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Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage [Paperback]

Alfred Lansing
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (349 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 19 1999
The astonishing saga of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton's survival for over a year on the ice-bound Antarctic seas, as Time magazine put it, "defined heroism." Alfred Lansing's scrupulously researched and brilliantly narrated book -- with over 200,000 copies sold -- has long been acknowledged as the definitive account of the Endurance's fateful trip. To write their authoritative story, Lansing consulted with ten of the surviving members and gained access to diaries and personal accounts by eight others. The resulting book has all the immediacy of a first-hand account, expanded with maps and illustrations especially for this edition.

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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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank God for Armchair Adventuring... March 20 2003
...because I would still be thawing out from Shackleton's wild romp in the Antarctic. And a few years have passed since their adventure and those fateful seventeen months in 1914-16 when Shackleton and his men encountered the worst Murphy's Law could throw their way. The book is a testament to human endurance, to Lansing's writing, and the leadership of a man like Ernest Shackleton. It is an enjoyable read from front to back, from launch to recovery, from freezing to thawing.
As far as adventure/disaster books go, I would rank it behind Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air." Though the author Lansing does an incredible job placing the reader "there" with Shackleton's men as they get their ship stuck in the ice pack in the Weddell Sea, float on ice floes, launch across treacherous seas in lifeboats, and go where no man has gone before on a last ditch desperate land jaunt, the fact doesn't change that Lansing, himself, wasn't there. I think no matter how hard an author can apply his trade to a story, it is difficult to relay to the reader the immediacy of impending doom and the cold and dread and the spirit that drives men to survival. Don't get me wrong, Lansing does a fine job bringing off this task, but it is short of the immediacy Krakauer gives the reader of putting you "there" in the desperate situation and knowing what it is like to survive from the worst nature and man has to offer.
If you want to read the best in adventure/disaster writing start skip by Junger's somewhat thrill-lacking "The Perfect Storm," and head straight for "Into Thin Air," followed by Lansing's "Endurance." Be warned though, you will be losing out on some sleep in the process since these books absolutely prove impossible to put down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is one of the 10 best books I've ever read; among such treasures as "The Grapes of Wrath" and Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle". For these men to have survived the harshest conditions known to man is an inspiration to people everywhere that, where there is a will, there is a way. When I go through a bitter cold Wisconsin winter again, I will never look at it in the same way I did before. The agony, frustration and longing these men endured was truly more than most men are capable of overcoming. In an age of modern conveniences where not having cable is considered a hardship, this book brings back the tough spirit of men who tested every fiber of their being. This book should be mandatory reading for all school-age children so they know there is a world beyond PlayStation and all the other trappings of our sedentary society. The adversity these men faced is beyond my comprehension. Buy the book! You won't be sorry!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic and essential adventure April 2 2010
The story of Shackelton's legendary third attempt for the South Pole should be read by everyone at least once. (Perhaps Peter Fonda in On Golden Pond might've added this one to his list of essential reading for boys along with Treasure Island.) Using source documents and interviews, Lansing's account, first published in 1959, of is likely one of the best adventure stories ever told.

With hundreds of reviews already, this is, admittedly, overkill. But this one deserves every word of praise.

The immensity of the misadventure that befell the Endurance and her crew is humbling - both for the grandeur of the voyage itself but also for the moral stature and strength of character of the men involved.

Lessons in psychology and leadership abound.

"...there was a remarkable absence of discouragement...nobody paused to think on the terrible consequences of losing their ship...there was even a mild exhilaration in their attitude. At least they had a clear-cut task ahead of them...Now they simply had to get themselves out, however appallingly difficult that might be."

"From studying the outcome of past expeditions, he believed that those that burdened themselves with equipment to meet every contingency had fared much worse than those that had sacrificed total preparedness for speed."

Although the first half consists chiefly of waiting around on ice floes, Lansing's narrative is gripping throughout. (The landscape and pace quickens upon reaching Elephant Island.) But in the end, it's the story itself that stands alone as the genius behind this read.

Pack it along with you on your next trip. Worth its weight in gold. Unless of course you have to ditch it to make room for seal blubber or a frozen penguin.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Truly amazing! Jan. 14 2004
Endurance is a true story about an explorer named Ernest Shackleton who tried to cross Antarctica. While traveling to Antarctica, his ship got trapped in ice. He was stuck on the ice with his crew for months until his ship, the Endurance, was abandoned. They then lived on the ice until they attempted to escape back to civilization. They hiked across miles of ice and sailed in life boats to Deception Island. Shackleton sailed to an Island nearly 500 miles away, then crossed the islands uncharted interior by foot. Finally he stumbled into the whaling station with his two companions and sent a relief ship to the rest of his crew on Deception Island.
This was a great book. It kept me on the edge of my seat through the entire book. The odds of the entire crew surviving was astronomical, and to think that Shackleton actually pulled off the rescue is amazing. It was a gripping story about survival. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes history, and to anybody wants to read about a truly amazing adventure.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story of survival.
You won't want to put the book down. Lansing did an amazing job writing this book. Shackleton,s leadership kept everyone alive. Hope to see the movie some day.
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The story was hard to believe but I knew that it was a true story.
Well done.
Published 1 month ago by Arthur LeBel
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best read I have had in a long while. Absolutely fact based, but riveting all the way through.
Published 1 month ago by Edward J Selke
5.0 out of 5 stars Endurance review
Great book, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys non fiction. The book was well written. The amount of research is certainly apparent in this book
Published 3 months ago by Graeme
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable story of survival
Hard to imagine how tough and determined this men were to be able to survive in such extreme conditions without proper clothing or food. A testament to mans ingenuity and resolve. Read more
Published 7 months ago by peter p
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing True Story of Survival
Lansing has accurately and faithfully recounted a tale that, were it fiction, might seem to be too incredible to be true. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Greaser
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
There was never a place in the passages of this book that I wanted to put it down. An amazing account of a journey that asked men to live in the unliveable.
Published 10 months ago by Jonathan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great novel!
I loved this novel. The story is informative and incredible. It is one of those books I know I will read again soon.
Published 11 months ago by author4
5.0 out of 5 stars Hell almost froze over! Extraordinary!
If you are 1) thinking this is just a boring book (or man's) about ice, shipwrecks "Ive seen enough Titanic for a lifetime "yadayada - no you haven't - no one was sipping champagne... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Sheryl in Vancouver
5.0 out of 5 stars Keith m
Fantastic adventure. All time legends. Cannot imagine living through those hardships and having the resolve to persevere. Strongly recommended to all.
Published 13 months ago by Keith Nolan McRae
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