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This is unquestionably the most amazing tale of men against the elements that I have ever read or heard, and it is told remarkably well by Lansing who draws artfully from the actual diary entries of the participants without ever reducing the narrative to a dry progression of quotes. His ability to bring the harrowing conditions and landscape, the fascinating array of characters, and the grueling sequence of challenges and hairsbreadth escapes into sharp and riveting focus is quite extraordinary. Simon Prebble is a perfect match for the fine writing. He audibly sorts out the personalities involved and presents the whole with an understated but charged clarity which keeps the narrative moving even through what could seem like a never ending and tedious progression of disasters in the voice of a lesser reader.
Of course the real stars here are Shackleton and the men under his command who prove themselves capable of feats of courage, endurance and simple, stubborn determination which almost surpass belief. Ordinary and flawed in so many ways, they come together to become much more than the sum of their individual qualities.
In the end, the most fascinating part of this story is the long and torturous series of life and death choices involved. Time after time Shackleton's decisions are crucial to the party's survival, whether the question is when to abandon the pack ice for the boats, when to kill the dogs, when to allow the party to split, or how to get to the bottom of a nearly vertical snowbound precipice in order to avoid freezing at high altitude (think Butch Cassidy and Sundance). Nature is an implacable adversary for these men, marshaling countless terrifying storms, thirst, cold, hunger, completely unpredictable ice and long weeks of winter darkness against them and time after time crushing hope just as it seems most justified. Perhaps the most extraordinary decision of all, under the circumstances, was the choice each of them made to simply keep on keeping on when it seemed to make no sense
Finally, while this tale is exhausting in some ways, it is also deeply inspiring and satisfying. And Lansing and Prebble have given us the wonderful opportunity to "experience" it all while sitting in comfort and safety. Almost doesn't seem fair, but I strongly urge you to take advantage of the offer.
94 of 98 people found this review helpful
I just walked into the house after sitting in my Jeep in the driveway to finish off the last half-hour or so of this incredible book. Strangely enough, I couldn't wait for the book to be over, not because the book wasn't outstanding, but because I just wanted the trials and ordeals of these unfortunate but heroic men to be over. And as the story came into the last chapter and epilogue, I found myself almost brought to tears several times. At the risk of sounding ridiculously sentimental, this book brought into sharp contrast many of my own shortcomings and made me want to work to become a stronger and better person. I wonder if I would have survived.
158 of 169 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of Endurance to be better than the print version?
I can't directly compare the two as I haven't read the novel, but the narrator, Simon Prebble, does a truly wonderful job and he complements the novel perfectly.
What other book might you compare Endurance to, and why?
This is the first novel of its' kind that I've ever listened to and because I was so totally immersed in it, and captivated by it, I will be searching for more. The question is, will I find anything this good again? What a truly fantastic story of human courage and perseverance by every single member of this expedition. Not least of whom was Ernest H. Shackelton.
What about Simon Prebble’s performance did you like?
A great example of how to perfectly balance the re-telling of such an epic journey. No need for over-emphasis or over dramatisation because it seems that was just not the way of any of the members of this expedition. Heroes really,to a man but I daresay they would never have seem themselves that way.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes but mentally I could not have 'endured' it! I was exhausted just listening to it. How DID they live through this? I felt so humbled by their bravery. Endurance is the perfect title.
Any additional comments?
A novel full of heroes, each in their own way. Why anyone would risk putting themselves through this is a mystery to me still, but that fact did not detract in any way from my absolute admiration for Shackelton and his stoic men. What a great,great pity that this wasn't acknowledged at the time for being the pinnacle of achievement we all see it for today.We do indeed live in better and more enlightened times now.
10 of 13 people found this review helpful
This is a great account of a journey that would not be able to find a place in fiction because it would stretch credulity too far. The story of Shackleton's ill fated expedition is well known but even knowing the ending did not make this account any less gripping - it is rather like a pre-space age Apollo 13!
The reading is first rate and the reader draws out the personalities and underplays the performance to good effect. The events are dramatic enough on their own.
12 of 16 people found this review helpful
I listened to this book while driving across the blinding heat of the Australian desert, and found myself so transported by this incredible story of survival, that I could almost feel the icy chill of the Antarctic pack ice! Beautifully narrated (though Hurley’s Aussie accent is a little bit dodgy!)
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in hearing one of the greatest stories of survival and leadership. Full of tension, great characters and a truly white knuckle tension.
This is the most exhilarating non-fiction book I have ever listened to. Simply amazing story. This audio production brings the adventure to life in a visceral and dramatic way - it feels like you were there. Highly recommended.