In the Kingdom of Ice
For centuries the realms of the far North have excited the imagination. Until late Victorian times it was thought that, beyond the frozen wastes rimming the northern continents, the Arctic was clear of ice.
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“. . . a true tale of extraordinary courage and endurance.”
A “thermometric gateway” created by a warm Pacific Ocean current would lead to open water and the North Pole itself. The best geographers and cartographers of the day were so convinced of this that the region was even marked as such on maps. It only remained for someone bold enough to venture north and confirm – or deny – the supposition.
Enter Lt. George Washington De Long, USN, whose early experience in the Arctic began his lifelong obsession with exploring the top of the world. An expedition took shape under his command, backed by the US Navy and the fortune of eccentric newspaper proprietor James Gordon Bennett Jr. The USS Jeanette sailed from San Francisco on July 8, 1879, bound for the Bering Strait and an attempt to sail right to the North Pole. Aboard her, she had the pick of the nautical and scientific talent of the day, an international cast of explorers sailing under the Stars and Stripes. With Jeanette’s reinforced hull, abundant supplies and the latest equipment aboard every contingency had been prepared for – or so it was thought.
In an age where the telegraph had yet to reach the remotest locations of the Earth, the Jeannette expedition was truly out beyond the edge of human experience. At a terrible cost to themselves, De Long and his men engaged in the search and discovery of hard scientific truth that would ultimately change the way humanity perceived the Arctic.
Hampton Sides narrates a true tale of extraordinary courage and endurance In the Kingdom of Ice. With climate change altering the very nature of the Arctic, the world’s attention is once again focusing on the region and its untapped natural resources. This book is a timely and highly enthralling reminder of those brave adventurers who prepared the way for our modern understanding of this remote and dangerous place.
Reviewer: Cindy A. Matthews