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Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

4.34  ·  Rating Details  ·  45,207 Ratings  ·  2,860 Reviews
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 author ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 19th 1999 by Basic Books (first published 1959)
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Cheryl The challenge is for us to be able to see ourselves as capable of the resourcefulness, the teamwork, the courage, as these men proved to be. They…moreThe challenge is for us to be able to see ourselves as capable of the resourcefulness, the teamwork, the courage, as these men proved to be. They weren't god-like immortals. And we're all capable of a lot more than we imagine ourselves to be. The human race is strong, not just too clever for its own good.

(Mind you, I had the same reluctance to read of the exploits of explorers that your question implies that you do. I generally prefer the courage that rescues children from Hitler's Germany or serves the dying in a hospice. But this is a good book. Get an edition with the full complement of photos.)(less)
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Behold...the gentleman whose exploits crushed the last vestiges of manhood from my fragile psyche*:
* Psst....don’t mention this to my wife as she thinks she took care of this years ago.

Stranded for over a year in the most inhospitable climate on the face of the Earth, literally one tiny step away from complete disaster due to starvation, extreme weather or the ice flows on which they lived deciding to crack and deposit into the freezing depths below.


Holy persevering manliness Batman, I was w
May 12, 2011 karen rated it it was amazing
oh my god i feel like i haven't written a review in ages., how you holding up without my pearls of wisdom??

i was going to write a DBR of this last night, because that's what shackleton would do, but then i ended up eating candy and doodling instead, and that is why i live a life of mediocrity and insignificance and i am not like shackleton, who ran into some trouble on a boat ride and managed to triumph over impossible odds.


that's what i love the most - his unflagging op
There aren't many true-life tales that live up to the hype. There are always some details that make the story just a little less dramatic than in the made-for-TV movie. Not this time. While listening to this audiobook, the thought that went through my head over and over again was "Holy s***!" The book starts with the Endurance, trapped in the Antarctic ice, being literally crushed to death. The men abandon ship, and then float on the ice pack for months. When the pack breaks up, they launch the ...more
What an incredible story! This was my introduction to Shackleton, and I am left reeling from the experience.

I chose Endurance to add symmetry to my list. Earlier this year I read In the Kingdom of Ice, Hampton Sides' excellent book about a doomed expedition to the North Pole, and I thought I should balance the hemispheres by reading about a South Pole expedition. Lansing's book was highly rated by GR friends, and justifiably so.

What struck me about the writing was how modern it was. Lansing had
Mar 02, 2015 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chrissie by: Maude
This was exciting! I recommend this book to those who want to throw themselves into another world, albeit a world cold, wet, icy and filled with fear, exhaustion and hunger.

Ernest Shackleton set out in 1914 to cross the Antarctic from west to east. Yes, WW1 had broken out and he had Churchill’s go-ahead Why? For the glory of Britain and for his own glory too. The race for polar discovery was in full-swing. On December 14, 1911, the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen led the first successful expe
May 18, 2012 Brandon rated it really liked it
Recommended to Brandon by: Stephen
Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 27 men have taken away my man card. Seriously.

I have never even remotely come into a situation as dire and desperate as the stranded crew of the Endurance. If I did, I’m sure I would curl up in the fetal position and just hope that it all works itself out. That being said, it wouldn’t be long before I would freeze to death or be killed and eaten by a sea leopard. However, if Shackleton was my captain, he could probably get more out of me then I would think possi
The unbelievable and tragical story of the Ernest Shackleton's expedition to Antarctica and their struggle to survive for an interminable period of time.

The book describes the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–17) his third expedition, also known as the Endurance Expedition.

Endurance became beset in the ice of the Weddell Sea before reaching Vahsel Bay held in the pack ice throughout the Antarctic winter of 1915.
Natalie Vellacott
May 25, 2016 Natalie Vellacott rated it it was amazing
What an incredible adventure. "Endurance" tells the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton's attempts to cross the Antarctic overland with his 27 man crew. BUT in October 1915 when they were still half a continent away from their intended base, their ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. The entire crew with 50 dogs left the doomed vessel, camping on ice and using small boats to attempt to reach the nearest island. They became castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world. Any hope of su ...more
Arah-Leah Hay
Mar 24, 2014 Arah-Leah Hay rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5stars, true-survival
This review does contain spoilers if you are unaware of Shackelton's expedition and the outcome of his men.

As far as true survival stories go, or the utmost extreme conditions that man could possibly endure, and yet survive; this has got to be it. It's absolutely incredible what these 27 men went through. I have read several stories of true survival, but this one takes the cake.

This is the true story of Polar explorer Earnest Shackleton and his 27 men who set sail on "The Endurance" for Antarcti
Aug 16, 2009 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
I rarely re-read books, but this was such a gripping, true-life adventure, and well told, that I have read it three times in the last fifteen years. I think it is due for another re-read! It blows my mind to think of what these men went through and how they survived being stuck in Antarctica for years. The way they engineer their own rescue is hardly to be believed. What adds to the appeal of the book is the wonderful color throughout - details of how the men made life bearable during this unbea ...more
Insomuch as a written account of a noted historical event can be spoiled, this review contains spoilers. If you don't want to be spoiled, stop here and read the book. It's excellent.

So much is amazing about Ernest Shackleton's voyage to explore Antarctica and the misadventures that follow, but the most noteworthy one is that everyone survives. Think of it, 28 men spend nearly two years essentially camping on ice floes or drifting in 20-foot wooden lifeboats where the temperature rarely rise abo
May 10, 2007 Davie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
Part ripping yarn, part social psychology experiment, part metaphor for graduate school -- this is the most IN-CREDIBLE book that I've ever read.

It is insaaaaaannnneeeeee!!!!

But even though the whole time you are reading it, you are thinking to yourself -- #$(*&@$%(*waaahhh!!! -- the writing is remarkably restrained and pithy, putting you right in the moment without distracting you from what's going on. You'd almost think you were reading Updike, except the people in the story are real, and
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
A simply astounding story of, what else, endurance. Survival might be the better word, of course. But "Endurance" was their ship's name (originally it was "Polaris," but the ship was rechristened "Endurance" as if foreshadowing what its crew would endure in its last voyage.

The leader was Sir Ernest Shackleton with a crew of 27 (plus a stowaway) and 69 sledge (Canadian) dogs. They were set to do what no one had ever done before: cross the Antarctic continent and, by doing so, become famous and ri
Mar 11, 2008 David rated it really liked it
This is such a great story, and Lansing does it justice. If you're not familiar with the facts of Shackleton's antarctic expedition, read this book.

If you do, you will undoubtedly want to check out Caroline Alexander's "The Endurance : Shackleton's legendary Antarctic expedition" as a companion volume. Lansing's book is excellent on exposition, but skimpy on photos. What makes Alexander's account compelling is the inclusion of ~ 150 photos, taken by the expedition's official photographer, Frank
May 23, 2013 Alex rated it it was amazing

- Пережити полярну зиму на вмерзлому в лід кораблі без жодної надії подати звістку
- Пережити ще півроку у таборі на дрейфуючій кризі, після того як корабль роздушено льодом
- Провести кілька днів майже без сну та на межі голоду мігруючи поміж танучими кригами (і тягнучи за собою три човни)
- За ще чотири безсонні дні доплисти до негостинного шматка скелі посеред океану, загубити та знову знайти один одного у штормі
- Послати чотирьох на човні по допомогу до населеного острову та чекати б
Jul 02, 2015 Rebecka rated it it was amazing
An incredible book about a huge failure. Perhaps a masterpiece. I thought I would spend the rest of the summer slowly working my way through this book, but instead I almost flew through it.

This being said, I am above average interested in terribly cold places. I first wanted to read this book (and first heard about Shackleton) in Skating to Antarctica, and then stumbled across it a month or so later in a second hand book store and paid 250 NOK for it ( I NEVER spend that much on a book, even if
Apr 09, 2012 Christie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone and everyone
I read this book quite a while ago, but would put it in my all-time list of top five favorite books. Lansing's written account of the voyage is more more interesting and readable than Shackleton's own accounts, as well as other author's attempts to document the voyage. The story was so amazing to me that for awhile I couldn't read enough/get enough info about this incredible adventure. I even purchased and watched copies of video footage shot while on the adventure. I wanted to name my cat Chipp ...more
Nov 29, 2014 AH rated it really liked it
7/26/14 - Audible daily deal.

3.5 stars - Audio book is well done.

A little bit dry at times yet still a fascinating story about Shackleton's Antarctic expedition. I can't even begin to imagine the hardships that Shackleton and his crew endured while they were marooned at the bottom of the world with absolutely no chance of rescue. It really gives you a sense of Mother Nature's power. Makes you look at ice in a whole new way.

If someone pitched a book idea to a publisher about a bunch of guys stranded in the Arctic, who’s boat is destroyed by ice, who get hunted and in turn hunt sea lions, and who save the day by –no joke- sledding down a mountain to avoid freezing to death and manage to save their whole crew of shipwrecked mates, you would be laughed at. It’s too ludicrous. Too unbelievable.


Look if you want to learn how to be a good manager, a good adventurist, a good person- then you need
Nov 10, 2013 Shaun rated it it was amazing
But the sea is a different sort of enemy. Unlike the land, where courage and the simple will to endure can often see a man through, the struggle against the sea is an act of physical combat, and there is no escape. It is a battle against a tireless enemy in which man never actually wins; the most that he can hope for is not to be defeated.

Prior to reading this tale of the Endurance and the "Imperial Trans-Antartic Expedition" led by Ernest Shackleton, I had watched a compelling documentary, wh
Feb 03, 2008 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 5Q Book Group
Recommended to Patrick by: Vanessa
Shelves: 5q-book-group
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa Burgess
Apr 29, 2016 Lisa Burgess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Einzigartiger Bericht über die Expedition von Shackleton in der Antarktis. Mit ca. 17 Mann wollte er zu Fuß die Antarktis durchqueren, jedoch scheiterte die Mission bereits, als ihnen das Packeis einen Strich durch die Rechnung machte. Als auch noch ihr Schiff sank, weil es durch die Eismassen zerquetscht wurde, mussten sie zu Fuß bzw. mit ihren Beibooten weiterziehen - und hoffen, dass sie einen Weg zurück aus dem Eis finden werden. Hunger, Kälte, Trostlosigkeit... Ich finde Berichte über Mensc ...more
Sep 21, 2014 Ashley rated it really liked it
The subtitle, “Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage,” is no exaggeration. Anyone who reads the jacket copy knows that the captain and all 27 of his men will survive over a year in the Antarctic seas after their boat is crushed by pack ice. But the story of how they do it is astonishing.

Thanks to the fact that each of the men kept a diary, Lansing gives a precise picture of what the crew faced day by day; he was also able to interview many of them as he researched the book. The story gets a bit repeti
Sep 11, 2013 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub-book, 2013
This is an incredible adventure/survival story - full stop. With access to diaries and input from the surviving members of the crew Lansing is able to write the definitive version of what happened to these men from the moment they left port. It is truly amazing how these men not only survived but kept up their spirits and found happiness in their existence - when they were freezing cold, a glimpse of the sun would lighten their mood. When they were starving, a sea lion attack would become a week ...more
Cindy Rollins
Feb 24, 2015 Cindy Rollins rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, audiobooks
I started this because I had owned it in print and audio for quite some time without ever reading it. It just never felt like something I would like. I was wrong. I found this true story completely engrossing and uplifting. Am I, who feels frustrated at being uncomfortable on a plane for an hour, of the same species as Shackleton's men? It is hard to imagine. I am not sure how people ever thought being wet and cold made one sick. These men were wet and frozen for years!

This was a story worth te
Sophia Hanson
Jan 09, 2016 Sophia Hanson rated it it was amazing
Wow. What an incredible story. I cannot even fathom what these men faced alone in the Antarctic. Easily one of the best non-fiction books I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
Possibly one of the most exciting books I've ever read. This is one of those that proves the phrase "truth is stranger than fiction". If it were fiction, I'd be saying how thrilling the story was but maybe the author pushed it to the extreme?

Yeah. Awesome awesome awesome. Loved it. This stuff actually happened. There must have been something special about Shackleton as a leader - choosing the particular men he did (Worsely, for instance, was most impressive to me), and his style of leading.

I c
Dec 25, 2015 Anke rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I have exactly one year to read this, as Jan. 2016 we will travel to Antarctica.
That should be possible, right?!

Dec 25, 2015:
So, I finished. That's the positive. I skimmed through quite some parts of this book as the writing was rather dry and tedious. That's the not so positive.
Toni Osborne
Mar 04, 2016 Toni Osborne rated it it was amazing
This bestseller first published in 1959 and reissued in 1999 recounts the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition by Sir Ernest Shackleton in its attempt to cross the Antarctic continent by dog sledge in 1914.

Men have to be nuts to be explorers ….

The British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic in August of 1914 by October 1015 half way from its intended base the ship was trapped, crushed in the ice leaving the crew drifting on ice packs in one of the world’s most inhospit
Sep 17, 2015 Abdulrahman rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
I started this book because an astronaut was reading it on the ISS. And in a way those Antarctica' and Artic' explorers were the astronauts of the late 19th early 20th centuries. I'd say, though, that they did it more for the adventure–the most thrilling and terryfing of adventures–and the recognition, than for any scientific discovery.

Imagine being stranded alone, in a vast, freezing whiteness. Hundreds of miles away from civilization, and any reliable help. No radio. No airplanes. Nothing. Man
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An American journalist who wrote for Collier's, among other magazines and was later an editor for Time, Inc. Books.

Alfred Lansing served in the US Navy from 1940-46. He received the Purple Heart for his wartime service.

Later he attended North Park College, 1946-48, Northwestern University, 1948-50.

Lansing became a member of the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England in 1957.

More about Alfred Lansing...

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“No matter what the odds, a man does not pin his last hope for survival on something and then expect that it will fail.” 25 likes
“We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that Nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.” 15 likes
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