Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Endurance: Shakleton's Incredible Voyage" by Alfred Lansing

I selected this audiobook because I was not familiar with the details of Shackleton's expedition. I knew he was an antarctic explorer of some kind, but that was all.

Summary: This is the story of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition headed by Sir Ernest Shackleton. Lansing has interviewed crew members and read their diaries to piece together the story from start to finish. The story is told in dramatic fashion to match the drama of the journey. It is as though at every turn nature is trying to wipe these 28 men off the bottom of the map and it is only by hard work and a dribble of luck that they make it back to civilization.

As the story is now 100 years old, I can't be accused of spoiling it, so here's the basic plot. Shackleton is looking to be one of the great First's on the icy continent. Someone was already the first to reach the pole, and so he is planning to be the first to trek across the whole landmass. They are to go to the pole and then leave the continent on the other side. A separate expedition is organized to stash supplies on their exit route from the pole so that they need only bring half the gear with them. They take the ship the Endurance into the antarctic ocean and are trapped in ice. They eventually abandon ship and make camp. Shackleton and a small team then takes a lifeboat back across the ocean in search of help. This book follows the hardships and accomplishments of the men who stayed behind and the men who risked everything to save them.

What I Liked: This story has all the terror and excitement found in a sci-fi or fantasy book, and with the added bonus of being true! It is told in a very clear and direct manner so that you feel like the adventure is unfolding before you. Each chapter I was imagining myself alongside the men and wondering what I would do in their shoes. I got excited when they had good luck and became worried when things grew worse. Lansing is great at making the scene real.

What I Didn't Like: N/A.

Rating: Must Read.

Also Read by this Author: None.

Reviewed by: Nick

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