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The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition Hardcover – November 3, 1998
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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
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Two comments put this one piece of the survival struggle into perspective. Alexander comments, "They would later learn that a 500-ton steamer had foundered with all hands in the same hurricane they had just weathered." And upon reaching civilization for the first time, the captain of the Endurance, Frank Worsley records the reaction of some of the hardiest seamen in the world:
Three or four white-haired veterans of the sea came forward. One spoke in Norse, and the Manager translated. He said he had been at sea over 40 years; that he knew this stormy Southern Ocean intimately, from South Georgia to Cape Horn, from Elephant Island to the South Orkneys, and that never had he heard of such a wonderful feat of daring seamanship as bringing the 22-foot open boat from Elephant Island to South Georgia.... All the seamen present then came forward and solemnly shook hands with us in turn. Coming from brother seamen, men of our own cloth and members of a great seafaring race like the Norwegians, this was a wonderful tribute. (The Endurance, pages 166-167).Read more ›
Alexander's book has one (and only one) distinct and obvious advantage over Lansing's -- the inclusion of scores of the original expedition photographs taken by Frank Hurley (the ship's photographer). These photos are incredible and make Alexander's book indispensable to anyone interested in Shakelton's Endurance expedition.
That said -- here's why I gave her book only ONE STAR. In the Acknowledgements" section of her book, Alexander makes only a one sentence reference to Lansing's earlier work -- something to the effect of, "An exciting sea adventure." (although more elaborately stated).
Yet, Lansing's "Endurance: Shakelton's Incredible Journey" is a far better account of the Endurance expedition than is Alexander's -- better written, longer (maybe 50% more narrative), far more detailed in its entirety, much more interesting and exciting to read, PLUS: IT WAS FIRST..!!
It surprises me that Alexander paid no real tribute to Lansing's earlier work -- which in many respects seems to have been simply reworded by Alexander.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Shackleton expedition, and the fact that none of the explorers died, will never be topped. The photos taken are awe-inspiring.Published 2 months ago by Riley Simon
Very well written and unbelievable what the crew suffered through yet most survived.Published 2 months ago by Outdoorsman
My sister in law (a librarian at the time) gave me the audio version on tape, circa 1999. It is a fantastic audio. The voice actors do their job. Read morePublished 4 months ago by orson corson
This is a gripping and amazing story of survival in the antarctic. I was thoroughly engaged throughout this account. Ms. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Chris Gregory, Straight Like a Sapling author