Summary of Endurance

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Rating

9

Qualities

  • Applicable
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring

Recommendation

Alfred Lansing’s absorbing, timeless account of Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 expedition to Antarctica is a gripping true-adventure tale offering a detailed case study of effective crisis management during a relentless, ongoing emergency. Shackleton and his crew sailed to Antarctica in the ship Endurance with the intention of crossing the continent on foot. But the forces of nature at the edge of the world had other ideas. With their ship crushed in a dense ice pack, Shackleton and 27 men set up camp on an ice floe and, later, on an inhospitable island. Finally, Shackleton and a crew of five took one lifeboat on an 850-mile journey through the globe’s most violent seas to reach a remote outpost of civilization, and then returned to rescue those still on the island. Anyone interested in this history of exploration, the Antarctic region or how a great leader stimulates motivation, resourcefulness and teamwork will find Shackleton’s saga highly illuminating. 

About the Author

Alfred Lansing (1921–1975) was the editor of a weekly newspaper in Illinois, and later worked for the United Press and Collier’s.

 

Summary

In 1914, Ernest Shackleton led an expedition in an attempt to become the first to cross Antarctica on foot.

In December 1914, the ship Endurance set sail from a remote whaling station on an island off the southern tip of Argentina. It headed south toward Antarctica, where famed British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton hoped to lead the first crossing of the Antarctic continent on foot. Shackleton brought 26 crew members, almost 70 sled dogs, one stowaway and a cat. Even if everything went well, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition would be an unsparing test of the men’s courage and resourcefulness. Things didn’t go according to plan, and what followed was a nearly two-year adventure in one of the most unforgiving environments in the world. All 28 men survived, in large part thanks to Shackleton’s leadership: He molded them into a team, and induced them to push past their limits again and again.

Shackleton had participated in two Antarctic expeditions, but never reached the South Pole. That honor went to Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who beat Robert F. Scott’s British team in 1912. When Shackleton wrote a fundraising prospectus...


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