- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Hachette Books; Reprint edition (October 10, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786884460
- ISBN-13: 978-0786884469
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 125 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #421,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Ice Master: The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Karluk Paperback – October 10, 2001
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". . . The Ice Master, both a celebration and a terrifying summation of the ferocity of nature, is a riveting read . . ." -- Entertainment Weekly
"A riveting adventure." -- Booklist
"Absorbing . . . Niven is meticulous in describing her characters' personal traits." -- Washington Post Book World
About the Author
JENNIFER NIVEN's first book, The Ice Master, was named one of the top ten nonfiction books of the year by Entertainment Weekly. Her second book, Ada Blackjack, was a Book Sense Top Ten Pick. Her memoir, The Aqua Net Diaries, was optioned by Warner Bros. Her bestselling debut novel, Velva Jean Learns to Drive, was followed by the sequel Velva Jean Learns to Fly. Her novel Becoming Clementine will be released in September. She lives in Los Angeles.
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Not a bad book, but I've read quite a few books like this that thought were far better.
Jennifer Niven did an excellent job with the sources to reveal the personalities of the officers and crew members. Some were painted in a very bad light. Stefansson, in particular, was not respected by Capt. Bartlett and much of the crew and seemed to regard the lives of his party as secondary to his goals. Several scientists had little respect for Bartlett and created their own clique that would eventually leave the rest of the crew and go their own way. When Bartlett left for Siberia to find help, he put in charge an officer described as very lazy with a lack of leadership skills. With the captain gone, discipline sometimes broke down. Some crew members stole food from others--even from the little Eskimo girls. There was even a possible murder. Much was written on scientists Bjarne Mamen and William McKinlay due to their large contribution to the source material. They, along with Capt. Bartlett, were the most likable of the story; however, much of the story was told from their point of view.
As another reviewer noted, a factual error is found in this book regarding the lack of survivors on the Jeanette which, in the late 1800s, had taken a similar route as the Karluk. The diary of the Jeanette's captain George Washington De Long was eagerly read by the scientists who decided to break away from Bartlett and his party. An incorrect name is used at the top of page 343--"Maurer, Chafe, and Templeman" should be "Maurer, Munro, and Templeman." One other criticism is the repetition throughout the book in both content and style. Many times Niven used the phrase that a crew member would pray something would happen or would not happen, sometimes in the same paragraph. She sited many times that Mamen did not know how their situation would end and then, on page 250, she wrote "for the first time [Mamen] truly could not imagine how it would all end." Specific hardships of the crew were also repeated many times. The repetition did, however, prolong a book which this reader looked forward to opening from beginning to end, so a star will not be deducted from the score.
I don't believe I can add much to the other previous reviews but this is my take on this great book.