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Alfred Lansing

Alfred Lansing Alfred Lansing[7†]

Alfred Mark Lansing (July 21, 1921 – August 27, 1975) was an American journalist and writer, best known for his book “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” (1959), an account of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations[1†]. Lansing was a native of Chicago, Illinois[1†]. After serving in the U.S. Navy from 1940 to 1946, where he received a Purple Heart[1†][2†], he enrolled at North Park College and later at Northwestern University, where he majored in journalism[1†]. He edited a weekly newspaper in Illinois until 1949, when he joined the United Press and in 1952 became a freelance writer[1†]. He spent time in New York, writing for the books section of Reader’s Digest and Time Inc., eventually returning to Chicago to become the editor of the Bethel Home News[1†]. Lansing settled in Bethel, CT where he was the editor of the Bethel Home News[1†].

Early Years and Education

Alfred Mark Lansing was born on July 21, 1921, in Chicago, Illinois[1†]. He was the son of Edward (1896–1949), a Chicagoan who worked as an electrician, and his wife Ruth Henderson (1896–1975), a native of New Jersey[1†].

After serving in the U.S. Navy from 1940 to 1946, where he received a Purple Heart[1†][3†][4†], Lansing enrolled at North Park College[1†][3†][4†]. He later attended Northwestern University, where he majored in journalism[1†][3†][4†]. His education at these institutions laid the foundation for his future career as a journalist and writer.

Career Development and Achievements

After his education, Lansing began his career in journalism. He edited a weekly newspaper in Illinois until 1949[1†]. He then joined the United Press and in 1952 became a freelance writer[1†]. During this time, he wrote for Collier’s, among other magazines[1†][2†], and was later an editor for Time, Inc. Books[1†][2†].

Lansing is best known for his best-selling book “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” (1959), an account of the failed Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew to the South Pole in 1914[1†]. The book is named after the ship used by Shackleton, the Endurance, and it became a bestseller when it was first published in 1959[1†]. Whilst researching the book, Lansing spoke with ten of the expedition’s surviving members and was granted access to the journals and personal diaries of eight others in order to get a more complete view of the expedition[1†].

Lansing eventually returned to Chicago to become the editor of the Bethel Home News[1†]. He settled in Bethel, CT where he was the editor of the Bethel Home News[1†]. He worked there until his death in 1975[1†].

First Publication of His Main Works

Alfred Lansing is best known for his book “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” (1959), which is an account of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations[1†]. The book became a bestseller when it was first published in 1959[1†]. Lansing spoke with ten of the expedition’s surviving members and was granted access to the journals and personal diaries of eight others in order to get a more complete view of the expedition[1†].

Here are some of his main works:

Lansing’s works are characterized by meticulous research and a keen eye for detail, which is evident in the vivid descriptions and narratives in his books[1†][5†].

Analysis and Evaluation

Alfred Lansing’s work, particularly his book “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage”, is highly regarded for its meticulous research and vivid narrative. The book details the failed Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton in an attempt to cross the Antarctic continent in 1914[6†]. Lansing’s detailed account of the almost two-year struggle for survival endured by the twenty-eight man crew of the ship Endurance has been praised for its accuracy and depth[6†][1†].

While researching for the book, Lansing spoke with ten of the expedition’s surviving members and was granted access to the journals and personal diaries of eight others, providing a more complete view of the expedition[6†][1†]. This commitment to authenticity and detail is a hallmark of Lansing’s work[6†][1†].

However, it’s worth noting that there have been some criticisms regarding the accuracy of certain details. For instance, Lansing consistently referred to Harry McNish, the carpenter on the Endurance and a crucial part of the expedition, as “old McNish” and stated that he was more than twice the average age of the rest of the crew. However, McNish was actually 40 years old when the expedition started, and five of the personnel of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition were older, including Shackleton[6†].

Despite these minor inaccuracies, Lansing’s “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” remains a seminal work in the genre of exploration literature. It not only provides a detailed account of the expedition but also delves into the human aspects of the journey, exploring themes of survival, endurance, and the indomitable human spirit[6†][1†].

Personal Life

Alfred Lansing led a fulfilling personal life. While he was writing his best-known book, “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage”, Lansing resided in Sea Cliff, Long Island[1†]. He lived there with his wife, Barbara, and their two children, a son named Angus and a daughter named Holly[1†]. Lansing was known to be a dedicated family man, balancing his professional commitments with his role as a husband and father[1†].

Lansing eventually settled in Bethel, Connecticut, where he continued his work as the editor of the Bethel Home News[1†]. He was known for his reputation as an “old, irascible, and cranky” editor who stood for right over might[1†]. Lansing worked at the Bethel Home News until his death in August 1975[1†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Alfred Lansing’s legacy is primarily tied to his best-selling book "Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage"[1†]. The book, first published in 1959, is an account of the failed Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew to the South Pole in 1914[1†]. The book is named after the ship used by Shackleton, the Endurance, and it became a bestseller when it was first published[1†].

While researching the book, Lansing spoke with ten of the expedition’s surviving members and was granted access to the journals and personal diaries of eight others in order to get a more complete view of the expedition[1†]. This meticulous research and his compelling storytelling have made “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” a classic in the realm of exploration literature[1†].

Lansing’s work as a journalist and writer, particularly his contribution to the historical account of Shackleton’s expedition, has left a lasting impact in the field of literature[1†]. His dedication to factual reporting and his ability to weave engaging narratives have been recognized and appreciated by readers and critics alike[1†].

Lansing passed away in August 1975, but his work continues to inspire and educate readers about the incredible human spirit and the will to survive against all odds[1†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - Alfred Lansing [website] - link
  2. Goodreads - Author: Alfred Lansing (Author of Endurance) [website] - link
  3. HowOld.co - Alfred Lansing Biography [website] - link
  4. Goodreads - Book: Endurance [website] - link
  5. Goodreads - Author: Books by Alfred Lansing (Author of Endurance) [website] - link
  6. Wikipedia (English) - Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage [website] - link
  7. WorthPoint - ENDURANCE, ALFRED LANSING, 1ST EDITION, 1959, HC/DJ, SHACKLETON'S VOYAGE [website] - link
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