Read how these guys deliberately got their ship stuck fast in Arctic ice, and then sat in it month after month hoping it would drift to the North Pole. Years of careful planning preceeded this expedition. The "Fram" was the sturdiest ship afloat since Noah's Ark, specially designed to withstand the enormous pressures of compacting ice, which would relentlessly crush ordinary wooden ships. Nansen calculated that the currents of the Polar Sea would eventually carry them to the vicinity of the pole, and supplied the "Fram" with enough provisions to last its crew of 13 for several years. This narrative describes, at length and in detail, the story of that drift. Months go by without much northward progress, and the author's mood swings between hope and depression. Meanwhile, there are encounters with polar bears, foxes, seals, walrus, and rare birds, all of which the adventurers try to kill. Terrible storms come and go, polar day gives way to polar night a couple times. The sled dogs have puppies, bite each other to death, and bark at the bears. Everyone stays safe and warm in the cozy little ship, with plenty of food and laughs. Nansen faithfully keeps up his diary. Nothing much happens. It just goes on and on. Eventually the explorer gets such a bad case of cabin fever that he decides to leave the ship, and, with one man and a team of dogs, strikes out across the ice in the direction of Santa's Workshop. Here Volume I abruptly ends.
Volume II promises to complete the story, and if I find time on my hands I might read it, but don't hold your breath. Since the story is an important part of the history of Arctic exploration, it's required reading for afficionados of that subject. If you want a fast-paced and exciting read, however, you can skip this one.