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Publisher's Summary

This is a new reading of the thrilling account of one of the most astonishing feats of exploration and human courage ever recorded.In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.Lansing describes how the men survived a 1,000-mile voyage in an open boat across the stormiest ocean on the globe and an overland trek through forbidding glaciers and mountains. The book recounts a harrowing adventure, but ultimately it is the nobility of these men and their indefatigable will that shines through.
©1959 Alfred Lansing; (P)2007 Blackstone Audo, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

Nominee, 2008 Audie Award, Nonfiction, Unabridged
"[O]ne of the most extraordinary tales of heroism and determination in the history of exploration....Prebble's narration will bring to life the despair, elation, and sheer will of these men to survive, and to triumph, together." (AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By David on 01-19-14

Superb in so many ways

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.

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91 of 95 people found this review helpful

By Thomas Allen on 09-17-08

The best book I've had

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.

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155 of 166 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By M on 05-27-17

True Heroics

Set against our present age of hyped-up sporting "triumphs", celebrity vloggers and x-factor instant successes, this is a story of truely heroic behaviour. After setting the last great goal of antarctic exploration (walking from one side to the other), Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team of twenty seven assorted seamen, scientists, artists and adventurers face one set-back after another. They accept appalling suffering, and an endlessly diminishing sense of security as the expedition is first icebound, then cast adrift on a frozen sea with little but the clothes they are wearing. Although the leadership of Shackleton looms large in every episode, his eventual accomplishment is only really possible because of the extraordinary crew he had formed, and their ability to "grunt and go" never fails to amaze. Even the most flawed of them appears almost superhuman in modern terms.

This account was published in the 50s, and offers exceptional practical detail, even if it does brush too lightly over some of the interpersonal antagonisms that coloured the men's experiences. A near mutiny by the ship's carpenter McNish, is a particularly sad story that is not followed to its conclusion, and the somewhat selfish Thomas Orde-Lees is let off surprisingly gently, being treated largely as the camp clown.

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5 of 6 people found this review helpful

By Angela on 12-09-14

The title says it all

Would you consider the audio edition of Endurance to be better than the print version?

Yes, Simon Prebble's narration was perfect for the book

What was one of the most memorable moments of Endurance?

The ses crossing to South Georgia from Elephant Island

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The crossing of the interior of South Georgia - simply incredible with the equipment they had - but then they had just done the impossible, getting to South Georgia in a small boat across one of the most hazardous stretches of sea in the world

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

More the latter. That everyone survived...more or astounding.

Any additional comments?

The story is largely based on diary extracts from the members of the expedition so it is very detailed at times; perhaps too much so, which is why i only gave the book 4 stars. The book perhaps flatters Shackleton more than some others have done so, but gives a great sense of the expedition and the enormous pressures involved in leading it throughout the many travails faced.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Anonymous User on 01-08-18

An amazing tale from the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration!

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.

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By Michael Rafferty on 10-22-17

Amazing adventure

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.

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