Joanna Sundby's Reviews > Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

Endurance by Alfred Lansing
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Dec 31, 2011

it was amazing
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This book is truly a piece of history, as remarkable as the story itself. The author is quite clearly infatuated with Shackleton and the era of nationalist, ego dominated exploration that vanished forever with the world wars. His tale is as clean as the Antarctic ice; he doesn't even mention things like crude jokes, and other forms of male camaraderie (incidentally Shackleton, himself, disliked theses things.) All the same, the physical hardship and its grim details are captured with photographic precision, and the book is not "made nice", in anyway, other than its gentlemanly perspective. Lancing has a way of describing the wild Drake Passage that puts my hair on edge. It is a nonfiction book that reads like a fairy tale. I love this book and I made my son read it for a school project.

When I was a teenager I sailed Penobscot Bay with Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in a wooden pulling boat that was an exact replica of the James Caird. My instructor was nuts about Shackleton and it is from that experience that my sense of being an insider to this tale derives. I like this book better than the other accounts, but that is just personal prejudice, because my instructor liked this one best. It focuses on the physical doing of the feat more than the human emotions and squabbles among the crew. The other books about Shackleton are cool too, just not a s dedicated to preserving the perfect image of the expedition.
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