many released regarding the extraordinary plight of this team against nature. Although author Caroline Alexander borrows heavily from previous accounts and repeats some of the adventures from her earlier "Mrs. Chippy's Last Expediton", "Endurance" is the classic adventure tale of the last Century.
A wonderful coolaboration of writer/photographer, this makes a great gift. A 'beyond Hollywood' story that many have never heard, much less seen in this manner makes it extraordinary!
The narrative is a well told accounting of the origins of the voyage, the expedition itself, and a good epilogue that feeds your desire to know what became of these guys after the completion of the journey. Alexander did her homework here - she talked to the few remaining crewman still alive after all these years as well as the family members of those crew members that have passed away.
However, what sets the book apart from the rest of the field is the lush, magnificent printing of 170 of Frank Hurley's stunning photographs. The photos do more than any words can to enhance the readers understanding of the stunning polar conditions and deprivations suffered by the crew. Flip through any of the other books about the Endurance, and you'll find a only small sub-set of Hurley's photos, usually notable only by their poor reproduction quality (Shackleton's own 'South' memoir springs to mind).
In addition to its intrinsic value in describing one of the foremost adventurers of the Polar Age, the book is also helpful to anyone looking to learn about leadership. Shackleton took his responsibilities of leadership very seriously & practiced the art long before anyone like Peter Drucker or Tom Peters came along to give it a name and study it. Shackleton's tendency to be inclusive rather than exclusive and his expert reading of the personalities that comprised the crew were the key differences between survival and death. Alexander does a wonderful job reporting the episodes that capture the essence of Shackleton's role as a true leader of men.