Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage

Alfred Lansing’s Endurance

Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 27 men have taken away my man card. Seriously.

I have never even remotely come into a situation as dire and desperate as the stranded crew of the Endurance. If I did, I’m sure I would curl up in the fetal position and just hope that it all works itself out. That being said, it wouldn’t be long before I would freeze to death or be killed and eaten by a sea leopard. However, if Shackleton was my captain, he could probably get more out of me then I would think possible.

In 1915, Shackleton and his crew were attempting to become the first to navigate the continent. Little did they know, they would run into some hellish circumstances that would push them to their absolute limit. Shortly after embarking on their arduous journey, the ship becomes trapped. Stuck for months, the ship eventually becomes crushed under the pressure of the surrounding ice. Faced with a “do or die” situation, Shackleton makes the call to lead the men in search of dry land.

For the life of me, I still cannot understand how they survived. However, I do realize that until you’re faced with a situation like this, you’re unable to imagine how you’ll react. Between the loss of limbs, the dire food situations, the difficult living conditions and the fear of never knowing if you’ll make it or not, I don’t know how they did it.

All of these men have an iron will, there’s simply no other way to explain it. It made me think about my day to day problems and how little they matter when you contrast it to being stranded at sea and living on ice flows for the better part of two years.

As good as this book was, I did feel it dragged at parts. I grabbed the audiobook of this and while Simon Prebble’s narration was excellent, I found parts were a little long winded. This is in no way a criticism of a real life situation, just maybe a tighter narrative would have been better.

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