In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides
In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Hardcover and ebook
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 454
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

On July 8, 1879, Captain George Washington De Long and his team of thirty-two men set sail from San Francisco on the USS Jeanette.

Heading deep into uncharted Arctic waters, they carried the aspirations of a young country burning to be the first nation to reach the North Pole. Two years into the harrowing voyage, the Jeannette’s hull was breached by an impassable stretch of pack ice, forcing the crew to abandon ship amid torrents of rushing of water. Hours later, the ship had sunk below the surface, marooning the men a thousand miles north of Siberia, where they faced a terrifying march with minimal supplies across the endless ice pack.

Enduring everything from snow blindness and polar bears to ferocious storms and labyrinths of ice, the crew battled madness and starvation as they struggled desperately to survive. With thrilling twists and turns, In The Kingdom of Ice is a spellbinding tale of heroism and determination in the most brutal place on Earth.

My Thoughts:
I hadn’t heard about the expedition of the USS Jeannette and her crew before this book. I’m not sure why because it’s a fascinating story. This book is excellent and I will absolutely be getting my hands on more of Hampton Sides work.

This is my favorite kind of non-fiction. It’s engaging and entertaining while at the same time providing a ridiculous amount of information. Since I hadn’t read about the expedition and didn’t know who of the crew survived it was like reading suspense fiction.

The North Pole. The top of the world. The acme, the apogee, the apex. It was a magnetic region but also a magnetic idea. It loomed as a public fixation and a planetary enigma—as alluring and unknown as the surface of Venus or Mars. The North Pole was both a physical place and a geographer’s abstraction, a pinpointable location where curved lines met on the map. It was a spot on the globe where, if you could stand there, any direction you headed in would be, by definition, south. It was a place of perpetual darkness for one half of the year and perpetual sunlight for the other. There, in a sense, chronology stood still, for at the pole all the time zones of the world converged.

The big difference is that this story is not fiction. Aiming for the North Pole the ship became lodged in the ever moving polar ice. They drifted in that ice for nearly two years. Then the ship was crushed by the ice andsank. They dragged themselves and their remaining supplies and three small boats across the ice pack toward Siberia.

The courage and endurance of these men was phenomenal.

I was also fascinated with the theories of what the North Pole was like before anyone had really tried to reach it. Some thought the polar ice cap was just a ring of ice around a tropical sea at the pole.

I learned a lot from this book and I highly recommend it. I will be forcing encouraging The Hubster to read it soon.

4.5 starsRating 4.5/5 stars