Endurance – Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage

Alfred Lansing, decades after the event, interviewed the crew, had access to diaries, and built a fine story of what went on in 1915. I enjoyed this tale of survival, and recommend to anyone wanting a good “man-vs-nature” story. Shackleton wanted to be the first to cross the Antarctic. This is the story what happened instead.

Great opening line, “The order to abandon ship was given at 5pm.”

I am amazed at what the men went through, and how they stayed sane under horrible conditions…such as, “living in a smoky, dirty, ramshackle little hut with only just sufficient room to cram us all in: drinking out of a common pot…and laying in close proximity to a man with a large discharging abscess” (pg 212). They were trapped together for months, and eventually had said everything there was to say to each other.

Shackleton was a good leader, willing to do the horrible and dangerous jobs that everyone else had to do.

They endured because for them “life was reckoned in periods of just a few hours, or possibly only a few minutes – an endless succession of trials leading to deliverance from the particular hell of the moment.” (pg 226)

I’m not sure how I would fare in survival conditions. I pray that I would have a fraction of the strength that these men had.

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