The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
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The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  7,627 ratings  ·  277 reviews
In August 1914, days before the outbreak of the First World War, the renowned explorer Ernest Shackleton and a crew of twenty-seven set sail for the South Atlantic in pursuit of the last unclaimed prize in the history of exploration: the first crossing on foot of the Antarctic continent. Weaving a treacherous path through the freezing Weddell Sea, they had come within eigh...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published December 18th 2008 by Knopf (first published 1998)
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Vanessa
Oct 08, 2008 Vanessa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
As a big fan of Alfred Lansing's version of the story, I had to read this one too. It is a worthy complement to Lansing's "Endurance" and contains a great deal more detail on some situations, interpersonal relations and the psychological impact on the men who went through this incredible experience - all stuff that Lansing tactfully omits. Added to that, there are many more of Frank Hurley's dazzling photographs. I would recommend reading this in addition to Lansing's work.
Natalie
The exhibition catalog for the exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History is more than a coffee-table book, this beautifully photo illustrated history of the Endurance expedition is a must read/must see for anyone interested in the history of polar exploration.

Alexander, who writes so ably and knowledgeably about polar exploration also recently penned The Race to the South Pole in National Geographic's Sept 2011 issue.

Illustrations and photos like this one by Herbert Ponting below from...more
Xio
I. f'n adore these men. As far as I'm concerned I AM one of these men. (Only the godforsaken tundra I explore is urban U.S)

I don't want to hear any of your goddimmed complaints until you've been stranded on South Georgia Island living in wet clothing on a diet of seal, penguin then penguin and seal, looking forward to a period of immobilty so that nothing of your nerves picks up information of icy damp material touching raw, chafed, bruised skin...

And you know, all of that and they still held th...more
Cathy
As a big fan of Alfred Lansing's 1959 story, "Endurance," I was leery of another version, but I was drawn into this one because #1: my library doesn't have too many audio books to choose from, and #2: I was sucked in by the promise of new material from previously unavailable sources. An excellent retelling; this book is definitely worthwhile. Shackleton and his crew set forth on a mission to cross the Antarctic continent on foot. Their ship freezes solid in the pack-ice before they can even begi...more
Gerry
Endurance is certainly the word that should be used to describe the way Shackleton and his men kept going in the most difficult of conditions.

He and a crew of 27 set sail in the ship 'Endurance' in August 1914 bound for the South Atlantic with the intention of being the first men to cross Antartica. Within 80 miles of their destination the ship became trapped in the pack ice and their endurance began. The 'Endurance' itself was a safe haven for them for some time but then it was crushed in the g...more
Will
I was lucky enough to attend a lecture by the author shortly after the book was released, and managed to get an autograph. I'm especially happy I did, as this book is a visceral experience. It was lovingly crafted and the publisher did not cut corners, particularly on the excellent grade paper. All the more important, because the reproduction of the photography is superb.

Here is one of the very, very few great adventures from the age before our communications became global, when mail still trave...more
Mary
I first read Capt. Frank Worsley's first-hand account of the expedition & was thoroughly fascinated by his telling of this amazing & actually horrifying ordeal in the Antarctic. Wanting to know more, I then began Shackleton's "South" as an e-book -without photos- & was wishing there were photos to show me what they were talking about. Then I chanced upon this book by Caroling Alexander at my neighborhood public library. Bullseye! In this book, Alexander has compiled all the pictures...more
Juan Hidalgo
Lo confieso, tengo debilidad por estos libros mezcla de aventuras, viajes extraordinarios y ciencia. Es el tercero o cuarto que leo sobre las exploraciones polares y no me canso: paso frío con los expedicionarios, oigo rugir las tormentas sobre los mares o las planicies heladas, saboreo la carne de pingüino y la grasa de foca, me refugio en débiles tiendas o cabañas de madera... y aún me quedan ganas de seguir leyendo sobre estos temas. No hay literatura que me apasione más que la de las grandes...more
Suzanne
Saw this exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem when the book came out. The exhibit had many of the Frank Hurley photographs from the book along with artifacts, actual film, explanations etc.
This was a remarkable exhibition and one to remember when we think we have had a bad day....A great choice for adventuresome, inquisitive teenagers 14 years or older, or younger depending on their maturity. There are some gruesome images (starvation, eating seal meat etc) And, they are real, unlike vi...more
Emily
Sep 30, 2007 Emily rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: nonfiction
I read Lansing's book on this same topic and I was hooked on the story. While this story didn't go into as many details as Lansing's book, it did provide a glimpse into the relationships and thoughts of many of the men. The author's dependence on diaries really gave a the reader a clue as to how everyone felt as they struggled to survive. I also like how the photographs were strewn throughout the book and humanized a lot of the men. A great retelling of an an amazing adventure!
Alicia
For pure, true adventure, there are few stories that match Shackleton's expedition to the Antarctic. I have read two books on the subject and this is the lesser. The greater is Alfred Lansing's Endurance:Shackleton's Incredible Voyage.

The story is that Shackleton set out in a wooden ship to explore Antarctica, partly because the races to the North and South pole had been so successful in terms of fame, glory and eventually some money. The world watched this explorers with genuine hero worship. B...more
Raghu
This book is about the abortive trans-Antarctic expedition led by Ernest Shackleton between 1914-16. Caroline Alexander has written a superb, well-researched and absolutely gripping account of the journey and the subsequent epic survival of all the men against all odds once the ship sinks deep in the Weddel sea.
Shackeleton shows extraordinary leadership and courage in attempting an impossible 800-mile journey in the roughest oceans on a 22-foot boat to reach South Georgia island with five of hi...more
Manuel
This is one of those books I've seen at book stores and libraries for some time. I believe it was also one of the books we sold at a gallery I onced worked at.

As I said, its one of those books I might have picked up and glanced at the photographs and then put back and forget about it.

I dont know what posessed me to pick it up at the library a few days ago, but once I started reading it I couldnt put it down.

All those historic Artic and Antartic expeditions had somehow molded into a cliche of Br...more
Becca
the only reason that i'm giving this 4 stars instead of 5 is because i'm comparing it to alfred lansing's version. that is the version to read for an intimate telling of the ordeal. alexander's version is amazing, but more of a bird's eye approach. i loved that she included so many background details. her story started before the ship set sail and ended long after the men were rescued - telling what happened to each man, individually, for the remainder of their lives. i also loved how many photo...more
Heather
Heather Stewart
Informational
Wow! I loved this book. This is the heroic tale of Ernest Shackleton and his expedition to the South Pole. His goal was to be the first to travel across the continent of Antarctica on foot. His team never made it to land because of the pack ice that built up around the coast. Their boat, the Endurance, became frozen into the ice with nowhere to go. It eventually sank and the twenty-eight member crew was forced to travel to an island where they knew there would be whal...more
Kay
Although my favorite book on Shackleton's expedition is Alfred Lansing's account, this is also an excellent version. Focusing on the diverse members of the crew, Alexander creates vivid portraits of each man, revealing the camaraderie and toughness that undoubtedly contributed to their survival. The main narrative is interspersed with extracts from the crew's journals, and there is of course a portrayal of Shackleton himself, a truly gifted leader. As the author noted, "At the core of Shackleton...more
Jennifer
Caroline Alexander has become one of my favorite nonfiction writers and this book was no exception.The subjects she chooses are compelling and her writing is evocative. By not over-emotionalizing and letting the voices of the men speak for themselves she tells a powerful story of survival and leadership.

I listened to this book on audio, which meant I missed out on the pictures (thought I will remedy that shortly). If you listen on audio, I found the diction of the narrator a bit...off, but not e...more
Leah
The Endurance is a short, quickly-paced book about Ernest Shackleton’s failed expedition to cross the Antarctic. The book was originally intended as a companion volume to the American Museum of Natural History’s 2011-12 exhibition, but can be read and enjoyed on its own.

The 1914 Trans-Antarctic Expedition, lead and organized by Ernest Shackleton, has captivated scholars and adventurers alike. Even now, a century on, it remains one of the greatest stories of human survival. The journey of the 27-...more
Kathy
Unbelievable story, but true. It's a page turner about this arctic adventure and it's just incredible that they ALL survived - it's incredible that ANY of them survived. Well written, interesting all the way through, quick read. Definitely worth it. Read a lot of it while we were staying in a yurt in the mtns and cross-country skiing - very appropriate!
George
Remarkable true story or courage bordering on delusion. Remarkable photography taken from 8x10 glass plates in double digit sub-zero conditions, some of which was buried under ice for months at a time before the photographer retrieved the film to resurrect should he ever make it home. Simply an amazing book and an amazing true story, expertly told
Seth Pierce
Great book, just a little dry in a couple places, but the photos make up for it. Considered the greatest survival story of all time, this book records the amazing adventure of Lord Shackleton and his crew. Shipwrecked in Antarctica, not one person perished against all odds in the "crystal desert."

Go buy it.
Dr. Hicham
I recommend this book for anyone in the midst of a very trying time in their life. It delivers perspective at its finest. The fact that every member of the crew survived this nightmare is unarguably a testament to Shackleton's commitment to leadership, life and his ability to inspire faith. These were not all men who were amiable social butterflies by nature, not by any stretch. No one is uplifted in the destruction of innocent animals or watching their ship, their shelter, their ticket home and...more
Lael
Just one word. Brrrrrrrr. The photos are amazing, and the story of survival intriguing. The real question that came out of this for me is "What makes a hero?"
Jon
Apr 22, 2008 Jon marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I began reading this at work and started getting really excited. The pictures are great.
Melissa Mcavoy

Grade Range: high school-adult
Awards: The ALEX Award

There is implicit romance and drama in Antarctic exploration and Shackleton’s 1914-17 Expedition may be the most epic of all. Attempting to be the first to cross the continent on foot, their ship, the Endurance, was trapped in the ice before they reached land. They survived for more than a year marooned on drifting floes, their position impossible and their ordeal only beginning. A desperate bid for rescue involved sailing a 22ft. boat across 8...more
Michelle
Dec 23, 2008 Michelle rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adventurers
I picked up this book by accident, thinking it was the Alfred Lansing account. I ended up reading them both, and am glad I had this version, from the Nat'l History Museum, to supplement the other. About a third of it is pictures, and they are amazing. The other, more famous book has only 4 or 5 slides. The text is very similar, with the Lansing version being a little bit more readable. An interesting tidbit I got from my chance reading of this book is that one of the famous pictures from the or...more
Cym Lowell
The story of the trek of Ernest Shackleton and his crew across Antarctica in 1914-1915 is told in this magnificent biography in a manner so that the reader feels a part of the crew. The trip was undertaken in the wooden ship Endurance with sails billowing and steam engines throbbing on its way into the icy domain of South Georgia and the South Pole. It was not the first mission to the frozen world.

Danger vested immediately as the ship was consumed by the icy forces of raw nature and the crew, in...more
Lori
Another of the books I read for my group dynamics class. We analyzed what it was about Shackelton that made him such a great leader in the face of adversity. The account exemplified qualities of effective leadership as well as important characteristics of group members.
Donald H. McGannon said: “Leadership is action, not position.” I found this quote to be very applicable to the message behind this book. Shackleton acted with determination as he made the welfare of his men his number one goal. H...more
Nancy
I read through the night to finish it. At 3am I thought I would put it down and go to sleep, but how could I leave Shackleton, Crean, and Worsley just as they were setting out on foot in a desperate bid to get to the nearest whaling station on the island of South Georgia in order to get help for the men they had left behind. In a sheer act of will, they cross 22 miles of treacherous uncharted territory, traversing mountains, ice, and glaciers. It takes them 36 hours, with only short intervals of...more
Chipauger
COMPELLING TALE OF HEROISM AND PRIVATION
The great majority of us would never agree to join an expedition such as the one described in Caroline Alexander’s account of the Shakelton-led party to cross Antarctica by land. Yet we are mesmerized by the feats of human endurance and courage we encounter in books such as this one. Not since reading John Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air” have I been brought to witness deeds and events such as these. If it wasn’t for Ms. Alexander’s obviously exhaustive research...more
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Caroline Alexander has written for The New Yorker, Granta, Condé Nast Traveler, Smithsonian, Outside, and National Geographic. She is the curator of "Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Expedition," an exhibition that opened at the American Museum of Natural History in March 1999. She lives on a farm in New Hampshire.
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