In the Kingdom of Ice

In the Kingdom of Ice

The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Large Print - 2014
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New York Times   bestselling author Hampton Sides returns with a white-knuckle tale of polar exploration and survival in the Gilded Age

In the late nineteenth century, people were obsessed by one of the last unmapped areas of the globe: the North Pole. No one knew what existed beyond the fortress of ice rimming the northern oceans, although theories abounded. The foremost cartographer in the world, a German named August Petermann, believed that warm currents sustained a verdant island at the top of the world. National glory would fall to whoever could plant his flag upon its shores.

James Gordon Bennett, the eccentric and stupendously wealthy owner of  The New York Herald , had recently captured the world's attention by dispatching Stanley to Africa to find Dr. Livingstone. Now he was keen to re-create that sensation on an even more epic scale. So he funded an official U.S. naval expedition to reach the Pole, choosing as its captain a young officer named George Washington De Long, who had gained fame for a rescue operation off the coast of Greenland. De Long led a team of 32 men deep into uncharted Arctic waters, carrying the aspirations of a young country burning to become a world power. On July 8, 1879, the USS  Jeannette  set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds in the grip of "Arctic Fever."

The ship sailed into uncharted seas, but soon was trapped in pack ice. Two years into the harrowing voyage, the hull was breached. Amid the rush of water and the shrieks of breaking wooden boards, the crew abandoned the ship. Less than an hour later, the  Jeannette  sank to the bottom,and the men found themselves marooned a thousand miles north of Siberia with only the barest supplies. Thus began their long march across the endless ice--a frozen hell in the most lonesome corner of the world. Facing everything from snow blindness and polar bears to ferocious storms and frosty labyrinths, the expedition battled madness and starvation as they desperately strove for survival.

With twists and turns worthy of a thriller,  In The Kingdom of Ice  is a spellbinding tale of heroism and determination in the most unforgiving territory on Earth.
Publisher: New York :, Random House Large Print,, [2014]
Edition: First large print edition.
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780804194600
0804194602
Characteristics: xiii, 761 pages : illustrations, maps

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d
DMC_123
Aug 08, 2016

I couldn't put this book down! Parts of it still haunt me months after finishing the story.

s
stevechin
Apr 25, 2016

After reading the story, I felt the heartache, challenges and difficulties of those who made this journey through the north pole. This is a good read.

p
paulsarkisian
Feb 29, 2016

I really liked this Arctic exploration adventure. There is a lot of background information in first half of book, but it felt necessary to establish the settings of time and place and the state of scientific knowledge at the time. I found the book engaging and the rich historical background fascinating and worthwhile. I was impressed how well the characters came to life across the many years and settings
Skillful telling of an interesting story.

h
haileyj
Feb 05, 2016

This book was too slow in the telling. I was hoping to read about the final trek across the ice but there was too much detail to get through so I gave up on it.

h
htliang
Aug 21, 2015

This story of the USS Jeanette's journey to the Arctic in the search for the North Pole is mesmerizing. Although the first part of the book was a bit of a slog, it was necessary to give the background for the events that follow. Once the story reached the actual journey, it was a page-turner.

I did not know the outcome (other than a hint from peeking at the photos in the center of the book) so I was quite stressed out right till the very end. Here is a little taste of what to expect (taken from chapter 32):

"It was the time of the skeleton pack. The time of tapered pools of meltwater and cul-de-sac canals, of aquatic riddles nearly impossible to solve. The floes were too soft and hole-ridden to allow the men to make any reliable progress by sledging, but neither was there enough open water to advance by sail. So they probed and threaded among these icy labyrinths, sometimes rowing their three boats, sometimes towing them, from cake to melting cake...

...For fifteen days they struggled over, through, and around it. Sometimes they would venture for half a day down an enticing lane, only to find that it gradually narrowed and then terminated. Other times they had to haul up on a slab and portage a half mile over to a larger channel. Or they would use chisels and picks and ropes to pry open a large floe piece in order to obtain passage to another neck of water. In this way, they made fitful progress toward the south - one day nine miles, another day five, another day twelve... "

Note that this was during the short period when things were going well!!!

I highly recommend this book if you enjoy true tales of bravery, endurance, and tests of faith.

d
dmgreene
Jul 08, 2015

Completed on July 7, 2015

v
vv8
Jun 01, 2015

This work of narrative nonfiction was slow to start (150 pages) but eventually turned into a page-turning look into the fate of the USS Jeannette. Sides did a phenomenal job of bringing the historical individuals of this era alive, and his storytelling ability was topnotch.

s
sess430
Mar 14, 2015

In page-turning drama Sides relates the epic struggle for polar survival of the men aboard the USS Jeanette that must rank with that of Shackleton's voyage. The narrative seemed somewhat plodding in the first 150+/- pages and an easily located map of the region would have been nice as the ones provided are not indexed.

drudofsky Nov 07, 2014

I've read a lot of outdoor adventure books, mostly about mountain climbing, but also some sailing adventures. Hampton Sides did a spectacular job researching "In the Kingdom of Ice," and bringing the adventure to life, with his suspenseful and evocative narrative.

GhiddyZ Oct 23, 2014

Had to stop reading after a hundred pages. Nothing but backstory upon backstory - 90 percent of which is filler.

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s
SEBoiko
Nov 08, 2014

By the 1830's, the Russian state had converted most of the Yakuts - sometimes at gunpoint - to the Eastern Orthodox Church,...

s
SEBoiko
Nov 08, 2014

One night with Venus, a life time with mercury.

s
SEBoiko
Sep 30, 2014

put her into the ice and let her drift, and you may get through. Or, you may go to the devil - and the chances are about equal.

s
SEBoiko
Sep 30, 2014

Knowledge of the world would feed even more knowledge of the world.

s
SEBoiko
Sep 30, 2014

Love, even then, was playing tricks upon one who thought herself immune!

s
SEBoiko
Sep 30, 2014

Why work against nature when you can work with it?

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SEBoiko
Nov 08, 2014

The whole history of Artic exploration is marked by great dangers, wonderful escapes, successes where appearances forbade any rational hope.

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