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Has anyone with an extensive reading background in polar exploration read this book? I have read so many that I am beyond the ooo-ah stage. Sounds like they did a lot of dumb things that a little research could have avoided. So, can someone tell me why this would be worth reading.

Amy My goodness, how arrogant are we? Dumb things? They tried to prepare as best they could and they did tons of research relying on the most experienced people to give them advice and guidance. Just because this happened in the 1800s doesn't mean they did dumb things. In fact, throughout the entire book, I was amazed at their engineering skills and ingenuity. Incredible strength and determination. How can you do research on something that has never been explored? They went with the knowledge they had and they discovered many things in the name of science and navigation. I'm appalled that you would be so flippantly disregarding to these brave men who were courageous enough to explore unknown territory.
Margaret Willoughby I'm new to the polar exploration topic, but it seemed that DeLong did thorough research and that he relied heavily on the experts of the day: Petermann, whalers, naval officers, and his own experiences in the northern latitudes. I found it fascinating because of the personalities of those involved--their strengths and weaknesses that made them come to life. I felt tremendous sadness for their suffering and admiration for their loyalty to one another. It was very interesting to witness the decision-making process of DeLong.

I highly recommend the book. It was my favorite of the year and one of my all-time favorites. The story and the people stick with you long after you finish the book.
Bruce They did do their research, unfortunately they relied heavily on the foremost geographer of the day, August Petermann, who was sure (based only on his own theory) that the ice pack surrounded a warm and ice free Arctic Ocean. He also thought that Greenland stretched across the top of the globe and Wrangle Island north of the Bering Strait was part of the Greenland landmass. The Jeannette expedition proved both of Petermann's theories wrong.

The other reason to read this book is that Sides is a master of prose nonfiction.
Dannielle I haven't done a lot of reading on this, so I can't independently verify what the author presents. However, if the book is correct, much of the research had not been done at that point. The Jeanette was attempting to verify or debunk the theory of an open polar sea and the idea that the Japan current would allow them to pass through the Bering Strait to the North Pole. To that time, all attempts had been made via Greenland. De Long seems to have very much went into the voyage with the idea of finding out what was true and what was not. What I can verify is that this book is an excellent look into the psyche of the 19th century general public, politics, media, and the impacts of previous historical events on people in this era.
Laurie I've also read a lot of polar exploration stories and this one is unique. De Long did do a lot of research, but at the time they knew very little about approaching the pole from the west through the Bering Straight. All other polar attempts had been made from the coast of Greenland. The unique part of this story is the journey across the Lena River Delta in Siberia. It's well worth the read.
Pat I got hooked on the arctic when I was given The Arctic Grail by Pierre Berton. I just finished In the Kingdom of Ice -- a great read! It is exhaustively researched. I don't find that intimidating, but some people might. If you have read extensively on the subject you will well recognize the struggles and sufferings despite the best of planning. I found the section about the Lena delta mesmerizing and had to pull up Google Earth to see more.

I just ordered Ledyard which he used in his bibliography. Hey, it was only $.01 !
Beverly The point is, they DIDN'T do the research, or if they did they didn't believe it so they forged ahead and got themselves into a world of agony they could not possibly have imagined. The author tries (apparently in vain) to explain that they had few hard facts and many of the facts they had disagreed with what they wanted the facts to be, so they ignored them. They did what they did. How can you look back now and say well, they were stupid? They were, but they went ahead. We would never do that now, of course, like building huge cities on flood plains......oh wait....
Janet Carroll And people 150 years later are STILL doing dumb things.
Jay They WERE the research.
Mary Rhoads
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
James The wow of this book is not the mistakes they made but the fact that the carefully documented account of survival for so long in a place fit for neither man nor beast.
Julie I just read a review by "Matt" that made me want to read it, despite having a similar first reaction to this questioner!
Kendyce M I don't have extensive reading background in polar exploration. I was at a community book club event last night moderated by our local newspaper. The author gave a slideshow presentation and answered about a dozen questions from the audience. I was impressed by Mr. Sides' humor and ease with giving this presentation, and his knowledge in the subject and characters. I've read the prologue and part of the first chapter and I am finding it to be a worthwhile book. Thankfully, it is not written in an "easy reader" style. You'll also find many notes and a bibliography.
Paul Brandel Well allow me to answer your query.The writer was on Booktv talking about his latest book,In The Kingdom Of Ice.It the story really intriqued me to want to read his book.Great reviews from critics and reads like us.On amazon.com everyone but one reader enjoyed this book! This one is truly a 'no brainer'!
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