by Alfred Lansing
Our first Sticky Book of 2017!! It’s here!
If you are unfamiliar with Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team’s attempt to cross the Antarctic continent in 1914, the story is wonderful and harrowing and beautiful and devastating. Alfred Lansing does an exceptional job recounting the struggle that Shackleton and his 28-man crew endured for nearly two years. Originally published in 1959, the book is a classic you should definitely pick up in 2017.
“In some ways they had come to know themselves better. In this lonely world of ice and emptiness, they had achieved at least a limited kind of contentment. They had been tested and found not wanting.”
“Of all their enemies — the cold, the ice, the sea — he feared none more than demoralization.”
“In that instant they felt an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment. Though they had failed dismally even to come close to the expedition’s original objective, they knew now that somehow they had done much, much more than ever they set out to do.”
“We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that Nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.”
“Unlike the land, where courage and the simple will to endure can often see a man through, the struggle against the sea is an act of physical combat, and there is no escape. It is a battle against a tireless enemy in which man never actually wins; the most that he can hope for is not to be defeated.”
“In all the world there is no desolation more complete than the polar night. It is a return to the Ice Age— no warmth, no life, no movement. Only those who have experienced it can fully appreciate what it means to be without the sun day after day and week after week. Few men unaccustomed to it can fight off its effects altogether, and it has driven some men mad.”
“The rapidity with which one can completely change one’s ideas . . . and accommodate ourselves to a state of barbarism is wonderful.”
“No matter what the odds, a man does not pin his last hope for survival on something and then expect that it will fail.”
Sticky Books are those that you just can’t get out of your head. They stick with you long after you have put the book down and have moved on to something else. These are some of my Sticky Books. I don’t enjoy reviewing books myself. I find I am either full of far too much praise for the book because I know how difficult it can be to write a book, or I am far too negative about a book because, well, I guess I was just in a bad mood. So instead of reviews, I have pulled some of my favorite quotes from each Sticky Book.
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