Lyceum — <no value>
Lyceum
title: Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage subtitle: A book about first Trans-Antartic Expedition created: 2020-01-12

Life was reckoned in periods of a few hours, or possibly only a few minutes–an endless succession of trials leading to deliverance from the particular hell of the moment. When a man was awakened to go on watch, the focal point of his existence became that time, four hours away, when he could slither back into the cold, wet rockiness of the sleeping bag he was now leaving.

As someone who has lived in cities, I don’t think I will ever truly be able to appreciate the colossal achievement of the crew of Endurance, or for that matter, I don’t think a majority of us would. The luxuries and conveniences of my daily life were really put into perspective while I was reading this harrowing tale for survival.

The book tells the story of one of the first Trans-Atlantic Expedition (an expedition to cross the Antarctic) undertaken by the crew of Endurance under the helm of Sir Ernest Shackelton in 1914 as a measure of doing something spectacular both for the British Empire and Shackelton. On December 5, the team departed the island, the last time Shackleton and his men would touch land for an astonishing 497 days. The Steam Boat christened Endurance became stuck in an ice floe and forced the crew to bail.

Thus their plight was naked and terrifying in its simplicity. If they were to get out–they had to get themselves out.

The book then follows their struggle to survive in one of the harshest and most inhospitable environments on the planet.

Try, try and try again until you succeed

Quotes like these were smart when I was little, life mottos when I was younger and then sentences to later cringe at in my adult life. Quotes and ideas similar to these have been told generation after generation through thousands of years and have been reduced to their gist and nothing about them is superfluous anymore, but they are lost in their effect on people because they have no reason to believe or trust in them and it’s books and stories like these that reinforce why we ought to. It’s a tale of human resilience, camaraderie, survival and hope, in the bleakest of situations.

This is absolutely one of the best books I’ve ever read.