Staff Book Review: “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage”

Thanks to JCPL Acquisitions Clerk Michael Evanochko for sharing his thoughts on Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. Click here to borrow the book, ebook, or audiobook version from your Library.


If you are a lover of factual adventure stories, Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage is a must-read. It is the account of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 attempt to cross the Antarctic continent on foot with a crew of 27 men after their ship, the Endurance, became icebound.

To maintain the accuracy of this voyage, the book’s author, Alfred Lansing, spent endless days pouring over the personal diaries kept by crew members aboard the ship. Lansing was also able to interview the few surviving men, including the surgeon, Dr. Alexander H. Macklin, who was most instrumental in providing the missing pieces of this journey.

The end result is a brilliant exposé of the resiliency of man and his determination to achieve success against the cruelest of odds. From the command to abandon ship due to it being crushed by ice packs in the Weddell Sea, to all the on-the-spot decisions he made to ensure his crew’s safety as they literally leapt from one ice floe to another to stay afloat, Sir Ernest Shackleton displays the true qualities of a leader who fully understands his responsibilities and acts accordingly.

There are far too many examples of the dangers and challenges the crew faced not only from day to day, but moment to moment, to mention here. The journey lasted over two years, during which time the crew was given up as “lost at sea” by not only those back home in England, but also by all the sea-faring whalers who made their livelihoods in the treacherous waters of the Antarctic region.

Still, in the end Sir Ernest Shackleton proves that, “No matter what the odds, a man does not pin his last hope for survival on something and then expect that it will fail.”


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