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Extended Audio Sample Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance, by Jennifer Armstrong Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jennifer Armstrong Narrator: Taylor Mal Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton and a crew of twenty-seven men sailed from England in an attempt to cross Antarctica from one side to the other. Their ship, Endurance, became icebound and sank, still one hundred miles from land. What follows is one of the most amazing stories of survival ever recorded.

Over the next nineteen months, Shackleton led his men through brutal perils of every kind on ice, land, and sea with one goal—that they all survive. Whether it was a treacherous journey over ice, a storm-racked eight-hundred-mile open-boat journey, or a death-defying trek across a mountain range, Shackleton’s mission never wavered: “But if you’re a leader, a fellow that other fellows look to, you’ve got to keep going.”

The story is enhanced with diary excerpts, explanations of the terrain, wildlife, and navigation techniques, and the Antarctic weather that so affected the outcome of the fateful voyage. And narrator Taylor Mali’s dynamic performance transports the listener into the heart of this riveting saga.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The harrowing survival story of English explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and the ill-fated Endurance has intrigued people since the 1914 expedition…[Armstrong] brings the unbelievable journey to life with delicious details: how a handsome young stowaway was discovered too late to cast him off; how the ship itself would become frost-white, looking like ‘another species of sparkling white iceberg as it nosed its way through the pack;’ and how the ice-pack-dwelling Emperor penguins seemed to enjoy the banjo music of crew member Leonard Hussey. The true-to-life story is as thrilling as they come, and Armstrong’s lively, crystal-clear writing style is just as compelling….[An] inspiring nonfiction adventure story that young readers will devour from cover to cover.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Armstrong…brings her considerable story-crafting talents to this real-life tale. The inside of the ship becomes so alive that we can smell its fetid air, we can hear the coins clank as the men play cards at night, and we can taste the spirits they drink after they shout their usual toast, ‘To our sweethearts and wives—may they never meet!’ How do they get off the ice? The story will leave you breathless…In this age of fantastical music videos, extraterrestrial fantasies, superheroes with bionic powers, and intricate computer games, it’s refreshing to hear the story of a real-life adventure and to meet twenty-eight extremely brave people. This team of men, without computers or radios or any sophisticated equipment, survived ‘the most hostile environment this side of the moon.’ Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World will both humble and inspire teens who thirst for excitement. Jennifer Armstrong makes history come alive more vibrantly than any virtual-reality game.”

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “Armstrong keeps her narrative moving at a brisk pace. A generous supply of colorful anecdotes and excerpts from journals shed light on the men’s personalities and reveal Shackleton’s remarkable skill for keeping his crew agreeable and hopeful, despite life-threatening conditions. Other passages…possess heart-pounding immediacy. Armstrong’s absorbing storytelling… make this an enthralling adventure.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Ernest Shackleton’s 1914–1916 Antarctic expedition was, in Armstrong’s words, ‘one of the most incredible feats of survival ever recorded.’ Her captivating, complete account, which identifies and tracks practically every crew member and liberally employs quotes from crew diaries, will find an audience with the detail-oriented, want-to-know-it-all kind of reader.”

    Horn Book Guide (starred review)

  • “Filled with intriguing details and written with dramatic style, this riveting account of the ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition reads like an adventure novel…Armstrong brings all of these experiences vividly to life, frequently using quotes from members of the expedition…Armstrong crafts [the facts] into an unforgettable story of true heroism and the triumph of the human spirit. A book that will capture the attention and imagination of any reader.”

    School Library Journal

  • Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World is a book to finish in one breathless sitting, then dream about all night long.”

    Riverbank Review

  • “Armstrong takes this material and makes an equally spectacular read. The ‘Boss’ and his crew come alive in one amazing event after another…This is an adventure to keep any kid or grownup awake late into the night, shivering from the cold and turning pages.”

    Children’s Literature

  • “This adventure story of survival against all odds in one of the harshest environments on the planet is told in swift, stirring prose by Armstrong, a children’s book author; it’s an ALA Best Book for YAs, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, and the recipient of many other honors. An exceptional work of nonfiction for all libraries serving YAs.”


  • “This unbelievable story is enhanced by the vigorous prose; from the captivating introduction through the epilogue, it is the writing as much as the story that will rivet readers.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Armstrong paints a vivid picture of the ordeal.”


  • “Taylor Mali’s narration of the book by Jennifer Armstrong is riveting, and his shifts from one accent to the next are effective and not at all distracting. The text moves from diary entries to explanations of how to read the sun, and the descriptions of the terrain and weather are superb. This is a very effective presentation of not only how the disaster occurred but of the toll it took on the crew and how they rose to the challenge.”

    School Library Journal (audio review)

  • “Armstong’s vivid biography of Shackleton and his crew is brought to life by Taylor Mali. Excerpts from diaries and newspaper accounts, which flesh out this incredible adventure of survival in the harshest environment on the planet, are read in distinct accents by Mali…Mali’s intense narration drives listeners of all ages to experience the severe weather, lack of food, and incredible demands of exploration and survival.”


  • A 1999 Horn Book Fanfare Best Book for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the 1999Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction
  • A 2002 Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award Finalist
  • Winner of the 1999 Riverbank Review Children’s Books of Distinction for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the 2000 Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award for Children's Spoken Word
  • A 1999 ALA Notable Book for Children
  • A 1999 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book for Nonfiction
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About the Narrator

Taylor Mali is the former president of Poetry Slam, Inc., and one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement. He is the author of two books of poetry, What Learning Leaves and The Last Time as We Are, and four CDs of spoken word. He has appeared on the first two seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and won the jury prize for best one-man show at the United States Comedy Arts Festival. A passionate advocate of teachers, he travels the country recruiting the next generation of teachers with his 1,000 Teachers Campaign. Taylor lives in New York.