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Trial by Ice: The True Story of Murder and Survival on the 1871 Polaris Expedition
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Trial by Ice: The True Story of Murder and Survival on the 1871 Polaris Expedition

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  137 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
In 1871, the Polaris sailed with great fanfare from New York harbor and began a historic journey to one of the earth’s final frontiers. Seven months later, a handful of half-starved survivors returned with a story that shocked the entire nation. . . .

In the dark, divisive years following the Civil War, America’s foremost Arctic explorer, Charles Francis Hall, became a figu
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 27th 2001 by Ballantine Books
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Insubordination. Sabotage. Drunkenness. Poisoning. And so much plain stupidity. No one should have survived this search for the North Pole, yet everyone does except, oh yeah, the leader, and he was murdered. It seems like almost everyone was doing everything they could to make the expedition fail. I've read other exploration tales, and they are uplifting and you are really rooting for the people to survive and make it home. I found this story very aggravating because these people did things ...more
Jennifer Bohnhoff
Mar 30, 2016 Jennifer Bohnhoff rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
If someone wanted to write a gothic horror novel set in the Arctic, this would be a great starting point. The hero would be the leader of the Polaris Expedition, but the point of view character would be the doctor who may have poisoned his Captain. They are but two of a crew filled with warped and shady characters, all part of a true story of deceit and lawlessness aboard an ill-fated expedition to the North Pole. Interesting reading.
Jul 24, 2012 Ritchie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This is probably a really good book but... did nobody proof read this first? the amount of spelling mistakes, using ] instead of l, letters missed out of words, spaces in the middle of words, words joined together make this unreadable which is disappointing.

I actually managed to get half way through but can't take anymore.

Mel Ostrov
Jan 19, 2016 Mel Ostrov rated it really liked it
Trial by Ice: The True Story…
Richard Parry

This is a true very-well researched history of a post Civil War sea venture exploring the Arctic Ocean and attempting to reach the North Pole, authorized by President U.S. Grant. The story is related in minute detail. Don’t expect it to read like a novel; the characters are not so very well developed in character or appearance. Yet you learn very much about 19th century sea-faring , preparing for all possible difficulties, and man’s ingenuity during e
May 04, 2013 Deborah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating tale of the controversial and doomed Hall expedition; I expected to be drawn into the story immediately since exploration is a favourite genre of mine. I was, but throughout the entire book, the typos, stuck-together words, strange symbols, mis-spelled words, lack of correct punctuation--and on and on--took away the joy of reading, and at times made the book practically unreadable.

These mistakes and lack of proofing are worse than almost any independently published mobi for
Jul 28, 2015 Jason rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angela Wade
An overview of all the books on the Polaris expedition, sadly filled with speculation and hearsay.

Did appreciate the medically-certain facts regarding snow blindness and hypothermia.

The story about Buddington becoming violently ill after eating dinner on June 4, 1873, just before the men were rescued by the whaler, is something I've never seen mentioned anywhere else.

Big discrepancy: the author talks about how little food the men who were stranded on shore had (Buddington's party), then goes on
Annie L
Mar 22, 2013 Annie L rated it it was amazing
This story blew my mind. I listened to it while experiencing a very challenging winter. Then and so many times since I have thought "if they could survive that, I should be able to handle this!" Tookoolito (an Inuit guide from Greenland and wife of Inuit guide Joseph Ebierbing) remains one of my most revered women in history. An incredible though true story masterfully brought to life. I found it every bit as riveting as any of the action films my housemate likes to watch. My local library has a ...more
Frederick Gault
Dec 30, 2013 Frederick Gault rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, science
These poor bastards had a spot of bother in the Arctic that makes Shackleton's problems look like a summer picnic! In 1871 a US-led expedition tried to get to the North Pole. Due to poor leadership and the murder (yes murder) of the leader, the attempt fell apart in a spectacular fashion. The boat sank, the crew split into two groups, one of which rode 1800 miles on icebergs over a period of months! Despite this everyone, save the murdered leader, survived - although it is quite obvious they ...more
Jan 25, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it
I thought this was a really well written account of what must have been a harrowing experience for everyone on the Polaris. I really enjoyed how Richard Parry included just enough details without bogging down the narrative of the book. He also included modern research on topics like frostbite, to help the reader better understand what the men on the ship were going though. Anyone interested in polar exploration should put this book on their to-read list.
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Rather fed up with contemporary fiction at the moment so this is my new 'craft by audio' book.

I had little knowledge of this American thrust for the north pole as, hailing from Northern Europe, there is much to absorb more locally on the subject but this is yet another dismal look at mans' inhumanity to fellow man.

It reads like a film plot.

Emil Bessel was an evil, self-serving little shite a force for the worse; who would be best to portray him on the silver screen?
Aug 16, 2013 Kelli rated it liked it
Shelves: history, adult
I found this story to be distressing. The author asserts that professional and nationalistic jealousies, as well as a US government coverup, were responsible for the death of Commander C.F. Hall, as the Polaris attempted to reach the North Pole. The story is compelling, following the two segments of the crew as they get separated in the arctic.
Steve P
Aug 29, 2015 Steve P rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Excellent, only spoilt by a 'tabloid' style of writing in places.

How incompetence and political corruption bedevilled an American shipboard expedition that was to make the first journey to the North Pole in the late 19th Century. If this was a work of fiction it would be barely believable.
Paul Vilarino
Sep 14, 2010 Paul Vilarino rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Love this type of book, how could people go to such extremes and survive. As with all books written about explorers/adventures
call them what you will, it makes one realize how far the human body can go before breaking.
Tony Chehrehgosha
Tony Chehrehgosha rated it really liked it
Dec 25, 2011
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Nov 16, 2012
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May 30, 2012
Bob Hoffman
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May 17, 2009
Máire rated it it was amazing
Sep 06, 2012
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Aug 20, 2015
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Jul 31, 2014
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Feb 17, 2008
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Jan 22, 2015 Charlotte rated it really liked it
A story where the truth is more dramatic than fiction
Barbara Roden
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Feb 14, 2009
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Nov 06, 2012
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