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In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette (Random House Large Print) Paperback – Large Print, 5 Aug 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 761 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Large Print Publishing; Lrg edition (5 Aug. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804194602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804194600
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.5 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,295,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Masterful storytelling... The reader is drawn into the ice from the first page and will not want to leave until the fate of every man is known.'

(Caroline Alexander, author of The Endurance and The Bounty)

'Sides has brought together an absolutely marvelous cast of characters… All works of history should be half this much fun.'

(Scott Anderson, author of Lawrence in Arabia)

'One of the greatest and most harrowing adventures of all time. Spellbinding.'

(David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z)

'An Arctic thriller, an authentic narrative masterpiece.'

(S.C. Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon)

'A dazzling page-turner.'

(Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea)

'Harrowing and impeccably paced.'

(New Yorker)

'A splendid book in every way... a marvelous nonfiction thriller.'

(Wall Street Journal)

'Reads like a first-class epic thriller.'

(Lev Grossman Time)

‘Unforgettable…a pulse-racing epic of endurance set against an exceedingly bizarre Arctic backdrop…  a masterful work of history and storytelling.’ 

(Los Angeles Times)

‘Phenomenally gripping… Sides works story-telling magic.'

(Boston Globe)

'Sides spins a propulsive narrative from obscure documents, journals and his own firsthand visits to the Arctic regions visited by the Jeannette and its crew.'

(USA Today)

‘First-rate polar history and adventure narrative... a harrowing story, well told.’ 

(New York Times Book Review)

'The history of polar exploration sets a high bar for extreme physical ordeal ― think John Franklin, Ernest Shackleton, Robert Falcon Scott ― and the tribulations of De Long and his crew stack up with the worst of them.'

(Washington Post)

‘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, author of Black Hawk Down)

'An astonishingly good story.'

(Candice Millard, New York Times bestselling author of The Destiny of the Republic and The River of Doubt)

'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)

‘A stirring story… a brilliant exposition of narrative non-fiction: moving, harrowing, as gripping as any well-paced thriller but a lore more interesting because it is also true’

(The Times)

‘[Sides] is a scrupulous researcher who has mined all the primary material, including extensive journals and medical logs carried home by survivors, and he quotes judiously, interleaving the narrative with heartbreaking extracts from letters written by De Long’s young wife’

(Spectator) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Hampton Sides is the author of the bestselling histories Hellhound on his Trail, Blood and Thunder and Ghost Soldiers, and is an award-winning editor of Outside magazine. He lives in New Mexico with his wife, Anne, and their three sons.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Lawrence on 4 Dec. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't think that I have read any other Polar book which quite so eloquently sets the scene for the despatch of an attempt on either Pole, most of which were doomed to spectacular failure. I would strongly recomend this read to all, not just the aficionadoes of Polar History, for its vivid description of the newly emerging United States of America, but one should always have in mind the spectacular success that American's have achieved in both Polar History and Polar Science.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie De Pue TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover
IN THE KINGDOM OF ICE, an electrifying recounting of the 1879 failed polar exploration voyage of the USS Jeannette, comes to us from American writer Hampton Sides. He is an award-winning editor of Outside, and author of the New York Times bestselling histories GHOST SOLDIERS, HELLHOUND ON HIS TRAIL and BLOOD AND THUNDER.

On July 8, 1879, the USS Jeannette, under the command of Captain George Washington De Long, set sail from San Francisco. Cheering throngs in the grip of ‘arctic fever’ sent her on her way north. At the time, people in most of the developed world were captivated by interest in one of the last few unmapped areas of the globe: the North Pole. They had no knowledge of what might be beyond the ice rim of the northern oceans. But they had plenty of theories. A German named August Petermann, widely considered the foremost cartographer in the world, believed that the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Stream, and the Pacific Ocean’s Kuro-Siwo, warm currents that ran through the oceans much like rivers, were enough to sustain a verdant island at the top of the world. Whatever the story, the peoples of the developed world, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Russia, even France and Italy, believed that national glory would fall to whoever could first plant his nation’s flag there. And the U.S., as the youngest and scruffiest of nations, was particularly hungry for the international attention.

Although the ship and its captain were officially in the tiny, under-utilized U.S. Navy, the entire cost of the expedition was underwritten by James Gordon Bennett, eccentric, madly ambitious and extremely rich owner of The New York Herald. Bennett had recently captured the world's attention by dispatching his star reporter Stanley to darkest Africa to find Dr.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Mckeown on 24 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting, and once the initial setting up of the background to the main story was left behind, it was totally gripping. Slightly perplexed by the line, 'He spoke impeccable English, but with a slight British accent', as an English person myself, but then realised it was from an American's perspective. Rather curious though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ms. borealis on 14 Feb. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written, this is the story of yet another polar journey based on a ridiculous assumption - in this case concerning the Open Polar Sea and various other geographical fantasies. Sponsored by newspaperman J. Gordon Bennett, who was ever keen on a scoop, the expedition suffered appalling hardships and remarkable adventures. These are related with remarkable clarity from the available documentation , and make a gripping tale.
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By Toni Osborne on 4 July 2015
Format: Paperback
The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

This first rate adventure narrative recreates the astonishing tribulations of a group of 33 seamen who set sail in 1879 from San Francisco on a daring expedition that would bring them to the North Pole via the Bering Strait.

The expedition was financed by the flamboyant James Gordon Bennett Jr, owner of the New York Herald and the USS Jeanette piloted by George Washington De Long, a harsh disciplinarian with a granite disposition. The USS Jeannette was well supplied when headed north on her ill-fated voyage.

After losing valuable time looking for Nordenskiold (another explorer) at the request of Bennett the Jeannette became completely trapped in ice near the Wrangled Island and remained there confined for two years. When the ice opened the pressure on the haul was too much that the ship soon foundered and the harrowing story of their survival begins…….everything kicks in high gear….

The struggle to survive nearly 1000 mile across the Arctic Ocean and into the vastness of Siberia is story-telling at its best. Mr. Sides writes superbly on the geography of Siberia and the Arctic, its birds and animals, the treacherous tundra, seacoast and volcanic islands. He adds a magic spell to his words when he evokes the pathos and especially the suffering of what unfolded. One can only wonder how the crew endured all this hardship. We find grim details and a lot of melodrama in the crew’s odyssey as they try to reach mainland Siberia. This is a real page-turner, a well-written account paced with cliff hanging moments to shock us. We also have poignant moments, quotes from journals and letters from and to love ones and a look into the Gilded Age American and European society of the time. This was quite an expedition that is excellently revived.

“The Kingdom of Ice”, is one of the best and most interesting books I read in a long time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By shufflingbob on 2 Mar. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Probably one of the best exploration and even adventure books I have ever read. Well researched, very well written - in fact almost qualifies as "unputdownable".
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.
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