240 of 248 people found the following review helpful
Ripping yarn, moving tale,
This review is from: In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette (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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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 18, 2014 5:43:47 PM PST
Amazon Customer says:
I am interested in the leadership examples presented by the Ernest Shackleton in the expedition he led to Antarctica. Does LT LeLong demonstrate similar leadership skills?
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2014 9:25:31 AM PST
Allison Palmer says:
The author doesn't necessarily dwell on De Long's leadership skills, but he does present the high character of his leadership clearly and often. I read Caroline Alexander's book on the Shackleton expedition years ago, but I don't remember exactly how she dealt with his leadership skills. I can't say if Sides' book is what you're looking for, but it was a great read. I could hardly put it down.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2014 10:44:32 AM PST
J. Hundley says:
Allison Palmer's comment does a nice job of answering and I can't really add much to it, other than to echo that, yes, this is a wonderful read in any case. Somewhat related to Shackleton, a few years ago I wrote a course that looked at and compared the leadership styles and decision-making of Scott and Amundsen. Amundsen is a fascinating leadership study in that he was so efficient, well-prepared and effective, that history has tended to view him as cold and even machine-like (though his men rightly loved him). He is often neglected because of his very success. I highly recommend Hanford's The Last Place on Earth if you aren't already familiar with it.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2014 4:05:11 PM PST
Amazon Customer says:
Allison and J.,
Thanks for the replies. I will definitely have to give this book a read.
In reply to an earlier post on May 7, 2015 2:51:24 PM PDT
Bart B. says:
De Long did not survive the ordeal, and was buried under rocks in the Lena Delta. The expedition's Chief Engineer, George Melville, capably led the survivors to shore then up the Lena another 1000 miles to Yakutsk. His book, "In the Lena Delta" is riveting, and available on Amazon as a reprint.
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