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)
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
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.
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
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!!
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.
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!
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.
Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy.
Tossing around the idea of getting this audiobook? Go for it. It's just another of those great books that sat too long in my library while I picked other, "more compelling" books to listen to (not!)
This true story documented by Alfred Lansing has everything. The story is impeccably researched using the men's day-to-day diaries. I felt like I was right there with them and started looking around for my down parka and vest. I could imagine so well what the daily grind was like, the discomfort, the hopefulness eventually fading to alarm and fear, the hunger, the tedium, and the seemingly endless misery.
As I continued, I gained a new found appreciation and admiration of Ernest Shackleton, the boat owner and captain of the polar expedition. As far as I am concerned, he is someone to be remembered, honored, and emulated for the expert way he led his men. He took care of all of their needs as best as he could and worked so diligently to keep the morale up. It appears he came from a time when moral fiber was more evident and more valued than it is today. (So sad for us.)
The story had different segments, all intriguing. We learn of how the expedition was conceived, the early parts up to the ship getting hopelessly stuck in the polar ice, the need for leaving the ship as the crushing ice floes prepared to take the ship down, camping on ice floes that were being destroyed gradually as their ship had previously been, the treks with the three heavy lifeboats, and Shackleton's attempt to rescue his men by using a rickety lifeboat that just should not have been able to survive the world's most treacherous seas. This last part was particularly engaging, and I get the feeling that miracles were occurring, deservedly so.
Add to this great true story an expert narrator, Simon Prebble, and you have an unforgettable listening experience. Prebble is such a pleasure to listen to that I simply must search out other books read by him. Lansing and Prebble combined to make one of my most memorable listening experiences.
So, if you have been undecided on this book, I say go for it.
(And if you love it as much as I did, continue on and get "Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World" by Joan Druett. This book details the true and intriguing story of two simultaneous shipwrecks and survival stories occurring in the Auckland Islands in the 1860's, equally well written and performed.)
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. . .
It had me completely hooked from the moment they set off and i often found myself looking for any opportunity to put my earphones in.
Simon Prebble does a great job of narrating this book, adding drama to the many tense moments throughout, the majority of which i found myself holding my breath through until the ordeal was over.
Of course, as well written and narrated as it is, the story is made by the feats of endurance of the men and the incredible adventure they find themselves on.
"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.
One of the greatest stories ever told of endurance and hope 100% recommend I didn't want it to end.
"Epic story. Very modern telling."
I didn't know a great deal beyond the basic facts prior to listening to this. It is an extraordinary story and both brilliantly told and narrated.
I felt that Shackleton was a slightly aloof, peripheral character throughout the book, but this gave scope for the heroism and endurance of all of the men to come through.
Couldn't get enough of this, blew me away; a remarkable tale of human endurance and courage.
"A most apt title, both for the ship and story!"
I wasn't familiar with the story of Shackleton's Antarctic expedition, so this played out like a true fictional drama to me-I had to keep reminding myself that the experiences of the crew were all too real. A truly incredible story, the feat of insurmountable spirit and endurance shown by these 'normal' men is inspirational. Even if you are familiar with the story I am sure the details of the trials faced and overcome won't be diminished. Awesome in the truest sense and narrated wonderfully.
"2016/1916. Hundred years ago. ?"
Extraordinary journey that should be celebrated, especially this year.
It's impossible to believe that all survived due to the self belief and tenacity of one man who somehow galvanised a group of men to keep believing they would prevail.
Proper leadership. Humbling.
Terrifically read too.
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