Author: Alfred Lansing
Genre: General Non-Fiction
# Pages: 288
Date Published: 1989
5-Star Rating: 4
Would you recommend it?: Yes
After a long hiatus from reading anything historical, a friend of mine casually mentioned a man named Sir Ernest Shackleton, the Anglo-Irish explorer who made four expeditions to the Antarctic, and the story piqued my interest. After a bit of research, I stumbled upon what a majority of reviewers call the greatest account of his fateful voyage, a small paperback titled Endurance. This account by Alfred Lansing tells the entire story of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition with detailed descriptions and suspense that I have never encountered before in the non-fiction genre. I personally believe these type of books are only worth reading again if they are filled with riveting details while maintaining historical integrity. Endurance exemplifies the best of both. When the crew begins to experience difficulties off the coast of South America, Lansing provides engrossing and bold descriptions of the situation at hand.
In preparing to write the novel, Lansing consulted nearly every first-hand written accounts of the expedition to retain accuracy and provide the reader with the most authentic account of what these men faced. The final chapter of the novel, and even the final page, try to derive a deeper meaning from this expedition gone awry. In doing so, the final words offer a profound account of what the most successful people in history have done in times of crisis.
Endurance transcends age groups and personal preferences. It is, by all means, the greatest account of survival I have ever read. I recommend it to anyone who needs a break from trying to check off books from the New York Times bestseller list, or wants a break from fiction altogether. The book offers a true, deeply moving and powerful instance of heroism, and provides an illuminating account of what it was like to explore what most regard as “ the last unexplored region of the world.”
Review by Harrison Kenner, CSOM '18