Brendan’s Alternate Tagline:

I would have just laid down and died.

Quick synopsis:

The story of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition of 1914–1917 led by Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

No one died from the Endurance. Read the book. They all should have.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

When the expedition returned home, there was very little fanfare. There was a little event happening called World War I.  

My Take:

Some people just get better at everything when an emergency happens. Sir Ernest Shackleton was one of those people.

In the history of Arctic and Antarctic exploration, the expeditions get a little silly after the poles were discovered. It then became a race of the first to do this, or the first to do that. For the Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition, the goal was to go across all of Antarctica. Why? Because no one else had done it. What does that accomplish? Shut up, that’s what.

What happens when you sail a wooden boat towards the poles? Generally, they get crushed. The Endurance was one of those ships. I won’t spoil any more than that.

Books which were written decades ago can be very dicey. Vernacular changes, people’s viewpoints change, and it can make a great book look pedestrian. Endurance is not one of those books. Lansing’s work is timeless in its simplicity and focus. Along with Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember, also from the 1950s, this book is amazing regardless of when you read it.


There may not be a better book on Arctic/Antarctic exploration. It is readable for anyone and truly a classic. Buy it here!

If You Liked This Try:

Endurance by Alfred Lansing