In the Kingdom of Ice

In the Kingdom of Ice

The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Book - 2014
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A dramatic account of the ill-fated 19th-century naval expedition to the North Pole cites the contributions of German cartographer August Petermann, New York Herald owner James Gordon Bennett and famed naval officer George Washington De Long in the team's efforts to survive brutal environmental conditions.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2014]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385535373
Branch Call Number: G530.J37 S53 2014
919.8 Sides
Characteristics: 454 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Nov 08, 2018

A great story about a real expedition that was completely unknown to me. Like his "Blood and Thunder," heavily researched and annotated.

Feb 16, 2018

One of the best books I've ever read. Even knowing the outcome of this ill-fated arctic expedition by the title, I could not put it down. It was well researched and told in a riveting manner. The background information in the first half of the book gave an understanding of the level of scientific knowledge in the 19th century and developed the characters.
This is a very good read - Highly recommended.

Aug 08, 2016

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jul 08, 2015

Completed on July 7, 2015

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.

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.

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Nov 08, 2014

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

Nov 08, 2014

One night with Venus, a life time with mercury.

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.

Sep 30, 2014

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

Sep 30, 2014

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

Sep 30, 2014

Why work against nature when you can work with it?


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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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