Icebound

Overview

A superb account of the American Navy's boldest and most tragically ill-fated effort to reach the North Pole.

"A gripping tale,"--The Washington Post

"Truly exciting,"--The Atlantic Monthly

"Beautifully executed narrative,"--Kirkus Reviews

"...Uncovers intriguing new information, including the reason the expedition's full story was never revealed."--The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Uncommonly stirring,"--John Barkham Reviews

"On all levels, a book worth reading,"--The New York Times ...

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Overview

A superb account of the American Navy's boldest and most tragically ill-fated effort to reach the North Pole.

"A gripping tale,"--The Washington Post

"Truly exciting,"--The Atlantic Monthly

"Beautifully executed narrative,"--Kirkus Reviews

"...Uncovers intriguing new information, including the reason the expedition's full story was never revealed."--The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Uncommonly stirring,"--John Barkham Reviews

"On all levels, a book worth reading,"--The New York Times Book Review

This riveting account of America's unsuccessful quest for the North Pole in 1879 and the cover-up that followed reads like a Gothic mystery.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The 1879 expedition began with high hopes of Arctic discoveries; it came to disaster on Siberian shores, and the official investigation that followed was an adroitly managed cover-up. Guttridge, coauthor (with J. D. Smith) of The Commodores, has ferreted out the facts about the Jeannette and the ship's company. Playboy/publisher James Gordon Bennett underwrote the expedition, led by Lt. George W. De Long, USN. The Jeannette was trapped in ice for two years before it broke up; the crew escaped in three boats. One disappeared without a trace, two landed separately on the vast delta of the Lena River, and the men in one boat perished of starvation. Colorful characters abound: the navigation officer incapacitated by syphilis, the marvelously inventive engineer, a famous criminal lawyer hamstrung by collusion among the survivors, a widow determined to protect her late husband's reputation. Guttridge unfolds a gripping story of suspense and adventure. Illustrations not seen by PW. (June)
KLIATT
The story of the "quest" for the North Pole has been told before and will undoubtedly be told again, but to capture the desolation of the scenery, the isolation of the men, and above all the bone-chilling cold, in the way Guttridge does, captures the reader's attention even before the Jeannette Expedition leaves San Francisco. In 1879 there were more theories than facts about exactly what could be found north of the Bering Strait. Could there be a continent up there, and a civilization, with strange people and animals? The Jeannette had been thoroughly fitted out for a polar expedition, at great cost of time and money. She would be under military discipline, although only the officers were actually military people. George Washington De Long, a 12-year navy veteran, had had some experience in Arctic waters, and was practically obsessed with finding a passage to the North Pole. Political troubles added to the Jeannette's woes. James Gordon Bennett, owner of the New York Herald, was the promoter and financial backer of the trip. He had legal troubles that kept him abroad, and political troubles that forced him to deceive De Long concerning the support of the Navy Department for the expedition. That led to another unfortunate miscalculation—a Russian ship was lost somewhere around the Siberian coast, and the Jeannette was ordered to search for her. By the time the Jeannette completed her search, and found that the Russian had appeared safely in July, it was September. The Navy Department had refused the Jeannette's request for an escort ship to carry extra coal. That meant that once her coal was used up, there would be no more. When itwas half-used, they would have to turn back. The weather was not cooperative, and by October the Jeannette was encased in ice. The swelling ice cracked even the reinforced sides of the ship, and water began to appear everywhere. As the new year passed, the light returned, and the temperature crept above freezing, but the ice remained four feet thick or more. During the summer, the ship and her ice flow began to drift. They made little progress, and as winter approached the floe was again stuck fast. The Jeannette would face another winter in the ice, and the men would have to prepare to abandon her should her cracks prove fatal. The crew took to the ice with boats, sledges, dogs, and whatever supplies they could carry, and they gradually made their way to the open sea and then to Siberia. There is no happy ending. De Long and several men died in Siberia, and two of the survivors killed themselves much later. The book, while basically fascinating and beautifully written, is hard going. The situations are so often desperate; even the good times seem forced, and we know the ending. The exploration itself was scientifically useful, but for a non-scientist reader, the question remains, "Was it worth it?" Recommended for history buffs who don't mind difficult reading. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1986, Berkley, 328p. illus. references. index., Silverman
Library Journal
Guttridge recounts the history of the Jeannette expedition (1879-81), which cost the lives of its commander, George DeLong, and 19 others. This American expedition sailed with the hope of reaching the North Pole, but came to grief through a combination of faulty geographical assumptions, poor judgment, and bad luck. The ensuing controversy led to an official cover up, the details of which have been unearthed after a century by the author. Guttridge, co-author of the Commodores , has written a well-organized, detailed, readable account that will appeal to readers of polar and naval history. Jonathan F. Husband, Framingham State Coll. Lib., Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780595409815
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/14/2006
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 443,608
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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