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.
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.
©2014 Hampton Sides (P)2014 Random House Audio
It is long by audio book standards but it was worth it because of all of the context of the era provided. It helps answer the question "why" that most often comes up when you read or listen to these stories of exploration.
The fact that I don't remember the performance is a good thing. Some audio books are ruined by either droning or the reader trying to do too many voices and accents. This was more or less a straight through narrative reading with inflection in the right places.
The real words from the journals and ship logs made it more touching and personal.
This is a good compliment to all the Antarctic exploration/disaster books. It is hard to believe that not that long ago there were no cell phones, satellites, airplanes, etc. People went on these expeditions with two years of supplies into an unmapped region of our own planet.
Kingdom of Ice is a spellbinding novel written about the epic naval expedition to the North Pole taken by 33 men in the late 1800’s. It was believed that a rim of ice circled the top of the globe that, once broken, lead to an warmer “open polar sea.’” The North Pole would then be easy sailing. Their passion for adventure leads them to years and years of survival and endurance in the most extreme of conditions.
Hampton Sides details this adventure in a thriller that had me sneak reading throughout the day and staying up late into the night. His heartfelt portraits of these heroic figures using memoirs, crew’s journals, naval records and private correspondence created unforgettable characters that I soon cared very deeply about.
What an incredible, well told, tale.
I have always felt my two favorite audiobooks were "The Man That Ate His Boots" and "The Worst Journey in The World." This is right up there with the best. Like those, it is one I have already listened to multiple times.
I will listen to this beautiful, tragic account again. So much history I knew nothing about but now want to learn more. Its amazing to think that such daring people attempted such outlandish exploratory travels for their country's glory and for the desire to discover something new.
DeLong and Melville were incredible, driven individuals. They were unwavering in their discipline, drive, commitment and intelligence. To think that anyone survived, is almost unbelievable but these two men, ensured just that.
Captivating, engaging and sympathetic.
Too many to mention.
I would recommend this to everyone, regardless of the type of prose you prefer. It is an important recount of our history and intriguing to learn about a somewhat forgotten time.
Because the Commander and his crew kept such detailed written records of this voyage, the story is absolutely riveting. If you want to know what it is like to be stuck in a frozen ocean for a very long time, this is the book for you.
arctic adventure death
Masterfully written, the author brings together many first person accounts and weaves them together into a seamless whole. It helps, of course, that both Captain and Emma DeLong are fabulous writers in their own right, as is Melville.
Yes, it was difficult to put down. Although towards the end it was so painful to listen to their story, that I had to take breaks.
yes, because there is so much history and geography involved I am learning as I listen and do my own research
Leaving their loved ones was very emotional
this is too long for one sitting
Couldn't stop listening.
It was a totally fascinating glimpse into a story and world that I knew nothing about, and I grew to care deeply about the characters.
No, I haven't.
All of it. Wow.
This book made me stop to look things up - see maps of the voyage and pictures of the Jeannette and the crew. It totally read like fiction, and certainly didn't seem like a story from over a hundred years ago. I'm totally intrigued to learn more about arctic exploration - a topic I totally had zero interest in before this book!
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