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Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage Kindle Edition
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In August 1914, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance and set sail for Antarctica, where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. In January 1915, after battling its way through a thousand miles of pack ice and only a day's sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice. Thus began the legendary ordeal of Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men. When their ship was finally crushed between two ice floes, they attempted a near-impossible journey over 850 miles of the South Atlantic's heaviest seas to the closest outpost of civilization.
With an introduction by Nathaniel Philbrick, Endurance is the definitive account of Ernest Shackleton's fateful trip. Alfred Lansing brilliantly narrates the gripping and miraculous voyage that has defined heroism for the modern age.
From the Inside Flap
Shackleton's mission failed, but the resulting adventure became one of the most celebrated accounts of man's survival against unbelievable odds.
In August 1914 the Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October 1915, still half a continent away from their objective, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. Twelve hundred miles away from land, drifting on ice packs, Shackleton and his men survived the next five months on a diet of dogs, penguins and seals. When the ship eventually sank they were forced to escape by lifeboat. Shackleton then travelled another 850 miles in an open boat across the stormiest ocean in the world to reach help. Every single man got home safely.
Miraculously, throughout this ordeal, the expedition's photographer, Frank Hurley, protected his negatives and photographs from destruction. It is these extraordinary photographs that are among those produced in this illustrated edition of Alfred Lansing's harrowing and inspiring classic.--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- ASIN : B00IC8VF10
- Publisher : Basic Books; Anniversary edition (April 29, 2014)
- Publication date : April 29, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 28520 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 292 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #12,711 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2015
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The book begins on August 1, 1914, when the Endurance set sail from London. The story ends on August 30, 1916, when Shackleton managed to land his rescue ship on Elephant Island, Antarctica, to retrieve the men who were left behind. The expedition was called, IMPERIAL TRANS-ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, and all 28 men are listed on page 1 of the book. The book has two maps, the first tracking the location where Endurance was trapped (Jan. 19, 1915) in ice, the location where Endurance was crushed and therefore abandoned (Oct. 27, 1915), the location of the men's journey on the moving ice floe, and the final 100 mile stretch where the men took three small boats to Elephant Island to land on April 9, 1916. The second map shows the entire journey of Endurance from South Georgia Island to just off the coast of Antarctica, and the journey of one of the three small boats (the Caird) from Elephant Island back to South Georgia Island, where Shackleton successfully rounded up a rescue party.
There are six black and white photos, taken by crew member Frank Hurley. The photos show the Endurance locked in ice, the Endurance after being crushed, Frank Hurley posing with Ernest Shackleton by their tent on an ice floe (taken on May 10, 1916), and a photo of the rescue vessel arriving on August 30, 1916. There are also reproductions of two paintings by the ship's artist.
THE WRITING. Aside from a handful of literary excesses in the first several pages, this book is absolutely devoid of journalistic fluff. There is no attempt at re-creating conversations. There is no attempt at drama or pathos. There is no attempt to impress the reader with difficult words or with long sentences. I love Mr. Lansing's writing style. Mr. Lansing prefers to remain invisible, and his writing comes so naturally, and the result is that I felt like I was one of the crew members when I read the book.
CLIFF HANGERS. The narrative provides a dozen or so cliff hangers, where the reader is aware that the men are faced with the threat of immediate death. These threats include savage storms at sea, having an ice floe disintegrate under the men's camping area, threats of having the three small boats crushed between ice floes, and threats of freezing to death. In the final chapter, when Mr. Shackleton set foot on South Georgia Island, and attempted to cross the Island on foot, he repeatedly took pathways that led to a dead-end that terminated at the top of a high cliff, producing the threat of death due to lack of food and exposure to the cold.
OPTIMISM AND COURAGE. In a broader sense, the book is an illustration of courage in the face of constant life-threatening cold, and in the face of the threat of being lost at sea. The book provides little explicit guidance on the meaning of leadership, but it is easy to read between the lines. We learn that Mr. Shackleton never expressed thoughts of hopelessness, the fact that none of the men were drama queens (see, page 40), the fact that the men possessed a good sense of humor (see page 42), were incapable of malice (page 78), and were willing to join in singing (pages 17, 45, 75). What also helped keep the men in good spirits was that one man had a banjo, and that there was ususually plenty of powdered milk, canned beets and cauliflowers, and biscuits on hand. My own personnal opinion is as follows. Although it is difficult to eliminate drama queens during the job interview process, it is very easy to keep employees in good spirits by providing free food at regular intervals.
EXCERPTS. We learn that the trip was funded by James Caird ($120,000), the UK government ($50,000), and the Royal Geographic Society ($5,000). We learn that second in command was Frank Wild, who had accompanied Shackleton on earlier trips to Antarctica. We learn that Endurance set sail from London the week that World War I started. The Endurance had three sails and a coal-fired 350 hp steam engine, that she was designed by Aanderud Larsen, and was built in Norway. Frank Hurley, the photographer, had already been to Antarctica with another explorer (Douglas Mawson). Sixtynine dogs were also brought along, though they never had a chance to pull the sledges over Antarctica.
DISTASTER #1. On page 30, Endurance gets permanently trapped in ice. Although this entrapment occurred only 60 miles away from land, the ship was trapped in an ice floe that has a surface that was too "hummocky" to risk travel (page 34).
DISASTER #2. By page 36, a quarter of the dogs had died, and the cause was foot long red worms.
DISASTER #3. We learn that the ship's order of phonograph needles was discovered, instead, to consist of a box of 5,000 sewing needles (page 43). This is not really a disaster, but it is amusing to recount this.
DISASTER #4. On page 59, the ship, which had been trapped for nine months, was finally crushed, and the men rescued their mittens, tobacco, surgical instruments, banjo, photographic negatives, cases of sugar, flour, rice, barley, and jam, stoves, and toothbrushes (page 80).
DISASTER #5. Sometimes walk through the deep slush on the ice floe was very slow, for example, after one five hour walk the party had advanced only a half mile (page 93). At one point, a sea leopard attacked Thomas Orde-Lees, and he was rescued by Frank Wild, who shot the sea leopard, which weighed 1,100 pounds (page 102).
DISASTER #6. The banjo-playing proved to be torture, because Leonard Hussey (meteorologist) knew only six tunes (page 104). It is amusing to recount this, even though it is not really a disaster.
DISASTER #7. The men complained that their meat-based diet (seals, sea leopards, penguins, dog pemmican) was causing flatulence and a "squeaky gut." Ice was used for toilet paper, and ice freezing on the skin caused chronically unhealed sores (page 112).
DISASTER #8. The continued drift of the ice floe brought the men too far north to be able to debark at Paulet Island, leaving open the possibility of debarking at islands further to the north, such as Elephant Island or drifting even further north to be lost at sea in the dreaded DRAKE PASSAGE (pages 117-121, 124, 134).
DISASTER #9. Food shortages with concomitant sub-zero temperatures was an occasional threat (page 122). The continued failure of the ice pack to disintegrate prevented the men from sailing to land, which at one point, was only 42 miles away (page 123). The ice was too lumpy to cross, and the floes were too close to each other for a safe sailing.
DISASTER #10. Eventually, the ice floes used by the men for camping started to break apart (pages 128, 132, 137) and on page 138, the three small boats were launched. Killer whales surfaced on all sides of the boats (page 141), and masses of churning ice caused by rip tides threatened to overturn the boats (page 141). It is interesting to point out that the small boats were caulked with seal blood, or with cotton lamp wick and oil paints (pages 85, 107).
CONCLUSION. This book is an excellent model to other historians, as a guide on how to write history books. Love this book! The last time I read a book like this was in elementary school, when I read THE RAFT by ROBERT TRUMBULL. The Raft is another non-fiction book about survival at sea. I read The Raft during the time of the Seattle World's Fair (ha, ha, not really recently).
Top reviews from other countries
Without spoiling any of the details of what happened, the story of the Endurance is one of the most astonishing and inspirational survival sagas in history. The crew faced danger after danger and were pushed to the very limits of human endurance, and yet banded together to pull off an incredible feat of survival in one of the most remote and inhospitable regions on Planet Earth. If I had seen this story on TV, I’d have likely criticised it for being too far-fetched, but it actually happened! I know there was an adaptation of the story for TV made sometime around the turn of the millennium, but I’m astonished that it hasn’t been picked up by Prime or Netflix and turned into a miniseries with today’s technology and effects.
It’s not just the story itself that is incredible; Alfred Lansing’s presentation of the voyage is gripping, yet sympathetic. I didn’t realise until I started reading it, but this book was actually written in the 50s and Alfred Lansing conducted interviews with surviving crewmembers and was granted access to diaries and accounts of the trip. This results in a very detailed account of the voyage while at the same time shedding light on the emotions and relationships of the crew. For this reason, the book reads much more like a thrilling page-turner than a dry reference work. The three of us in my household all finished the book within three or four days of starting it - it is definitely one that you can’t put down!
More than any other book for a long time, the account of the Endurance has remained at the forefront of my thoughts in the days following finishing it. It is a truly astonishing read and I can’t recommend it enough.
I have to confess I was emotional to the point of basically crying at the end, and that has rarely if ever happened from reading a book even though it is one of my favourite past times.
Do not pass up the opportunity to read about one of THE great stories of modern times.