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In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette Kindle Edition
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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.
Ebook edition includes over a dozen extra images
“Hampton Sides has written a dazzling page-turner. Full of unforgettable characters and vividly described scenes, In the Kingdom of Ice breathes fresh, exuberant, and very personal life into the polar adventure story that once riveted the world.”
- Nathaniel Philbrick, New York Times bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea, Bunker Hill and Sea of Glory
“This is an astonishingly good story, told by one of the best storytellers of our age. Alone, the tale of the USS Jeannette is darkly gripping. In the hands of Hampton Sides, it is impossible to put down, packed with irresistible characters and incredible moments of horror and heroism. As soon as I finished it, I flipped to the first page and began reading it again.”
- Candice Millard, New York Times bestselling author of The Destiny of the Republic and The River of Doubt
“Hampton Sides masterfully recounts one of the greatest and most harrowing adventures of all time. In the Kingdom of Ice is a spellbinding tale not only of a journey into the Arctic but also into the very nature of man.”
- David Grann, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of Z
"Hampton Sides is a master storyteller, and here he has delivered a stunningly vivid account of perhaps the most dramatic polar mission you never heard of. Once you start, you won't stop.”
- Mark Bowden, New York Times Bestselling author of Black Hawk Down
“Read this book in two ways-- fast, for the hair-raising excitement of what happens to the brave men of the Jeannette, and then slowly, to take in the clarity of the writing and the unshowy elegance of the structure. The grand disaster that befell this expedition, and the heroic, truly Siberian sufferings of Captain De Long and his comrades, have found a brilliant chronicler in Hampton Sides.”
- Ian Frazier, National Bestselling author of Travels in Siberia and On the Rez
"With colorful characters and rich research distilled into gripping suspense, In the Kingdom of Ice gives us a fascinating but little-known slice of American history that resonates strongly amid our contemporary discussions of climate change. Here is a vivid tale of exploration set in a howling, deadly wilderness."
- T.J. Stiles, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
"Hampton Sides is one of America’s most expansive and engaging storytellers, and he proves it again with the incredible saga of the USS Jeannette. In The Kingdom of Ice is far more than the tale of a polar expedition gone awry. Sides has brought together an absolutely marvelous cast of characters – daring and dangerous and more than a little preposterous – to tell not just a classic adventure story, but to shine a fine light on that bizarre American era known as the Gilded Age. All works of history should be half this much fun."
- Scott Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of Lawrence in Arabia
"Hampton Sides has written an arctic thriller, an authentic narrative masterpiece that I put down only reluctantly and willingly gave up sleep in order to finish. I had to find out what happened to these remarkable men in that wide and desolate sea of ice.
- S.C. Gwynne, New York Times bestselling author of Empire of the Summer Moon and Rebel Yell
"Hampton Sides' many gifts include his ability to make readers feel the bracing cold of Arctic winds and the smoldering heat of separated lovers. This extraordinary book overflows with heroic characters and bursts with insight into a young nation flexing its ambitions on a global scale. The result is narrative nonfiction history at its very best. In the Kingdom of Ice has earned a place among the great sea adventure stories."
- Mitchell Zuckoff, New York Times bestselling author of Frozen in Time and Lost in Shangri-La.
“Another crackling tale of adventure from journalist/explorer Sides...this one focusing on a frigid disaster nearly 150 years ago… A grand and grim narrative of thrilling exploration for fans of Into Thin Air, Mountains of the Moon and the like.”
- Kirkus (Starred Review)
"With its western frontiers explored and the idea of Manifest Destiny still beckoning, the U.S. in the Gilded Age looked to the North Pole for adventure and conquest... In July 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail with a crew of 32 men for uncharted waters. It was an extraordinary expedition... Sides (Hellhound on His Trail)tapped amazing archival material, including diaries, letters, and the ship logs, to render a completely thrilling saga of survival in unbelievably harsh conditions."
- Booklist (Starred Review)
"Complusively readable, In the Kingdom of Ice brilliantly recreates a world, invites us to enter it and to experience the isolation, fear and hope of the people in it, and leads us back to our world with a clearer understanding of what motivates those who undertake daunting but heroic challenges."
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, August 2014: In the last few decades of the 19th century, the world looked very different from the way it does now. Parts of the map were unfilled--chief among those spaces was the North Pole, which many believed contained warm currents that might provide safe passage. Enter James Gordon Bennett, the wealthy and eccentric owner of the New York Herald. Bennett--who was responsible for sending Stanley in search of Livingstone--wanted to produce another thrill for his readers, so he funded a naval expedition to reach the pole. Captained by George Washington De Long, the U.S.S. Jeannette shipped out in 1879 toward glory and parts unknown. The Jeannette became encased in ice, but the adventure was only just beginning. Author Hampton Sides does a masterful job of setting up the voyage against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, developing fascinating characters along the way, and delivering a true triumph of narrative nonfiction. Drawing on journal entries, letters, and eventually his own visit to the region, Sides paints a vivid, moving, and breathless portrait of the crew of the Jeannette. How could a book about this much snow and ice be this good? --Chris Schluep--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B00IBZ3Z8U
- Publisher : Anchor (August 5, 2014)
- Publication date : August 5, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 32282 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 489 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #76,689 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on April 29, 2016
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One subset of this genre is polar exploration. I’ve read several works whose subject was the Northwest Passage and the Franklin Expedition. I’ve read of the journeys of Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance and the race to the South Pole, involving Norwegian Roald Amundsen and Englishman Robert Falcon Scott. In all of these works, many of which detailed the history of polar exploration, I do not recall ever hearing of the Jeanette Expedition of 1880, the subject of this book. This is somewhat surprising, because it seems to have been something of a seminal event in the exploration of the northern polar regions.
At the time, little was known of the polar regions. Many surmised that the northern pole was covered by a warm sea, encircled by a girdle of ice which merely had to be pierced in order to access the ice free sea. The Franklin Expedition had previously been lost seeking a Northwest Passage, but attempts to sail to the northern pole were very few, and dismal failures.
In the late 1870s, an American naval officer George De Long, teamed up with the owner of the New York Herald, James Gordon Bennett to finance and outfit an expedition to explore the polar region and attempt a sea-based journey to the North Pole. Supported by the U. S. Navy and assisted by many of the leading “experts” on polar exploration, the group purchased a suitable craft, retrofitted it and provisioned it, departing from San Francisco headed north for the Bering Strait.
As it turns out, almost everything they were told to expect was wrong. Their maps were almost universally inaccurate and they were soon captured by the pack ice. This book details all of the preparations for the trip, the personalities involved and the brutal results of their journey. After finishing the book, I am somewhat astonished that I have never seen reference to the expedition, even in passing. It is an amazing and compelling story of human endurance and tragedy. I recommend it not just for those who have an interest in polar exploration, but for anyone who enjoys history and/or human interest stories in general.
James Gordon Bennett is newspaper owner who specializes in the outrageous and not altogether true stories.
Captain George Washington DeLong made his name for a daring attempt made to reach survivors of a ship that was destroyed by ice in the Arctic when he was still a Lieutenant in the US Navy. The Arctic got into his blood, something that surprised him, and he spent several years studying and plotting to get back there – but as the captain of his own expedition this time.
Bennett becomes very interested in the Arctic and agrees to fund DeLong’s expedition to the North Pole. They consult the latest maps and scientific data. They meet with the eminent scientists of the day and gather data that is suspect by today’s standards. (From our point of view we can see that some of the ideas put forth at the time were outrageous at best and some of them were downright dangerous. )
Before they set sail on July 8, 1879, DeLong is ordered by his superiors at the US Navy to check on a fellow explorer at Bennett’s behest. DeLong is furious for he knows the other explorer is not yet overdue and most likely is fine. But he must follow orders, so he takes the time to look for the other man’s party. He misses him by a mere week, but of course doesn’t know it. He finally gets the work from some native Alaskans that they have seen him and he had sailed away already. DeLong has lost some time and fears the worst.
As they head north through the Bering Strait, they find their first trouble. DeLong and the rest of the crew (for the most part), take their difficulties in their stride. The thirty-two men seem to get along fine aside from some petty jealousies and rivalries.
The Jeanette was to spend several months trapped in the ice pack. The men kept up their spirits though, and there was some game – polar bears, seals and such – that came close enough to the ship that the crew was served occasional fresh meat. An island was spotted that caused much excitement. Some of the crew came down with lead poisoning. (How they kept up their spirits in all this is beyond me. It was a sure testament to the human drive to thrive.)
With the breaking up and sinking of the Jeannette, all thirty-three men took to the ice along with their dogs. DeLong had been anticipating it for some time, so they had sufficient time to offload the most important items for the long trek ahead of them.
What follows is a story filled with horror, hardship and severe privation. My heart goes out to the brave men who undertook this expedition knowing very well what might lay in store for them.
This book is excellently written. Mr. Sides gives a detailed explanation of the search for and refurbishing of the Pandora, soon to become the Jeannette. He fully describes and illustrates all of the main characters, Delong, Bennett, Petermann and several men of the crew and officers. His research must have been exhaustive. Very well done and I recommend this book to anyone interested in arctic exploration, adventure or just for a very good read.
In this day and age of plenty, one cannot imagine the hardship(s) that these 19th century sailors endured. The thirst, the hunger, the cold....the shear pain of the Arctic. Had I been on this journey...journey is not the right word but it's all that comes to mind at the moment, and if I returned alive, I would have tracked down the map maker, the cartographer of the Arctic during that period, and murdered him. Youz will all know why after reading this magnificent opus.
Top reviews from other countries
On that note, anyone who reads this has to wonder if the voyage of the USS Jeanette was worth the sacrifice and hardship. Certainly, there was a lot of noble thought, but in the end, how much was gained? It's hard to tell.
There is a lot to thin about here. I would highly recommend.
Gives few clues as to the fate of the characters until near the end of the book so maintains its interest in the outcome of their unbelievable journey. Reminded me of Shackleton's boat journey. Very highly recommended.