In The Kingdom of Ice

The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

Project Description

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, although theories abounded. The foremost cartographer in the world, a German named August Petermann, believed that warm currents sustained a verdant island at the top of the world. National glory would fall to whoever could plant his flag upon its shores.

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.

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Time Magazine
In the Kingdom of Ice Brings Cold Comfort

New York Times Book Review
Abandon Ship!

Miami Herald
‘In the Kingdom of Ice’ recreates a disastrous Arctic voyage

Nashville Scene
With In the Kingdom of Ice, Hampton Sides captures the horror and heroism of 19th century exploration

USA Today
You’ll want to crack this harrowing ‘Ice’ survival tale

Christian Science Monitor
‘In the Kingdom of Ice’ follows a disaster-ridden journey to the North Pole

Dallas Morning News
“The opening section of Hampton Sides’ excellent In the Kingdom of Ice is written with a master craftsman’s flourish….”

Washington Post
“On a crisp, clear afternoon in July 1879, a group of 33 men known officially as the U.S. Arctic Expedition left San Francisco on one of the most foolhardy missions in the history of exploration: to cruise through the Bering Strait and reach the geographic North Pole — entirely by ship…”

Los Angeles Times
‘Kingdom of Ice’ uncovers a polar adventure frozen in time

Wall Street Journal
The expedition of the USS Jeannette was guided by a dubious theory that a sea of warm water sat atop the North Pole.

Cleveland Plain Dealer
Journalist Hampton Sides traces the mysterious story of a 19th-century ship lost ‘In the Kingdom of Ice’

Santa Fe New Mexican
“…Kingdom is part thriller, part mystery, and even part romance. Timeless mythological and legendary qualities emerge; there are elements of Sisyphean effort and quixotic aspiration….”

Publisher’s Weekly BEA 2014: Hampton Sides: Icebound in Siberia

KIRKUS Review“Another crackling tale of adventure from journalist/explorer Sides…”

Boston Globe
‘In the Kingdom of Ice’ by Hampton Sides

Minneapolis Star Tribune
NONFICTION: Hampton Sides recounts the disastrous journey of the USS Jeannette, which was headed for the North Pole but spent two years trapped in Arctic ice.

Richmond Times Dispatch
“As a species, we seem to have a fascination with last frontiers…”



Daily Mail UK
February 25, 2015
EXCLUSIVE: Russian bid to raise wreck of US Navy ship that tried to be first to conquer the North Pole and whose crew trekked 500 miles across Arctic ice in desperate survival battle

Book discussion broadcast live on C-Span’s Book TV
August 20, 2014
Book Discussion on In the Kingdom of Ice

“Think” on Dallas’s KERA (NPR)
August 19, 2014
Arctic Adventure

The Huffington Post
August 16, 2014
What Can a 19th Century Arctic Shipwreck Tell Us About the 21st Century’s Most Wicked Problem?

Diane Rehm Show (national NPR talkshow)
August 14, 2014
Hampton Sides: “In the Kingdom of Ice”

“Radio Times” on Philadelphia’s WHYY (NPR)
August 7, 2014
Hampton Sides: In the Kingdom of Ice

NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon
August 2, 2014
In 1879, Explorers Set Sail To Solve Arctic Mystery, Once And For All

Wall Street Journal essay by Hampton Sides
August 1, 2014
Why an 1879 Voyage Is a Time Machine for Climate Change

Santa Fe Radio Cafe with Mary-Charlotte Domandi
August 1, 2014
Hampton Sides Journalist, editor at Outside, and author of several best-selling books including Hellhound on his Trail and Blood and Thunder.

Imus in the Morning
July 31, 2014
A survival story of polar exploration in the Gilded Age

KRCCHistorian with a Novelist’s Tools: An Interview With Hampton Sides

Trailer for In The Kingdom of Ice from DoubleDay

Book TVHampton Sides, “In the Kingdom of Ice”

NPR – The Picture Show
A Picture Postcard From Wild Wrangel Island

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