In the Kingdom of Ice : The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette
by Hampton Sides and Arthur Morey

Overview - New York Times bestselling author Hampton Sides returns with a white-knuckle tale of polar exploration and survival in the Gilded Age

In the late nineteenth century, people were obsessed by one of the last unmapped areas of the globe: the North Pole.

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More About In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides; Arthur Morey
New York Timesbestselling author Hampton Sides returns with a white-knuckle tale of polar exploration and survival in the Gilded Age

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 ofThe 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 USSJeannetteset 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, theJeannettesank 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 Iceis a spellbinding tale of heroism and determination in the most unforgiving territory on Earth."

  • ISBN-13: 9780307966544
  • ISBN-10: 0307966542
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publish Date: August 2014
  • Page Count: 14
  • Dimensions: 6.3 x 4.67 x 1.52 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.88 pounds

Related Categories

Books > History > Polar Regions
Books > History > Expeditions & Discoveries
Books > Transportation > Ships & Shipbuilding - History

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-10-27
  • Reviewer: Staff

The latest nonfiction thriller from Sides recounts the ill-fated North Pole voyage of the U.S.S. Jeannette during the late 1870s and early 1880s, which captivated newspaper readers of the era. Veteran narrator Morey displays his gift for transforming evocative prose into a vivid performance that captures the atmosphere and emotions of the harrowing journey. Morey’s renderings of the journal entries from Capt. George Washington De Long and Chief Engineer George W. Melville are especially heart-wrenching as the ship’s officers do their best to demonstrate honor in the face of peril and starvation. As delivered by Morey, the detailed descriptions of trapping and hunting polar bears and other arctic wild game become especially haunting, as do the explorers’ bonds with their sled dogs. Morey’s depiction of grit and bravery on the ice contrasts effectively with his presentation of the cavalier Gilded Age indulgence of the Jeannette’s wealthy patron, newspaper magnate James Gordon Bennett Jr. A Doubleday hardcover. (Aug.)

BookPage Reviews

Audio: Real-life listening

It happened four years ago and we know how it turned out, but that doesn’t diminish the utterly compelling power of Héctor Tobar’s Deep Down Dark. With a cinematographer’s bold eye, a compassionate heart and a reporter’s talent for telling a vividly immediate story, he follows the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped in the hellishly hot San José mine, 2,300 feet below the surface. Not found for 17 days, the men had almost nothing to eat and only filthy water to drink. Then it took another 52 days to get them out. Tobar had exclusive access to the miners and to their wives, girlfriends and families, who waited in a makeshift camp above the mine. His detailed description of the lives of “los 33” in the deep dark, their roiling despair, collective faith and endurance is you-are-there narrative journalism at its best. And Tobar follows them in the years after their rescue, when the celebrity spotlight and their untreated PTSD made life difficult. Henry Leyva’s excellent narration captures the tension, triumph and tragedy of this kaleidoscopic chronicle.

The subtitle of Hampton Sides’ masterful In the Kingdom of Ice, “The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette,” lets you know that there’s a grim ending. Yet listening to Arthur Morey’s perfectly paced reading of Sides’ remarkable retelling of the voyage is hair-raising and mesmerizing, the horror and heroism palpable. The North Pole “loomed as a public fixation” during the Gilded Age, and James Gordon Bennett Jr., the eccentric, super-rich publisher of The New York Herald, wanted to fund an epic polar expedition that would bring his paper the same global attention it got when he sent Stanley to find Livingstone. He picked George Washington De Long, a young, gallant naval officer, to lead it. Naively believing that they could reach the pole through the Bering Strait, De Long and 32 seasoned men set sail in July 1879. In less than three months they were stuck in the ice where they remained for 21 months until the USS Jeannette foundered and sank. Then their harrowing ice odyssey began. With De Long’s journal, his wife’s letters and many survivors’ accounts, Sides brings these men’s stories and their era to life.

In 2012, when the Taliban shot Malala Yousafzai in the face, they intended to kill her and to stop her from publicly championing the right of girls to an education. Fortunately, it had the opposite effect. Malala lived and, after extensive surgeries and rehab in England, has taken a prominent place on the world stage, fearlessly and resolutely raising her voice to demand that every child go to school. Now, she has become the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. She’s an amazing young woman whom we all should know and support. And the best way to do that is to listen to I Am Malala, written with Christina Lamb. Malala reads the prologue herself, and then Archie Panjabi continues in a voice just as spirited as the author’s.


This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

BAM Customer Reviews