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In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette [Kindle Edition]

Hampton Sides
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,178 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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. 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 of The 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 USS Jeannette set 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, the Jeannette sank 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 Ice is a spellbinding tale of heroism and determination in the most unforgiving territory on Earth.

Ebook edition includes over a dozen extra images

Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, August 2014: In the last few decades of the 19th century, the world looked very different from the way it does now. Parts of the map were unfilled--chief among those spaces was the North Pole, which many believed contained warm currents that might provide safe passage. Enter James Gordon Bennett, the wealthy and eccentric owner of the New York Herald. Bennett--who was responsible for sending Stanley in search of Livingstone--wanted to produce another thrill for his readers, so he funded a naval expedition to reach the pole. Captained by George Washington De Long, the U.S.S. Jeannette shipped out in 1879 toward glory and parts unknown. The Jeannette became encased in ice, but the adventure was only just beginning. Author Hampton Sides does a masterful job of setting up the voyage against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, developing fascinating characters along the way, and delivering a true triumph of narrative nonfiction. Drawing on journal entries, letters, and eventually his own visit to the region, Sides paints a vivid, moving, and breathless portrait of the crew of the Jeannette. How could a book about this much snow and ice be this good? --Chris Schluep


The Bounty 

“Hampton Sides has written a dazzling page-turner.  Full of unforgettable characters and vividly described scenes, In the Kingdom of Ice breathes fresh, exuberant, and very personal life into the polar adventure story that once riveted the world.”
 -         Nathaniel Philbrick, New York Times bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea, Bunker Hill and Sea of Glory

“This is an astonishingly good story, told by one of the best storytellers of our age. Alone, the tale of the USS Jeannette is darkly gripping. In the hands of Hampton Sides, it is impossible to put down, packed with irresistible characters and incredible moments of horror and heroism. As soon as I finished it, I flipped to the first page and began reading it again.”
 -         Candice Millard, New York Times bestselling author of The Destiny of the Republic  and The River of Doubt
“Hampton Sides masterfully recounts one of the greatest and most harrowing adventures of all time. In the Kingdom of Ice is a spellbinding tale not only of a journey into the Arctic but also into the very nature of man.”
 -         David Grann, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of Z

"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, New York Times Bestselling author of Black Hawk Down

 “Read this book in two ways-- fast, for the hair-raising excitement of what happens to the brave men of the Jeannette, and then slowly, to take in the clarity of the writing and the unshowy elegance of the structure. The grand disaster that befell this expedition, and the heroic, truly Siberian sufferings of Captain De Long and his comrades, have found a brilliant chronicler in Hampton Sides.”
-         Ian Frazier, National Bestselling author of Travels in Siberia and On the Rez
"With colorful characters and rich research distilled into gripping suspense, In the Kingdom of Ice gives us a fascinating but little-known slice of American history that resonates strongly amid our contemporary discussions of climate change. Here is 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

  "Hampton Sides is one of America’s most expansive and engaging storytellers, and he proves it again with the incredible saga of the USS JeannetteIn The Kingdom of Ice is far more than the tale of a polar expedition gone awry.  Sides has brought together an absolutely marvelous cast of characters – daring and dangerous and more than a little preposterous  – to tell not just a classic adventure story, but to shine a fine light on that bizarre American era known as the Gilded Age. All works of history should be half this much fun."  
 -         Scott Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of Lawrence in Arabia
"Hampton Sides has written an arctic thriller, an authentic narrative masterpiece that I put down only reluctantly and willingly gave up sleep in order to finish. I had to find out what happened to these remarkable men in that wide and desolate sea of ice. 
-         S.C. Gwynne, New York Times bestselling author of Empire of the Summer Moon   and Rebel Yell

"Hampton Sides' many gifts include his ability to make readers feel the bracing cold of Arctic winds and the smoldering heat of separated lovers. This extraordinary book overflows with heroic characters and bursts with insight into a young nation flexing its ambitions on a global scale. The result is narrative nonfiction history at its very best. In the Kingdom of Ice has earned a place among the great sea adventure stories." 
-         Mitchell Zuckoff, New York Times bestselling author of Frozen in Time and Lost in  Shangri-La.

 “Another crackling tale of adventure from journalist/explorer Sides...this one focusing on a frigid disaster nearly 150 years ago… A grand and grim narrative of thrilling exploration for fans of Into Thin AirMountains of the Moon and the like.”
-         Kirkus (Starred Review)

"With its western frontiers explored and the idea of Manifest Destiny still beckoning, the U.S. in the Gilded Age looked to the North Pole for adventure and conquest... In July 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail with a crew of 32 men for uncharted waters. It was an extraordinary expedition... Sides (Hellhound on His Trail)tapped amazing archival material, including diaries, letters, and the ship logs, to render a completely thrilling saga of survival in unbelievably harsh conditions."
-      Booklist (Starred Review)

"Complusively readable, In the Kingdom of Ice brilliantly recreates a world, invites us to enter it and to experience the isolation, fear and hope of the people in it, and leads us back to our world with a clearer understanding of what motivates those who undertake daunting but heroic challenges."
-    Bookpage

Product Details

  • File Size: 30082 KB
  • Print Length: 489 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (August 5, 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IBZ3Z8U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,032 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
205 of 209 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ripping yarn, moving tale June 2, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
You can read the synopsis up top, so I won't bore you with that. I will, however, recommend that you read this. If you are here, I will assume you have an interest in either the author's work or, more likely, the history of polar exploration. I have not previously read any of Side's other books, but with a fairly strong interest in the history of the exploration of the poles, I can heartily recommend this.

This is first-rate narrative history, well-written and paced to create a gripping account. "Novelistic" can be used as an insult to history writing, but I use it here as a compliment. This is a page-turner. Unfortunately, having read this in galleys, there is no index, nor are photos provided, but the end notes are thorough and this seems to be very well researched.

The letters written by Lt. DeLong's wife during the time he and the ship and crew were out of contact are hear-warming and -rending and provide an excellent counter-point and commentary on the main narrative, and the author's access to the surviving journals and letters of the other crew members allow him to paint full-bodied portraits of the men on the ice. You come very quickly to care about these men and their fates.

The story of the Jeannette is, like many explorations before and after it, one of extreme heroism, a good deal of heartbreak, and high adventure for those of us in armchairs. This is a fine addition to the literature.
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152 of 160 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I could not put this book down.

This is a detailed historical account of a tragic polar expedition that reads like a psychological thriller novel. Adding to the novelistic flavor are poignant quotes from the journals and letters of the expedition's men and stories about their loved ones waiting for their return.

When George Washington De Long, a young naval officer, left the San Francisco harbor on July 8, 1879, commanding the ship "Jeanette," he was already a national hero. Earnest and methodical, he was leading a handpicked, competent, disciplined crew, bound for the North Pole.

De Long and many other explorers and scientists in that era believed that the Arctic ice pack formed only an outer ring, and beyond it was an "Open Polar Sea." This "Open Polar Sea" was thought to be a large, warm water basin, that a ship might sail through right to the North Pole, possibly finding land and inhabitants at the North Pole. De Long's expedition was in search of a pathway through this ice to the "Open Polar Sea."

De Long did not know, as he set sail, that data from a U.S. Bering Sea survey disproving the "Open Polar Sea" theory would reach Washington, DC after he sailed.

Even after he began to suspect that the theory might be wrong, he continued pursuing his goal of reaching the North Pole and making additional discoveries in the Arctic. This was not a totally unreasonable idea -- the ship was heavily reinforced to resist the ice packs, and carried huge amounts of coal to keep the crew warm, plentiful food, dogs for hauling and an excellent navigator, an innovative engineer and a brilliant doctor.
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In the Kingdom of Ice follows the trails and tribulations of the brave men who explored the North Pole in the late 1800's. The book focuses on the crew of the USS Jeannette which was bankrolled by the New York Herald and James Gordon Bennet and led by the United States Navy. The expedition was led by George De Long who had been gripped by "Arctic fever" and like many of his crew had an intense desire to traverse to the North Pole. Although the expedition is not successful it does dispel many myths of the day about the Arctic and was the last major attempt to sail into the North Pole disproving the "open polar sea" theory. The book is very detailed and covers the facts of what occurred to the USS Jeannette including the eventual losing of the ship and the desperate 1000 mile crossing into Siberia that the crew made to try and save their lives. While many would be lost in this attempt some would make it and tell their story of tragedy in the one of the most unforgiving wilderness on earth. The author keeps the story moving with lots of cliff hanging moments and stories from the crew that will take the readers breath away. This is a well written work and a must read for those looking for the little told stories in American History.
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61 of 68 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
North of Siberia, there is a chain of uninhibited, frozen islands: Jeannette, Henrietta, and Bennett. This chain is known as the DeLong islands, after George Washington DeLong. This is the story of how those islands were discovered, why they got that name...and at what price.

George DeLong was a young navy captain who became entranced with the Arctic on a disastrous voyage with the Juniata, during the years when all the world was inspired by the race to the North Pole. He became determined to find his own ship, and take his own quest. His path intersected with two incredible characters of the time. First was James Bennett, the profligate millionaire playboy newspaper owner who once terrified New York City by inventing and publishing a story about escaped Central Park Zoo animals going on a killing spree, and whose engagement to a society girl was cancelled by her horrified family when he peed into their grand piano at a high society party. Bennett, a lover of spectacle, liked inventing news more than reporting it - and became enchanted with the idea of sending his own party out to find the North Pole. Second was August Petermann, a world famous cartographer who rarely left his living room, had never traveled, but somehow had fashioned himself as one of the global authorities on the geography of the North Pole. Petermann was convinced that just past the polar ice pack was an open Polar Sea, with its own glorious continent, and he convinced Bennett to fund the search for it - and Bennett hired DeLong to do so. What happens from there is as grand and terrible as you might expect, to quote the book's sub title.

There have been lots of polar exploration stories, and I doubt any of them will ever touch one of the first, Lansing's Endurance and its story of Shackleton.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Riveting Read
Beautifully researched and's a real page turner you don't want to put down. The characters spring to life from each and every page.
Published 1 day ago by Wagkat
5.0 out of 5 stars Any lover of adventure must read this tale
I must tell you beforehand that I just love exploration stories, especially those whose object was to reach the North or South Pole. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Marc Ranger
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Page Turner This is a great book about an attempt to reach the...
A Real Page Turner

This is a great book about an attempt to reach the north pole by ship, at a time when some thought there was an open polar sea. Read more
Published 2 days ago by timothy sho donahue
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 days ago by Gerald F. Grover
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story...well written
Occasionally a book comes along that grabs you and holds your attention fully until you put it down. I appreciate Hampton Sides writing style. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Brian Janssen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great writing and exciting story, even though the ending is tragic.
Published 3 days ago by diane freeman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book.
Published 3 days ago by Russell Fullmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book!!!!
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Patricia's review May 18, 15 · edit
5 of 5 stars
Read from May 15 to 17, 2015

This book was fabulous and I couldn't put it down. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Patricia
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I liked it very much, cold though.
Published 4 days ago by j
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
Fascinating look into a time in history, men' s obsessions with unknown territories, and the relationships among explorers. I was sorry when it ended.
Published 4 days ago by barbara Kapp Schwam
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More About the Author

A native of Memphis, HAMPTON SIDES is editor-at-large for Outside magazine and the author of the international bestseller Ghost Soldiers, which was the basis for the 2005 Miramax film The Great Raid. Ghost Soldiers won the 2002 PEN USA Award for nonfiction and the 2002 Discover Award from Barnes & Noble, and his magazine work has been twice nominated for National Magazine Awards for feature writing. Hampton is also the author of Americana and Stomping Grounds. A graduate of Yale with a B.A. in history, he lives in New Mexico with his wife, Anne, and their three sons.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#54 in Books > History
#54 in Books > History

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