In the Kingdom of Ice

By Hampton Sides,

Book cover of In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Book description

The age of exploration was drawing to a close, yet the mystery of the North Pole remained. Contemporaries described the pole as the 'unattainable object of our dreams', and the urge to fill in this last great blank space on the map grew irresistible.In 1879 the USS Jeannette set sail…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked In the Kingdom of Ice as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I love EVERYTHING by Hampton Sides, and this book is no exception, ticking off all my required boxes.

A splendid historical thriller on the high Arctic seas, the nonfiction book reads like the best novels. It’s a heartbreaking page-turner, made especially poignant by weaving in the moving letters written by Captain De Long’s dutiful wife, Emma. 

This is another history that drew me in with a tightly focused story — an 1879 expedition to reach the North Pole — then overwhelmed me with a slowly dawning realization: The expedition was sheer insanity based on assumptions that are whacky beyond belief but were state-of-the-art thinking less than a century and a half ago. George Washington De Long and his crew aboard the Jeanette left San Francisco expecting to spend a single winter trapped in the polar ice before popping into a temperate Arctic Sea and steaming their way straight to the apex of Planet Earth. Instead, the…

From Howard's list on big stories through a small lens.

In the late 19th century, many experts believed that the Arctic polar region was warm and habitable. Explorers like the crew of the Jeannette were willing to risk their lives to be the first to reach this mistakenly tropical land at the top of the earth. As they ventured further north, the ship became trapped in the ice but every time you think the party is doomed, the story takes a surprising turn. Hampton Sides provides a well-written, well-researched true adventure thriller as the crew tries to survive a long, life-threatening journey across the broken ice of the Arctic…

From David's list on travel adventures.

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