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Endurance

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  4,489 ratings  ·  77 reviews
You seriously mean to tell me that the ship is doomed?" asked Frank Worsley, commander of the Endurance, stuck impassably in Antarctic ice packs. "What the ice gets," replied Sir Ernest Shackleton, the expedition's unflappable leader, "the ice keeps." It did not, however, get the ship's twenty-five crew members, all of whom survived an eight-hundred-mile voyage across sea, ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 17th 2000 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1931)
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Brenda
I liked this Endurance better than the other Endurance book, just because it answers all of the questions I wondered about when the other book wrapped up pretty fast. For instance, I wanted more details about their rescue. Also what happened to the men after they got back? And what about the Ross party, that was supposed to meet up with Shackleton on the other side of Antarctica? This book finished the story better.
Also, it was written in first person by the ship's navigator, who kept a diary th
...more
Audrey
I'm not always able to finish the non-fiction that I pick up, no matter how "worthy" the book or "fascinating" the topic, so I approach with trepidation. I needn't have worried about Worsley's _Endurance_, though. The first three quarters is absolutely, breathlessly riveting. The physical feats of the men are one thing, but I had just as much admiration for their mental toughness. It's hard to imagine being stuck on an ice floe for months (and months!) after your ship has sunk, with an appreciab ...more
Der-shing
Fantastic. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I wish I'd read it 10 years ago... hell, 20 years ago even, just to give single-digits me something to think about. Incredible details, charming vignettes, and most of all a sense of camaraderie and respect for one's peers that I feel is just as worth reading about as all the adventure. The end broke my heart, but in a way where I know I'll never forget how reading this book made me feel.
Titanic Buff
Told in the words of the Endurance's captain this is a tale one won't soon forget. Filled with interesting little details - sometimes humorous - New Zealander Frank Worsley narrates the story of the famous Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

I found this book a great source in researching the Endurance Expedition. Reading contemporary works regarding historical events is good, no doubt about that, but to read a book by someone who was there, who experienced everything firsthand and was a witnes
...more
Rachelfm
The third book this month on Shackleton's famous 1914 voyage to Antarctica. I first read the "other" Endurance by Alfred Lansing, which was a reportage page-turner and relied on some interviews with survivors. I found Tyler-Lewis' The Lost Men to provide valuable historical context, and so it was a fitting pleasure to have a story in the skipper's voice. While I enjoyed the book for its unique voice and singular viewpoint, it was quite dated in tone and a bit hero-worshippy. While these qualitie ...more
Lisa Hunt
This was an amazing story, but the writing was a bit clunky for me. It was written by the actual captain of the ship back in the 30's, so I didn't expect it to be the best writing ever, which is why I'm giving it 4 stars. The story of their adventure (the plan was to cross the Antarctic continent), their struggles and the fact that they were able to survive was nothing short of miraculous. I also loved that they seemed to keep great attitudes despite being basically wet and cold for two years. I ...more
Jim
I like sea stories and hate ice and snow. I had mixed feelings about reading someone's Antarctica story. "It was cold, it was wet, the snow was white." But this is also a story about being stranded, having to build shelters and wait weeks for a rescue in the days before air travel or two way radio. Above all, its a story about the men who went for help, traveling hundreds of miles in an open boat. Then they had to find a ship to make the return trip, locate the camp they left behind, and hope at ...more
Christie Washam
easy to read and quickly paced. The drama of the adventure is somewhat curtailed by Worsley's tone of voice, but on the other hand, it sort of feels like we've sat down next to him at some ex-pat bar and he's telling us the story in person. The downplaying of the hardships just make it all the more amazing and very much endearing. Loved this book, even after the narrative turned from the initial expedition into tales of the war, past trips, and Shackleton's final voyage.
Mike Reid
Shackleton is one true leader!

What an amazing story and wonderfully told by not only a competent sea captain but a talented writer as well. If you are a sea-faring wannabe like myself, you will certainly love the detailed descriptions of the ship “Endurance” and all the jib and heave-to language that comes along with it. Wonderful scenery of the Antarctic and its inhabitants are wonderfully described within the story and gives oneself the feeling of actually being trapped on the ice-packs and f
...more
Megan
My favourite account of the Endurance expedition - the photos contained within this book are amazing - written by Shackleton's captain. His navigational abilities are amazing, especially as you read about the harrowing journey in a lifeboat from Elephant Island to South Georgia.
Anne
A book I've reread many times. I remember a certain administrator who compared herself to Shackleton as she laid off a bunch of people. To which I wanted to yell, "Um, Shackleton didn't throw anyone off the boat."

Anyhow, great adventure and a very lesson in endurance.
Sarah
I have read almost every book written on the Endurance expedition, and quite a number of books about polar exploration.
This is my favorite one.
Nancy
A good supplement to the Lansing book. He adds more details regarding the environment and animals as well as recounting Shackleton’s death.
Louis
Although Earnest Shackleton’s failed attempt to cross the Antarctic continent is well known, Endurance puts a human face on the failed expedition and the numerous hardships they faced. The fact that every member of the expedition survived is miraculous enough; however, Frank Worsley—the captain of one of the ships on the expedition—paints a picture even more miraculous. Hollywood could not write a better story.


Each day the expedition was lucky to be alive given the dangers they faced ranging fr
...more
Jason
Sep 09, 2008 Jason rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mark Rawlings
Recommended to Jason by: Tyler Self
I was told that this was the greatest survival story of all time. It is pretty amazing. A 1914 expedition to explore the South Pole is cut short as pack-ice jams the ship Endurance in limbo. The sailors make do until eventually the ice crushes the ship and they are left on an arctic shelf to ponder their near impossible trip home. For two years, these men survived. All of them! The story traces a ridiculous trek across frozen desert reaching temperature as low as fifty degrees below zero, they s ...more
Gary Braham
I've tried to write a review for this book, but there's nothing I can really add to the reviews that were already on here.

The story is amazing. If it wasn't true, you would never believe it. I've tried to calculate the odds of anyone surviving even a single leg of their journey, let alone everyone surviving their entire ordeal. There are no words that I feel would be adequate to describe how unlikley their survival was. And on top of that, this book, written by the boats captain, downplays just
...more
Lara
Oh, man. This totally made me cry. I am way too emotional about Antarctica, yeah?

So, this is mainly Captain Frank Worsley's account of the 1914-1916 Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition--the loss of the Endurance, the subsequent long slog across the ice, the journey to Elephant Island, and from there to South Georgia, the trek across the mountains to reach the whaling station on the other side, and, finally, the rescue of the other expedition members they'd left behind to seek help and the men fr
...more
Mary
Aug 02, 2012 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mary by: GoodReads
Not knowing anything about the Antarctic, this really whetted my appetite to read & learn more about this incredible place where the temperature today is -86 below zero Farenheit! (-66C)
The story of the wreck & subsequent hardships & challenges of surviving in this harsh environment are truly marvelous.

In the last 1/3 of the book the author compares & contrasts the North & South Poles giving graphic descriptions of what you'd see, feel, & even hear especially in the very
...more
John
I read this several years ago, but it is on my list of book that I want my kids to read someday. This is the first hand account from Frank Worsley, who I believe was the ships' captain (Shackleton was the expedition leader). Rather than recount the story, I'll tell you what I loved about this book. I was amazed at the force of will over circumstance that these men displayed. The selflessness of men serving each other when most of us would be concerned only with our own survival. And finally, I w ...more
Amanda
I read this on the heals of reading "The Cruelest Miles" which kept me with the arctic theme. I had recently watched a PBS special on the remake of this voyage. It was amazing and really helpful to have a visual in my mind's eye. I loved that this book was written by Shakleton's first mate and true friend. The voice of the book is interesting in that it is of another time period.
David Baulsir
The definitive history on Shackleton a riveting story tell the hardship that men of the heroic age of polar exploration. The epic journey that seems so hard for men of today to have survived. These men survived hardship that was unheard of and all lived and incredible story. Well written almost as if the author is with the men a great read for anyone.
Veronica Ghazarian
Amazing story about survival, teamwork, and hope. I never knew anything about Shackleton until I read this, and based on what his companion Captain Worsley had to say about him, he seemed like a great man. After reading this, you'd probably follow him to the ends of the earth as well.
Sonja Reid
Okay, so I occasionally get completely fascinated with Antarctic exploration. Worsley was on the Endurance with Shackleton during this pretty incredible failed expedition. The whole story story, of the ship getting trapped in ice for a couple of years, with the vessel eventually being crushed to bits, combined with one of the most spectacular feats of open-sea sailing in rough seas in a life-boat while navigating with a hand-held sextant, is almost too much to believe. Oh yes, and every single p ...more
Elizabeth Turner
I loved this and became fascinated by the story. The language of the time is a refreshing change from today's colloquial language. I sleep better at night knowing I'm not in Antarctica.
Vish Ganapathy
The will of the human spirit to survive despite all odds leaps out from the pages as you flip with disbelief. It makes me want to climb a mountain or something.
Jim Dodge
Gripping and well written true life story. It holds your interests from start to finish. I would recommend it to anyone who like real-life adventure books.
Jeanette Long
Engrossing read. Adventurers who take off on a journey and know that it is a huge risk to their lives and are prepared to endure so much. An amazing story.
Mike
I got 25% through this and was still wondering why it's so highly-rated. There are really no characters that you get to know, and all you learn is the boring day-to-day stuff that happened. I couldn't get any further.
Susan
Oct 15, 2014 Susan added it
Much much better than I ever imagined. Gripping. Lots of detail, but still does not get bogged down. Amazing story.
James
More amazing than the adventure is Shackleton's selfless service. I wish this world had more like him.
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