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Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyageby Alfred Lansing
Synopses & Reviews
Days before the outbreak of World War One renowned explorer Ernest Shackleton and a crew of twenty-seven set sail to attempt the first crossing on foot of the Antarctic continent. More than eighty miles from their destination, however, their ship Endurance was trapped and then crushed by ice. The crew were left stranded on ice blocks, set adrift as castaways for the next five months in the most savage of climates and terrain. After five months in open boats on freezing seas, tackling overland treks across savage glaciers the crew made it to safety, astonishingly without one single life lost. First published in 1959, and a bestseller ever since, Alfred Lansing's Endurance is not only the best of the many books about Shackleton's famous 1915 expedition, it is also one of the best - and most popular - adventure books ever written. Lansing consulted with ten of the surviving members and gained access to diaries and personal accounts by eight others to produce this remarkable account of a daily struggle just to stay alive. This is a tale of human courage, inspirational leadership and one of the most riveting stories ever told.
In August 1914, days before the outbreak of the First World War, the renowned explorer Ernest Shackleton and a crew of twenty-seven set sail for the South Atlantic in pursuit of the last unclaimed prize in the history of exploration: the first crossing on foot of the Antarctic continent. Weaving a treacherous path through the freezing Weddell Sea, they had come within eighty-five miles of their destination when their ship, Endurance, was trapped fast in the ice pack. Soon the ship was crushed like matchwood, leaving the crew stranded on the floes. Their ordeal would last for twenty months, and they would make two near-fatal attempts to escape by open boat before their final rescue.
Drawing upon previously unavailable sources, Caroline Alexander gives us a riveting account of Shackleton's expedition — one of history's greatest epics of survival. And she presents the astonishing work of Frank Hurley, the Australian photographer whose visual record of the adventure has never before been published comprehensively. Together, text and image re-create the terrible beauty of Antarctica, the awful destruction of the ship, and the crew's heroic daily struggle to stay alive, a miracle achieved largely through Shackleton's inspiring leadership.
The survival of Hurley's remarkable images is scarcely less miraculous: The original glass plate negatives, from which most of the book's illustrations are superbly reproduced, were stored in hermetically sealed cannisters that survived months on the ice floes, a week in an open boat on the polar seas, and several more months buried in the snows of a rocky outcrop called Elephant Island. Finally Hurley was forced to abandon his professional equipment; he captured some of the most unforgettable images of the struggle with a pocket camera and three rolls of Kodak film.
Published in conjunction with the American Museum of Natural History's landmark exhibition on Shackleton's journey, The Endurance thrillingly recounts one of the last great adventures in the Heroic Age of exploration — perhaps the greatest of them all.
In December 1914 Sir Ernest Shackleton and a crew of twenty-seven men set sail from South Georgia for the South Pole aboard the Endurance, the object of their expedition to cross Antarctica overland. A month later the ship was beset in the ice of the Weddell Sea, just outside the Antarctic Circle. Temperatures dropped to 35 degrees Celsius below zero. Ice-moored, the Endurance drifted northwest for ten months before it was finally crushed. The ordeal, however, had barely begun. Now illustrated with expedition photographer Frank Hurley's breathtaking images of the crew, the wildlife, the stark beauty of the land and terrors of the sea at every stage of this grueling adventure, Alfred Lansing's already compelling narrative assumes even more staggering dramatic power in its depiction of the heroic endurance of Shackleton and his twenty-seven indefatigably courageous men.
Bound for Antarctica, where polar explorer Ernest Shackleton planned to cross on foot the last uncharted continent, the Endurance set sail from England in August 1914. In January 1915, after battling its way for six weeks through a thousand miles of pack ice and now only a days sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice.
For ten months the ice-moored Endurance drifted northwest before it was finally crushed. But for Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men the ordeal had barely begun. It would end only after a near-miraculous journey by Shackleton and a skeleton crew through over 850 miles of the South Atlantics heaviest seas to the closest outpost of civilization.
This astonishing tale of survival by Shackleton and all twenty-seven of his men for over a year on the ice-bound Antarctic seas, as Time magazine put it, defined heroism.” Alfred Lansings brilliantly narrated book has long been acknowledged as the definitive account of the Endurances fateful trip.
About the Author
Caroline Alexander has written for the New Yorker, Granta, Condé Nast Traveler, Smithsonian, Outside, and National Geographic, and is the author of four previous books. She is the curator of "Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Expedition," an exhibition that will open at the American Museum of Natural History in March 1999. She lives on a farm in New Hampshire.
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