The Other Side of the Ice: One Family's Treacherous Journey Negotiating the Northwest Passage

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Overview

Sprague Theobald, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and expert sailor with over 40,000 offshore miles under his belt, always considered the Northwest Passage—the sea route connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific—the ultimate uncharted territory. Since Roald Amundsen completed the first successful crossing of the fabled Northwest Passage in 1906, only twenty-four pleasure craft have followed in his wake. Many more people have gone into space than have traversed the Passage, and a staggering number have died ...

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Overview

Sprague Theobald, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and expert sailor with over 40,000 offshore miles under his belt, always considered the Northwest Passage—the sea route connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific—the ultimate uncharted territory. Since Roald Amundsen completed the first successful crossing of the fabled Northwest Passage in 1906, only twenty-four pleasure craft have followed in his wake. Many more people have gone into space than have traversed the Passage, and a staggering number have died trying. From his home port of Newport, Rhode Island, through the Passage and around Alaska to Seattle, it would be an 8,500-mile trek filled with constant danger from ice, polar bears, and severe weather. 

What Theobald couldn’t have known was just how life-changing his journey through the Passage would be. Reuniting his children and stepchildren after a bad divorce more than fifteen years earlier, the family embarks with unanswered questions, untold hurts, and unspoken mistrusts hanging over their heads. Unrelenting cold, hungry polar bears, and a haunting landscape littered with sobering artifacts from the tragic Franklin Expedition of 1845, as well as personality clashes that threaten to tear the crew apart, make The Other Side of the Ice a harrowing story of survival, adventure, and, ultimately, redemption.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The story of Emmy Award–winning filmmaker Theobald's adventures through the Northwest Passage, a route through the Arctic Ocean well-known as a "ship killer." The author's journey was fraught with potentially deadly icebergs, polar bears and other dangerous elements, but his brief retelling of the experience buries most of the quest's unique moments in an avalanche of dead-end detours. However, there are moments worth remembering; the best scenes are those in which he ceases telling about how much the trip means to his family ("Dominique's words of wonder and amazement over the growing connections with her brothers overrode the pressures and concerns of what we all were attempting to do") and simply shows what happens. Accounts of the boat's near misses with ice and run-ins with animals are mostly well-narrated and will hold readers' attention, but irrelevant details bloat the book. As Theobald describes his worries about the tremendous financial burdens of the trip, he switches gears to describe minutiae such as the layers of dust on the air conditioner in a doctor's office, where his injured toe makes the first of its many appearances. Once the journey is underway, blow-by-blow dialogue of squabbles among the crew combines with over-the-top monologues of frustration. Unfortunately, co-author Kreda (Tales from the Montreal Canadiens Locker Room, 2012, etc.) does not stop Theobald from cramming the book with unmet promises. Though he writes of spending a day alone, "deep soul-searching," very little of this introspection makes it to the page. Eventually, a truly suspenseful scene occurs off the Pacific coast, but many readers will have bailed out before this payoff.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616086237
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/1/2012
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Sprague Theobald has received both national and international recognition for his writing, producing, cinematography,
and editing. Sprague’s résumé includes twelve-meter racing in the
America’s Cup arena, several transatlantic races, one of which was the Two Man Transatlantic Race, a complete circumnavigation of
North America, and over 40,000 offshore miles. He lives and works out of Newport, Rhode Island.

Allan Kreda spent almost two decades with the Associated
Press and Bloomberg News in New York, where he covered money and banking, the National Hockey League, and the sports media business. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, he lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2013

    A powerful and wonderful documentary of a life changing journey

    A powerful and wonderful documentary of a life changing journey. Sprague Theobald and his crew record the
    events of his quest to encounter the Northwest Passage, deadly ice, polar bears, Alaska storms bringing 12-15 foot waves crashing over the deck, rocky cliffs, and blinding fog. I felt like I was riding alongside his crew experiencing every part of the journey. At times I had to put the book down to escape the stories grip of danger and suffocating fear. I am honored to have joined his family. Theobald documents unimaginable odds, perils of the certainty of death almost at hand for the entire crew, the summoning of strength and determination from the depths of each crew members' soul to confront enormous power that out weighed them and pulled them together not only as a crew, but as a family reunited. Theobald, a pioneer in his own right, adds layers of depth to his expedition offering inserts of maritime history of failed, deadly attempts to navigate the Northwest Passage as he has done on a comparatively "small" vessel and short period of time.

    A book I am proud to own 2 copies of, one in my home office the other in the cabin of my families' cabin cruiser as we venture out on the waters. I loved every page! Thank you Sprague.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    As a merchant marine captain, who has sailed Arctic and Antarcti

    As a merchant marine captain, who has sailed Arctic and Antarctic waters I find the accounts of weather and ice completely credible. The impersonal malevolence of the frozen latitudes is something one never forgets; it completely overwhelms the pristine pastel beauty. The message that is often overlooked by those who romanticize the sea are the extreme day to day difficulties of living with different personalities while under unusual stress. In addition, the debilitating effects of sleep deprivation cannot be exaggerated. Through my eyes this was a foolish venture, with a fortunate outcome. However, it is well recorded and a very good read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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