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Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  109,116 ratings  ·  7,911 reviews
The harrowing tale of British explorer Ernest Shackleton's 1914 attempt to reach the South Pole, one of the greatest adventure stories of the modern age.

In August 1914, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded 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
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published 1999 by Carroll & Graf Publishers (first published 1959)
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Eddie Horton Because the author understood that a 'single' account of the disastrous voyage would be biased. - Especially the leader's own account. - Also, Lansing…moreBecause the author understood that a 'single' account of the disastrous voyage would be biased. - Especially the leader's own account. - Also, Lansing wanted the reader to know the crew as intimately as the leader. - He spent years investigating, interviewing, researching... He also noted that members of the crew kept very good journals themselves. - He noted that there would be contradicting accounts and that he had to insert his own opinion at times to resolve some of those... Bottom line is the fact that there were 28 souls involved in this fateful, harrowing and epic journey and they all had a story.(less)
Lo The famous Mallory quote you're referencing was a joke. The real reasons for people doing the unfathomable are almost always impossible to explain in …moreThe famous Mallory quote you're referencing was a joke. The real reasons for people doing the unfathomable are almost always impossible to explain in a trite interview format, to a person who inherently doesn't get that drive because they don't possess it themselves.

His actual reason for his completely irrational attempts at Everest is perhaps better revealed by another quote of his, "Have we vanquished an enemy? None but ourselves."

Self-mastery and discipline are lofty goals, but indeed are primarily the concern of those so fortunate and privileged as to worry about them, as opposed to those who struggle for survival without needing to pursue new challenges. It's totally fair to not want to partake of that kind of story, but it's not accurate to presume that anyone just climbs a huge mountain or journeys to a hostile, frozen wasteland because they have nothing to do.

As for what challenges are available to us in the modern age, I'd hazard that there are more than there used to be. It's true that there aren't the same large physical frontiers, and it's increasingly hard to do something that hasn't been done before, or be the most superlative at anything in a world with billions of humans. But the increased complexity of our society affords nearly infinite possibilities to those who want to be bold, to live authentically, to pursue new horizons, etc.

Whether there's any point to all that is as dubious as it's ever been, but the history of humanity's progress has never made much room for asking "why?"(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
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
oh my god i feel like i haven't written a review in ages.

goodreads.com, 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
Update 3/9/2022
The wreck of HMS Endurance had been found TODAY by Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust and History Hit, four miles from where captain Frank Worsley said it sank. It's said to be intact and in good condition. See link and photo below.
Remarkable! A riveting survival story and unbelievable adventure.

Ernest Shackleton and 27 of his crew against all odds endure the hardship of Antarctica after The Endurance was stuck in ice. They didn't give up. She drifted and was crushed.
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A captivating and inspiring tale of exploration, human endurance and survival.

In 1914 Sir Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 men set sail for the South Atlantic on board a ship called the Endurance. The expedition was to cross the Antarctic overland. In October of 1915 the ship became trapped and crushed in Ice and the crew now half a continent away from their intended base became castaways in one of the most hostile regions in the world.

I have had this book on my TBR list for quite awhile and
Andrew Smith
I've read my share of leadership texts over the years – an occupational necessity for a while – and a name I came across more than once was Ernest Shackleton. Some sources reckoned him to be possibly the greatest leader that ever lived. Well that’s some claim and it’s something I knew I'd have to look into sooner or later. So when I came across this book, originally published in 1959, the time had finally arrived.

I knew that the man was an Antarctic explorer but precious little else. I soon lear
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
Jun 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
5 magnificent stars!!!

This book just about killed me! Holy Cow, Holy Cow! I must have burned 1000 calories reading this one; my legs were jiggling like crazy, my fingernails were bitten to the quick, my heart was just a’going. I must have yelled Holy Cow a million times. Endurance has suddenly shot in the lead for the title of my book of 2021. Quite a feat as I’ve read some big winners already.

Go in as cold as you can. As framework for the read, the Endurance is the ship Ernest Shackleton and t
Julie G
I am almost unable to express my feelings about this amazing and unbelievable story. I finished the last paragraph with tears running down my face and shaking my head in disbelief.

If this were a work of fiction, you'd barely believe it, but you'd credit Alfred Lansing for his story-telling and imagination.

It's not fiction, and you can't help but find yourself in a perpetual state of awe over these men and their optimism, faith, humor, determination, and endurance.

I felt quite unworthy on every
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, overdrive
Although this book was nonfiction, it read like a thriller. The author interviewed survivors of the ill-fated 1914 expedition to Antarctica and also used some of their diaries as his source material. I wanted to learn a little about this expedition after seeing a play in which Ernest Shackleton was a character. (It was actually a strange little musical, and not particularly good, but it managed to pique my interest.)

Shackleton was a flamboyant, arrogant adventurer, who was interested in fame, gl
Woman Reading (on hiatus)
Fortitudine vincimus—“By endurance we conquer.”

I listened to Endurance in October, exactly 105 years after the ship Endurance was crushed by the ice pack in the Weddell Sea, off of the continent of Antarctica. It took less than a month before the ship succumbed to its watery grave, but Shackleton's crew had already abandoned hope of accomplishing their original goal.
Thus their plight was naked and terrifying in its simplicity. If they were to get out - they had to get themselve
Lansing has done a fantastic job of his painstaking research to bring this book to life. The level of detail, and personal detail he has been able to include is testament to his poring over the diaries of the men, extracting the detail and pulling it into a coherent context.

The story is well known enough - Shackleton's 1914 Imperial Trans Antarctic Expedition set out from England in the Endurance upon the outbreak of war, having offered the ship and crew into naval service, and been asked by Chu
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
*2.5 stars*

Other than the bazillion amounts of bonus points that I got from my history-loving father for reading this one, I found Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to be a little underwhelming.

Honestly, it's a fascinating story and a true testament to the will of man, but it is also extremely repetitive. Though the narrator was very good, I had trouble keeping my attention on the story as the guys killed another seal and were cold... again... for hours and hours of listening time on e
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
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While reading this novel, I never ceased to feel amazed at the courage of the group of men who undertook a voyage into most unfriendly regions on our planet more than 100 years ago, and who dared to dare. I feel thankful to those who travelled to the place where I'd never venture. Film based on this novel with Kenneth Branagh is worth watching, the novel is much more terryfing, though. ...more
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is quite the tale, what a crazy adventure! Endurance tells the story of Shackleton and his crew and their Arctic expedition. The men ran into more than their fair share of trouble, to put it lightly. The book is fascinating and really shows you the incredible power of human resilience and tenacity. Perfect for an armchair traveler, it read like a novel and I couldn't put it down!

Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com
Natalie Vellacott
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, biography
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 sur
Sara (taking a break)
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.

Wow, who knew an account of a failed expedition across Antarctica could be so emotional. I feel I crossed a continent with these men and that I was cold an
Diane S ☔
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019, 5000-2019
Thoughts soon.
Laura Noggle
10/5 ⭐️'s: An exciting, epic battle of survival; Stoicism to the nth degree. Truly incredible. 🏆

“The ship had been named the Polaris. After the sale, Shackleton rechristened her Endurance, in keeping with the motto of his family, Fortitudine vincimus—"By endurance we conquer."

Easily one of my all-time favorite books—ever—it's not hard to see why astronaut Scott Kelly brought it with him to the ISS not once, but twice. Although I hazily remembered Shackleton's voyage from history class, it wasn't
Carmel Hanes
Jul 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I'm a wimp. I'm spoiled. I would never make it in a catastrophe. I whine when the air conditioner goes out on a hot day, or the power goes out, leaving me with no lights or stove upon which to cook.

I'm not worthy.

This book, this true life story, proves it to me on every page. "Incredible" does not even begin to describe what these hardy souls endured and overcame. If this was purely fiction, the reader would begin to accuse the author of embellishment, or downright melodramatic overkill. But i
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Endurance’ is Alfred Lansing’s very thorough, workmanlike but effective and affecting – at times moving account of Shackleton’s ‘Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic’.

For anyone who is not familiar this story – quite simply, this must be the greatest true story of survival against all the odds and is simply unparalleled in our times.

The book, as the expedition, is a sobering, frightening story of unrelenting suffering, challenges on a super-human scale, seemingly unrelenting and insurmountable ob
Allison Keith
Mar 12, 2022 rated it it was amazing
When I saw the news about the HMS Endurance being found over 100 years after it sank in the Weddell Sea off of Antarctica, I was once again captured by this astonishing story of survival and human resilience. The story of Shackleton’s voyage captured my imagination the first time I heard it as a girl, and revisiting one of my favourite expedition stories with Alfred Lansing’s book seemed particularly fitting.

This is a tale of courage and perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds
TS Chan
I am in awe and in tears.

The ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition aboard the Endurance has got to be one of the most phenomenal survival stories that will last through the ages. The conditions that beset the crew of the Endurance were brutal and harrowing beyond my imagination. I don't think that even a fiction writer could have conjured up the unbelievably horrific circumstances that were endured, and survived, by Shackleton and his men.

On the book itself, the narrative was written by
Otis Chandler
Fascinating tale of Shackleton's incredible voyage and how he lead his crew out of it. Learned about the antarctic and ice floes, but mostly learned about the grit these men displayed in surviving.

The first thing that struck me was that despite their situation being arguably hopeless, and the fact that they were wearing wet clothes and sleeping in wet sleeping bags half the time, their spirits seemed up. This was impressive, and is the kind of thing that can only come from the top.

Shackleton ma
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'm sorry. I know this is an incredible survival story, but I have to call bulls**t. This is being advertised as a story of "leadership" and "heroism" when it's more like the opposite. I used to be OK with letting such stuff go as a "conversation starter" but I now think such fuzziness is too dangerous.

Shackleton plans the expedition for the sake of a publicity stunt that he hopes will make him rich. He picks his crew "capriciously." He "hypocritically" adds a science component. He ignores advi
Ms. Smartarse
Ernest Shackleton has long since wanted to be the first in some South Pole related expedition, but somehow other people kept accomplishing things before he even managed to get out of the harbor. Until the (ill-)fated year of 1914, when he finally sets out to cross the South Pole from west to east, aboard the Endurance.

Unfortunately, his ship gets stuck in ice in the Weddel Sea, long before he reaches land, and the crew ends up spending close to a year stuck there, hoping to forge a way through t
Aug 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
“Oh, boy!” I thought that this cold-weather adventure story was just what I needed in the midst of a July-August hot spell. Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage would be a real treat. I imagined that Alfred Lansing’s fiction account of Ernest Shackleton’s trans-Antarctic venture back in 1914 would be just the escape I was looking for. I had NO IDEA.

Endurance is no cozy escape story, and even though its sailors eventually became castaways, this is nothing at all like “Gilligan’s Island.”
Fred Shaw
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Endurance, Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing, Narrated by Simon Prebble, Blackstone Audio Book

This is an incredible account of a December, 1914, British Antarctic expedition of 28 men and their venture to sail to the Weddell Sea. They were to land a shore party near Vahsel Bay, in preparation for a transcontinental march via the South Pole to the Ross Sea. They never made it to the starting point. Halfway there they were caught in ice floes and the ship was eventually crushed and
Dec 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jay Schutt
Mar 23, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On August 1, 1914 the aptly named ship "Endurance" left London harbor with a crew of 28 men led by Ernest Shackleton. They formed the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition which was to be the first to traverse the entire continent of Antarctica on foot.
The author has written this adventure and survival story based on diaries and personal interviews of some of the crew members. It is extremely well-written and describes the bleakness of the landscape and the unimaginable perseverance of the "Endura
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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.


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