Cover image for Spirit of Endurance : [the true story of the Shackleton Expedition to the Antarctic]
Spirit of Endurance : [the true story of the Shackleton Expedition to the Antarctic]
Armstrong, Jennifer, 1961-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Crown Publishers, [2000]

Physical Description:
32 pages : illustrations (some color), maps (some color) ; 37 cm
General Note:
Subtitle from cover.
Reading Level:
790 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.7 1.0 43792.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.1 4 Quiz: 22474 Guided reading level: NR.
Corporate Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
G850 1914.S53 A767 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



In August 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set out from England in an attempt to lead the first expedition across the Antarctic continent. What followed was one of the most extraordinary survival stories in history: a ship trapped and then wrecked by ice; an expedition marooned, first on the constantly shifting Antarctic pack, then on a remote, uninhabited island; a daring open boat journey across the world's most violent ocean; a trek over unmapped mountains; and finally an amazing rescue. Jennifer Armstrong's Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World received widespread praise and won the Orbis Pictus Award. Now she tells the Endurance story for a younger audience, in an oversize format with color paintings re-creating the detail and drama of the expedition's ordeal.

Author Notes

Jennifer Armstrong, a noted author of historical fiction, including "Black-Eyed Susan" & "The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan", lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.

(Publisher Provided) Jennifer Armstrong was born in 1961 in Waltham, Massachusettes. When she was two, her family moved to New York State. They also lived in Switzerland for a year. Armstrong attended Smith College where she majored in English and American Literature. She graduated in 1983.

After college, Armstrong worked for a publishing company in New York City. She quit to write full time. Armstrong has written over 50 books for kids and teens. She is the winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World. Many of her books have been designated as Notable Books by the American Library Association and the International Reading Association.

Armstrong also won the Knickernocker Award from the school librarians of New York.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-8. With several more detailed books about Shackleton's Imperial Transatlantic Expedition available (including Armstrong's own 1998 Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World), the question is do we really need another? If the text for this one hadn't been so clear, the answer would have been no. But this coffee-table size book provides an excellent outline of the extraordinary expedition, even injecting some anecdotal material along the way that will whet appetites for more about one of history's great survival stories. William Maughan's large paintings, both dramatic and impressive, will show up well in a small-group situation, but it's Frank Hurley's photos, taken during the expedition (several of which are also included here--many more are in Armstrong's other book), that are, in the end, the most fascinating. --Stephanie Zvirin

Publisher's Weekly Review

This distillation of Armstrong's Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World into picture book format masterfully foreshortens the key events of Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated expedition aboard the Endurance to Antarctica. Trapped in pack ice in January 1915, Shackleton and his crew survived for nearly a year in the frozen polar wasteland, then traveled 100 miles by open lifeboat to an uninhabited islet. Shackleton and a handpicked team sailed a further 800 miles "across the stormiest ocean in the world, facing 100-foot waves, bitter temperatures, and hurricane-force winds," then trekked across the uncharted mountains and glaciers of South Georgia Island to a whaling station. After several attempts, Shackleton took a Chilean steamer back to the islet and saved every member of his crew. Although the opening is a bit abrupt, Armstrong's account of these astonishing feats of fortitude ripples with drama. Only those who have read her longer version of the events will miss the copious quotes that capture the voices of the men and the colorful anecdotes (e.g., Hussey's banjo serenades) she brings so vividly to life in Shipwreck. The book's oversize format hints at the scope of Shackleton's larger-than-life adventure and provides a generous frame for an ample supply of maps, original photographs (including the famous shot of the ice-bound Endurance, her hull and rigging covered with a ghostly white frost) and Maughan's panoramic, wide-view paintings. The paintings cannot rival the intrinsic fascination of the photographs, but they are atmospheric and imposingly scaled. Their imaginations stirred, many readers will want to tackle her earlier volume for more of the story. Ages 8-10. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-Written for a younger audience than Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World (Crown, 1998), this book takes readers into the Antarctic ice pack with Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance. The slender, oversized format is enhanced by numerous black-and-white and sepia-toned photos taken on that ill-fated expedition, a map, plans of the Endurance, and a number of dramatic paintings. The robust prose is geared to the needs of the intended audience and is often superimposed on Maughan's large illustrations. This attractive, colorful work is comparable in reading level to K. M. Kostyal's powerful Trial by Ice (National Geographic, 1999), and presents a good picture of human survival under almost unimaginable conditions.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.