I thoroughly loved this book. I don't normally seek out these "true-life adventures" but the other reviews were so positive that I decided to give it a try. It was absolutely tremendous. It was so unbelievable that no one would even think of putting half of the things that happened into a novel. I literally spent every night during the time period I was listening to this book reflecting about the trials and tribulations of the men of the Endurance and wondering how I would do in similar circumstances. It was a profoundly emotional experience with this book.
The writing is quite good and the narrator keeps the story moving along while keeping the "you are there" sense of the book.
I highly recommend this book.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Following Sir Ernest Shackleton and his intrepid crew as they struggle to survive with their humanity and bodies intact in places where human beings have no business being was a fascinating experience: head shaking, mind boggling, hair raising, moving, and unforgettable.
Author Alfred Lansing weaves throughout his absorbing account the actual journal entries of several of the men that express their different personalities and provide different points of view on their grueling plights. The descriptions of the incredibly alien Antarctic landscapes (snow, pack ice, ice bergs, glaciers, giant sheer cliffs, and oceans churned by powerful currents, violent storms, and hundred foot waves) in incredibly inhospitable conditions (rain, sleet, hail, and blizzards whipping snow and shards of ice and rock every which way) are beautiful, sublime, and terrifying by turns. The wildlife (penguins, seals, sea leopards, whales, and the like) are so at home relative to the pathetic pygmy human interlopers, and yet the very foolishness and fragility of Shackleton and his men, whose original mission to become the first human beings to cross the Antarctic continent fails in the first chapter of the book, achieve a heroic grandeur as their plight becomes grimmer and grimmer. Many of the images persist in my mind long after finishing the book, like one moment when, during an intense storm at sea a giant albatross with a twelve-foot wingspan spirals up and down with lazy grace through the hurricane force winds to check out Shackleton and his men as they are frantically working to keep their boat from foundering???
And Simon Prebble delivers an excellent reading of the book, enhancing with his rich voice the humor, pathos, terror, exhilaration, frustration, disappointment, and resolution of the characters even as he speaks in their varied dialects of English.
This book really is an Incredible Voyage, and is surely the most exciting history book I???ve ever read.
Male. Mammal. High school equivalency graduate. I like fruit and I just got a haircut. I would describe myself as somewhere between Christmas and being buried alive.
I was familiar with Shackleton's story, having read Caroline Alexander's book, The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition.
Having read both, I am convinced that Lansing's is far better. If you read only one book on the subject, read this one instead of Caroline Alexander's book [Just to be fair to Caroline Alexander, I loved her book about the Mutiny on the Bounty and I wish that Audible would release it in unabridged length].
Now on to the book itself. You can read many other reviews if you want a plot summary. In a nutshell, this is a story of survival and endurance nonpareil. I read this book because I was feeling sorry for myself at the time. I just finished the book and I no longer feel that way.
The writing and narration are superb. I have read many audiobooks and this is one of my favorites. This book flew by and held my interest throughout.
I am left with a keen interest to see the James Caird boat which is on display in the U.K.
I admit I had no knowledge of, or particular interest in, the polar expeditions but was interested enough in the travel and adventure to listen to this book. The first half was a bit of a slog, as they hit bad luck pretty quickly and the day in and day out trying to wait out the pack ice holding them captive was slow going.
But the second half, as Shackleton leaves his crew behind to try to make it to any semblance of civilisation and eventual rescue is staggeringly impressive; it is only a series of extraordinary decisions made by Shackleton that allowed them to survive. And perhaps a few miracles, too: e.g. stuck on a razorback mountain with the temperatures dropping below zero, guaranteed to freeze to death if they stayed or tried to turn back, he chose to slide with his two men into the completely unseen, fogged in, precipice below - and against all odds they actually survived this without a scratch, picked themselves up and kept going!
The narration was utterly gripping, well paced with the action and emotion, a fantastic job. I was shaking for some time after finishing this, my heart was still pounding so hard and I could hardly catch my breath; I could only think 'men used to be like this!' Now I want to know everything about all the polar explorers because this is a breed of men I have never encountered. Shackleton is my new hero: he had a genius for survival and leadership, and he returned to rescue all his men without loss of life. Incredible. This is an exceptional story about human nature.
Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher.
A beautifully written book about an unbelievable adventure. I just can't believe what these guys went through, and that all of them lived to tell about it is beyond belief. I felt like I was right there with them through the whole ordeal. If you like survival stories, this one will rock your sox.
Great Story, on a great man.
Any fiction story who would try to match it would be so unreliable.
I've listened to hundreds of audio books and typically go for great mysteries. But this was one of the most gripping stories I have ever heard - I was gasping and cheering out loud! Simon Prebble's narration was truly magnificent and the story is beyond fascinating and incredible.
This is a book I think everyone should listen to - for the lessons in leadership, loyalty, and the amazing human spirit. I don't know how this would play out if it happened today - far worse I suspect.
If you are considering this one - please, please get it - you will not be sorry.
I had never heard of this expedition or Ernest Shackleton, so I had no clue what I was in for. The synopsis made it sound interesting enough to try. I was not disappointed! The story is captivating; I couldn't stop listening for wanting to know what was going to happen next. The author did a top-notch job of weaving in excerpts from the men's diaries with narrative of the facts of the adventure. Simon Prebble has done a superb job of narration. His voice inflection and tone enhanced the story. I felt as if I were right there experiencing the harrowing journey along with Shackleton and his men. I would highly recommend this book to those interested in adventure or history.
I enjoyed this book, but it took me a bit. I only say that because I found "Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World" by Jennifer Armstrong to be more engrossing.
This is a very comprehensive account of the expedition ("Shipwreck" is more cinematic and prosaic, where this book is more of a documentary), and it was great to get more in depth with the true tale of an incredible expedition.
My only criticism is that the book is a bit on the dry side (which, as a historical account, can be expected to some extent), but the narration was wonderful and managed to really pull me in in spite of the text itself.
I read this book long ago, but to rean and hear it is even better. The narration to me made these adventurers trials and tribulations come to life. These were men of great courage and resolve with nary a dissenter in the ranks. Their positive attitude even in the most dire situation is an example to today's negative viewpoint on life. Many can learn and see how others conquer adversity in the one of the most inhospitable places on earth.