Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Book: Endurance

Mini book review: Endurance written by Alfred Lansing

The sensations of cold and wet were constant companions as I read Alfred Lansing's Endurance. Lansing tells an adventure story of the crew of the ship Endurance spending almost two years in the most forbidding icy cold and windy climate of Antarctica.

In 1914, Ernst Shackleton sailed from England in 1914 with the intent to cross the continent of Antarctica. In early 1915 the ship Endurance became lodged in an ice floe. Unable to extricate the ship, the 28 man crew was resigned to salvaging what they could from the Endurance before it was crushed by the ice. Soon they were living on an ice floe. Drifting with the ice flow for a long time, eventually they were able to launch their small boats heading to an island where they set up camp. Not much warmer, but it was land and not ice which frequently broke apart. From the island, Shackleton and just five others took a 22 foot boat braving the cold waters to get help at a whaling station on an island over 500 miles distant. They succeeded and then came back to rescue the 22 that were left at the island.

Using Endurance crew members' diaries and through skillful story telling, this book will keep you riveted. Although you know how the story ends, the author relates the two year long story of icy cold and wet. Lansing keeps the reader involved to the day when Shackleton returns to the island to rescue the remaining 22 crew members.

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