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The S.S. Jeannette polar expedition began in a rush of journalistic savvy, patriotism, intellectual curiosity, and the sheer love of exploration. The ship, owned by newspaper magnate James Gordon Bennett and manned by U.S. Navy personnel, launched its Arctic mission in July 1879 predictably to much media ballyhoo. For almost two years, captain and crew continued their ambitious scientific work, but then in June 1881, the inevitable happened: Crushed by unyielding ice, the ship sank; the marooned sailors began a seemingly hopeless thousand mile trek to survival and the real excitement began. There have been other books about the Jeannette, but this gripping new history by bestselling author Hampton Sides (Ghost Soldiers; Outside) is indisputably the best.