The story of how Shackleton and his crew were able to survive for two years in one of the most brutal environments on earth is an unbelievable story of perseverance. Alfred Lansing narrates the tale of the Endurance with a sense of detail that brings it to life. He had access to multiple diaries written by the men who lived through this journey and was able to interview several survivors. His research gives the book a nuance that other books about this expedition lack.
In August 1914 the 28 man crew of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition set sail from England aboard the three masted ship Endurance. The goal was to cross Antarctica. They got their first taste of trouble when the Endurance became trapped and eventually crushed by ice in the Weddell Sea.
After the ship sank they were left stranded on ice floes and eventually an island. They were faced with endless hardships and misery in a place that few people have ever set foot in. The author, Alfred Lansing, is a master storyteller who manages to keep the reader riveted throughout the long stretches of misery and suffering. He also weaves in the daily routine and small thoughts of individual members of the crew to give you a sense of their personalities and their roles on the ship. It is clear that the crew held a great respect for and trust in their leader, Ernest Shackleton.
This book is an incredible tale of survival and a fascinating look at the limits of human will power. It is a must read for anyone interested in naval history or adventure stories.