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South: The Endurance Expedition

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,949 Ratings  ·  269 Reviews
Veteran explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's excruciating and inspiring expedition to Antarctica aboard the Endurance has long captured the public imagination. South is his own first-hand account of this epic adventure.
As war clouds darkened over Europe in 1914, a party led by Shackleton set out to make the first crossing of the entire Antarctic continent via the Pole. But t
ebook, 416 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by Penguin Books (first published 1919)
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--South: The Endurance Expedition

Appendix I:
Scientific Work
Sea-Ice Nomenclature
South Atlantic Whales and Whaling

Appendix II:
The Expedition Huts at McMurdo Sound

Mark Mortensen
Oct 28, 2015 Mark Mortensen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature, memoir, science
Prior to reading Sir Ernest Shakelton’s harrowing voyage aboard the Endurance I knew few facts other than he obviously survived to pen his memoir.

The expedition to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent from sea to sea over roughly 1,800 miles by way of the South Pole. Planning for the mission began in 1913 and when World War I erupted the scientific voyage was not canceled. It’s historic that on August 4, 1914 King George V kept his appointment to meet with Shakelton and give him the Uni
First it was cold. And then it got really cold. And we're hungry. And it' cold and we're hungry. And phewy, it's really freaking cold. We don't have a whole lot to eat, either. Brrrrrrrrrrrr. Ice. Seals. Cold. Es muy frio. Teeth chattering. Chewing on blubber. Blubber fires. Shivering. Need more food. Did I mention it's cold? Seriously, I'm really cold. Frostbite. Shoulda worn another sweater. Shoulda brought an extra pair of gloves. Shoulda brought some extra cans of Pringles. I could really go ...more
May 06, 2015 Dagny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely interesting and riveting in places even knowing how it all turned out.

Available at:
Annie Smidt
Oct 30, 2011 Annie Smidt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
Despite sitting here in October whining to myself about my cold fingers while typing, I have to admit I've got kind of a thing for grueling polar expeditions and the occasional 19th century disastrous sea voyage. I especially have a thing for Mr. Shackleton, the great heroic failure of the Edwardian era. (Not my words, but I don't recall who said them — someone on NPR, I expect).

This book is the detailed accounts of Shackleton's last Antarctic journey. He takes a crew on the Endurance to the Wed
May 29, 2012 Yorkshiresoul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Back when men were men. At the outbreak of WWI Shackleton had outfitted two ships and crews to try a continental crossing of the Antarctic. He offered to halt the expedition but was ordered to continue by Winston Churchill. Famously, the crossing never took place. What did happen was an increasingly desperate fight to survive by the two ship's crews on opposite sides of the polar continent.

The book is largely made up of extracts from Shackleton's own diary and the diaries of some of the other ex
Pete daPixie
Most certainly, as exploration adventure survival stories go, Shackleton's 'South' has to be in the premier league. My copy in the Penquin Classics series, (which contains those excellent black and white photographs of Frank Hurley's), originally published from Shackleton's memoirs/logs from the Endurance expedition in 1919.
If ever a ship was more aptly named! Of course, this epic tale has been re-told in other books and on film. Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914 expedition was to be a Trans-Antarcti
Aug 31, 2013 Marley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're familiar with Shackleton's story, you likely want to read this just for the sake of completion. Just know that it's not going to be the page-turner you would have hoped for. For anyone unfamiliar with Shackleton's story and curious to learn more, I'd recommend you start with another source.

The subject matter is fascinating yet Shackleton's writing lacks emotion. He was obviously writing this for his contemporaries to prove that his expedition had not been a complete failure. He rightly
Andrew Ziegler
Mar 06, 2013 Andrew Ziegler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had a really hard time getting into the "floe" of this book. See what I did there? No, seriously, Shackleton's writing is very clinical and matter of fact. Recording every day, watching the ice, food stores, lat and long, temperature...etc...for what seems like an eternity. With no drama or embellishment, which as an avid reader, I love. However, this book at its start was dry. That is the truth. You know what else is the truth? This story. All of it. 100% fact. You can know that going in, and ...more
I read this casually, a little at a time. It's one of the great adventure stories of all time, and smashing stuff (get it?) but...here's how it works: it's based on the journals of Shackleton and everyone else in his party - he gives others lots of time too - and the entries can be a little repetitious. Like, y'know, "Still stuck on an iceberg. Cold and hungry."

Shackleton's a surprisingly good writer, though. Clear, engaging and often funny. That livens up the doldrum periods - but also, the ef
David Greene
Aug 11, 2013 David Greene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"For knowledge and erudition, give me Scott. For expeditionary and exploration prowess, take Peary. But if disaster strikes, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton!"
My Inner Shelf
Envoûtée par ces aventures polaires, j’ai enchaîné avec L’odyssée de l’Endurance, qui relate la 4e expédition britannique en Antarctique du XXe siècle. Le pôle Sud ayant été atteint en décembre 1911 par le Norvégien Amundsen, et Shackleton ayant toujours le goût de l’aventure, il ne lui reste plus qu’à tenter la traversée du continent, de la mer de Weddel à l’île de Ross, via le pôle Sud. C’est avec l’Endurance, navire conçu spécialement pour des voyages polaires, qu’il se rend en mer de Weddell ...more
Jan 22, 2011 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Quite simply awesome. And I don't use the word lightly, considering it is very much an overused word. Ernest Shackleton was a hero not only because of what he endured, but because of how he led. As opposed to Robert Scott who made a series of errors (as well as experiencing some genuine bad luck with inclement weather) culminating in disaster in 1912, Shackleton's primary concern above all aspects of his mission were the men under his command. In 1908 - on his earlier 'farthest south' expedition ...more
Beth A.
This book was very slow paced and detailed, and took me a long time to read, especially the first third. The story was amazing, but I can’t decide if they were amazingly brave and perseverant, or just a bit stupid. Not their survival, but putting themselves at such risk in the first place. When they ended up stranded, no one seemed remotely surprised.

The person who recommended this book to me mentioned looking at leadership traits, so I was thinking about that as I read this book.

Team building:
Oct 17, 2010 Shaun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Ernest Shackleton's personal account of his adventure to Antarctica. He descirbes in great detail the grandeur of the adventure, the highs and lows. I especially liked how he describes their final stretch to cross the island of South Georgia and reach civliliation with little food and no water. He said the three of them the presence of a fourth person who helped them on their final leg. It's hard to know if this was an angel or what, but he feels strongly they were protected and aided by ...more
Jul 25, 2011 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"South" by Sir Ernest Shackleton,1919. Shackleton's first hand account is one of the most well known survival narratives of the 20th century. Shackleton's writing is mostly cool and factual, more like that of a sea captain's ship log, rather than that of a personal diary. The more intriguing passages are the entrees that hint of uncertainty. As he and his crew begin to feel the pangs of scurvy, Shackleton shrinks from shooting an over flying albatross. Fearing the guilt that would be felt by his ...more
Joe Stamber
May 05, 2011 Joe Stamber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paper, read-2011
When I became the proud owner of a Kindle, I was reading a paperback novel (Mudbound). Not wanting to start another novel, I decided to read a bit of "South!" (downloaded free from Amazon) while I finished the paperback. However, this is one book that once started is difficult to put down. The lives of Shackleton and his party have a routine monotony that is a stark contrast to their constant struggle for survival during their journey. Shackleton writes almost matter-of-factly about the incredib ...more
Jan 23, 2011 Alice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Read this one while you're hating how freaking cold out it is!! It's been a while since I read this, but if I remember correctly, it's all taken from the journals of the men on the expedition. There's a lot of stuff about lattitude and longitude, and 5000 different ways to describe cold and snow and ice! You may find that you want to skim over some of the more "scientific" stuff and just get to the good parts! You know: the frostbite, and the starvation, and the penguin poo! This book will make ...more
This a recount of real events that reads like fiction. Language in this book is beautiful and flows naturally, what makes it a fairly easy and quick read.

When reading non-fiction it is always difficult to not judge the reasons, decisions and events behind the story. I refrain from doing that as my rating would drop drastically, as I was rather critical of the whole adventure. Nevertheless we can't change past and these events took place exactly a 100 years ago. And taking that into account I was
I love exploration stories that involve sailing and going to regions not well understood. For me South was and intriguing read, specifically two of the books sections.

I was constantly amazed at Ernest Shackleton's ability to lead his men in the most dire of circumstances. Aside from a great read about adventure, defying odds, and facing hardships this is a great book for lessons on leadership, courage, hard work, and working together as a team.

There are four main sections of the book: 1) Ernest'
Jan 13, 2016 Everydayreader1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
South: The story of Shackleton's last expedition 1914 - 1917 by Ernest Shackleton is the story of the attempt begun in 1914 by Sir Ernest Shackleton to cross the continent of Antarctica. The expedition set sail, but their ship became trapped in ice and was crushed. Twenty-eight men were left on the ice flow with no ship. Sir Ernest Shackleton has written their story as they struggle to cross the continent and stay alive.

I first became interested in this story several years ago when the A&E t
Feb 18, 2012 rob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading Shackleton's story always makes me feel like I need more testosterone in my life, like I should tackle something grand and important and mostly crazy. It also makes me glad that I spend most of my time warm enough and full enough. Aside from being a great (completely true) adventure story, it's a great testament to a fantastic leader that he brought all the men who went with him back home, despite their incredible hardships.
A decent account of the trials and tribulations of the crew of the aptly named Endurance. With their ship destroyed by ice after being held fast for months, Shackleton had to organize the evacuation of the crew by means of sled and open boat. The hardships and privations suffered by these men are enough to make you want to inch closer to your fireplace! A great tale of adventure, and all the better because it's true.
Oct 12, 2013 Ilinca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to judge these books by the same standards you'd use on anything else. Shackleton is not a writer, but his tale of the, well, failure of the Endurance makes for a riveting read. The fact that they all (spoiler alert) survived after horrific struggles with the ice, cold, hunger, thirst and depression is a little bit miraculous, and Shackleton's understated tone makes it all the more impressive.
K. Valisumbra
The modern world is full of the vain, aggressive, macho postures that men strike in the attempt to appear brave or 'heroic'. How refreshing, then, to read a first hand account of one of the most extreme battles for survival in history, written in such an understated, matter-of-fact style. Now there are no more blank spaces on the map, modern explorers resort to ever more bizarre ways of being 'first' to somewhere, but in Shackleton's time the handicaps were imposed purely by the hostility of the ...more
Apr 04, 2008 Beckylynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a thrilling adventure/exploration mission into antarctica. Their ship is crushed in the ice fields and the journey then becomes one of survival. The description is amazing! You couldn't write a better fiction story than this true to life story of almost certain death and the hope that carries us through the most difficult of experiences.
Dec 23, 2014 Charlie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i guess one of the worst reviewed books here on Goodreads, considering the relevance of the subject.

The book is a non-fictional, true-to-the-fact travel journal Shackleton himself wrote after heroically survived the "Endurance Expedition".

What do you expect by going by ship toward South Pole? Just ice, cold, wind, storms, and again, cold, dangers, faith. It’s the miserable human condition against the immensity of the wilderness, the hardest wilderness on earth.

Yet Shackleton wrote about it with
Jul 15, 2015 Kenneth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely excellent and inspiring. I don't like motivational speaker stuff, I find it all very fluffy and very vacant. Shackleton's account of the 1914-1917 expedition is anything but. An amazing tale of perseverance, endurance, and on-the-ball leadership, it is a great read for anyone interested in exploration.
Dec 19, 2014 Marina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jamie Bradway
Dec 04, 2015 Jamie Bradway rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly better than than Alfred Lansing's Endurance in that it proves Lansing's account to be entirely unnecessary. Both books rely almost entirely on the journals of Shackleton and his companions. Both are structured more or less chronologically, though Lansing edits out some bits and foregoes any account of the Aurora portion of the adventure. Most importantly, though, Shackleton's account benefits from being told in the first person. If you want to suck the tension out of an adventure, shift i ...more
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Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, CVO, OBE was an Anglo-Irish merchant naval officer who made his reputation as an explorer during what is known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, a period of discovery characterised by journeys of geographical and scientific exploration in a largely unknown continent, without any of the benefits of modern travel methods or radio communication.
More about Ernest Shackleton...

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“Huge blocks of ice, weighing many tons, were lifted into the air and tossed aside as other masses rose beneath them. We were helpless intruders in a strange world, our lives dependent upon the play of grim elementary forces that made a mock of our puny efforts.” 1 likes
“When I look back at those days I have no doubt that Providence guided us, not only across those snowfields, but across the storm-white sea that separated Elephant Island from our landing-place on South Georgia. I know that during that long and racking march of thirty-six hours over the unnamed mountains and glaciers of South Georgia it seemed to me often that we were four, not three. I said nothing to my companions on the point, but afterwards Worsley said to me, ‘Boss, I had a curious feeling on the march that there was another person with us.’ Crean confessed to the same idea. One feels ‘the dearth of human words, the roughness of mortal speech’ in trying to describe things intangible, but a record of our journeys would be incomplete without a reference to a subject very near to our hearts.” 1 likes
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