I enjoy reading nonfiction. I do. The topic is polar exploration--the North Pole to be precise. (I've read more about the South Pole, by the way.) The good news is that In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette is fascinating and thorough. It is detailed and focused on personalities and contexts. (Two of the personalities explored are George Washington De Long and James Gordon Bennett, Jr.)
The trip is presented in great detail. Before the trip: how/when De Long became interested in polar exploration, finding financial backers for the trip, finding THE ship, finding men to go with him, finding resources and materials, doing the research, picking and choosing what research to rely on, planning and organizing, etc. During the trip: before the Jeannette got trapped in ice--what it was like on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis, the dangers, the joys, etc., trapped in the ice on ship--what it was like to spend YEARS (I believe almost two years?) on a ship that's trapped in the ice, what it was like to be stuck with the same people in such close quarters for those years, trapped ON the ice with NO ship--what it was like in the final months as thirty-something men with limited provisions and supplies, men not in the best health, fought to survive and reach land and civilization. After the trip: what it was like for the survivors to encounter land and civilization again, who survived, etc.
Most everything is given context and brought to life. That being said, it doesn't mean every person is likable!
I enjoyed reading this one. I found it to be a quick read--just a day or two at most.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews