A FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL: ANTARCTICA
Once in awhile you run across a book of fiction that seems so unrealistic you scoff, thinking that’s impossible. The events seem like something embellished for a major movie production. Then you remember the story is true.
Endurance is a book like that.
It is the story of Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the ship called appropriately, ”Endurance,” written by Robert Lansing in 1959. Because it is part of history, the telling loses nothing over the decades since first publication.
The Endurance left South Georgia in December of 1914. Within six weeks it became trapped in the ice of Antarctica It wasn’t until August 30, 1916 that all of the men were finally rescued. Between those dates were days and months of trials that most of us will never face.
- On the ship, listening to the wood creak and crack and the ice pushed inward.
- On ice floes that would crack and begin to break up beneath their tents.
- In open lifeboats for weeks, crossing the icy, inhospitable sea.
- Reaching land, finally, only to find rescue still out of reach.
- Climbing icy mountain peaks to reach civilization.
- Then, Shackleton’s three failed attempts to rescue the remaining crew, before they finally succeed.
I’ve always been fascinated of survival stories that take place in harsh climates. How so many live through the temperatures alone is miraculous, but what they do, how they manage is often remarkable. Perhaps that is why Endurance kept me riveted through every difficult step of their journey. The story stayed with me long after I’d read the last page.
It includes the timeline showing the months spent on the ship, then camping on the ice floes, then at sea in lifeboats. Seeing the dates, realizing how long their journey to safety lasted, make it all the more profound. Every single person aboard made it home alive. They surely lived up to the name of the ship.