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.
"[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)
I could not stop listening to this absolutely amazing story- I listened to the whole 13 hours and 59 minutes in the course of 2 days! It is intense, well written, and Simon Prebble is, in my opinion, the best narrator on earth. I highly recommend this audiobook!!
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.
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.
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.
A magnificent book and well read. An extraordinary adventure which reveals the range of human capacities for endurance, teamwork, innovation, care for others, compassion and bravery. Bravery, bravery, bravery. It is almost impossible to comprehend the level of persistence shown by these stranded Antarctic explorers as they sought to escape from their immensely dangerous, if not impossible, predicament.
By way of tragic contrast, on the other side of the world, World War I raged where thousands upon thousands of humans killed each other for reasons they were not sure of.
Endurance is an accessible glimpse into a side of human nature that might inspire people who are feeling directionless and lost.
A fantastically well read and exciting story! Unputdownable too! From about the middle of the first part I had to keep on listening, Simon Prebble's narration is riveting
I read this book several years ago and was looking for a good book to listen to.
(The Help was so excellent it has raised my standards for audiobooks. I am finding it very difficult to listen to other books.)
Although I know the beginning, end and middle of the story, I am still anxious to finish it. I'm not sure how a book that has been already read can be suspenseful but it is.
The hardships that the men had to endure and how they faced it are amazing. The detail that the author included in the book is perfect - enough to understand the hardships and the backgrounds but not so much that it is boring and slow.
The narrator does an excellent job with pacing and with the different voices.
A thrill ride to hell and back. Excitingly written and narrated. I almost felt like I was there. Just when you think their situation can't get any more desperate, it does.
I usually never write a review but because this book was so good I had to say something about it. From the beginning to the end the story was very interesting and more because it was true. I think Hollywood should read this book and make a movie out of it instead of the garbage that they make today in Hollywood. You cannot imagine the hardships that these men suffered and the courage that they had don't miss this one you won't be sorry
The story of Sir Ernest Shackelton's attempt at a transcontinental crossing of Antarctica is simply riveting. It is far beyond modern comprehension how Shackelton and his crew accomplished what they did and survived to tell the tale. This version is very well written. The narrator does an excellent job of reading the story with the energy and enthusiasm it deserves -- without getting overly dramatic -- letting the story tell itself.
While there are other books that cover this famous expedition, this one seems to be very comprehensive and doesn't skip over a lot of details. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Kept my attention throughout the narrative, and I kept wondering how everyone in the expedition would survive such adversity.
I would give it 5 stars except I think the ending left me "hanging" a bit. I expected an epilogue or some type of follow-up with how the expedition members integrated back into society. (Or how society responded to their harrowing tale in the months/years that followed.) But it was not there.
I recommend it anyway for anyone who loves a great adventure story!
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.
"An amazing story, wonderfully told"
I thought that this audio book may be a little bit dry , maybe a bit too detailed without much emotion or human interest. I was wrong !
To me , there was a perfect balance between stark facts and personal stories to draw you into the narrative. I could never wait for the next opportunity to find out what had become of that party of men, stranded in the Antarctic.
Though I knew a very little about Shackleton himself, I was almost completely unfamiliar with the details of this episode previously. However, the situation, the environment and the individuals involved were all brought rapidly to life .
I feel that anyone with the slightest interest in this type of story will be delighted with this purchase. Personally, I enjoyed it so much, I will be listening to it again very soon. . .
"Endurance is a very apt title"
The ship and the men who sailed in her can certainly be given this epitaph. A superb read on how man can overcome even the harshest environments. Every minute of this book was an enjoyable read,only slightly let down by the sudden end. It would be good to have know what became of the men who survived this incredible journey
What a story. Brave, foolhardy, or plain
irresponsible, whatever your opinion after reading
this you will wonder how they did it. The reader
caught the right level of authority and awe. I just
couldn't put it down.
"The title says it all"
Yes, Simon Prebble's narration was perfect for the book
The ses crossing to South Georgia from Elephant Island
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
More the latter. That everyone survived...more or less...is astounding.
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.
It's hard to imagine a time when the world was unexplored and free from the trinkets of modern day life we all take for granted. Read this book and take a step back to when exploration was a life and death choice, witness the bravery of the people who took part, their resilience in the face of adversity and the ultimate awesome nature of what they did. This is a no holds barred epic story of achievement, resourcefulness and hope, which I'd recommend to anyone looking for a good book.
Why four stars overall? Well, the one thing that I noticed, other than how much I enjoyed the story, was that it had elements that, to a degree, repeated themselves. Was this bad? Not really. What it did do was emphasize the pace and mix of life on the ice. The story would probably have been poorer if it had been more precised. But, it was the one thing that occasionally made me want the next chapter of the story to unfold.
Don't let it put you off. Also, great narration.
"story of a heroic expedition"
clever use of tension/timing -- story starts with the disaster, then we learn about the people involved.
good vocal range, easy to keep listening to
the moment of arrival at the whaling base (even though I do know the historical story anyway)
One of the best books I have ever read, I don't think I've ever been so emotionally invested in a book. The narration is so well paced and exciting, incredible detail but not overloaded so as to remove you from the story. A brilliant account of a truly spectacular journey.
Brilliantly read, perfect voice for this book. His voices give the men real character but are not overdone. He builds tension perfectly and speaks at a good pace.
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