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In the Kingdom of Ice

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message 1: by Lucy (new)

Lucy (lucy47) | 146 comments This book is ver-r-r-y slow getting going, the author spending WAY too much time on minutiae that don't advance the story (didn't need to know so much about James Bennett (the Herald pub'r bankrolling the Jeanette expedition) and his peculiarities or Petermann (the manic-depressive German geographer whose "open polar seas" theories prevailed in spite of absence of evidence). A third of the way thru the bk, and I'm still waiting for the promised 'gripping adventure'. But two things I've enjoyed reading about: the amazing credulity of the public (and some scientists!) in those days -- prepared & eager to believe any fantastic theories about unexplored lands and undiscovered peoples/creatures. And second: just finished a passage about Democrats of the day and their utter scorn for the new Pres (Rutherford Hayes), who they called 'Ruther-fraud'; many boycotted his inauguration and declared his election illegitimate due to Electoral Coll. shenanigans!


message 2: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth Hardcastle | 3 comments Hey Lucy! Thanks for getting the discussion up and running.

Hello group! For those of you who don't know me, I'm the substitute book club leader this month. This book does help me appreciate this unseasonably warm weather even more.

I agree that progress on this book is slow. I quite appreciate some of the background information, though. I think Bennett is quite a character. I'm on page 60, and have to do some serious reading before Thursday.

It's fascinating that people believed in the Open Polar Sea with little evidence, though perhaps it's telling that people don't really need evidence these days either. It makes me wonder what science we believe now that has little basis in reality. (To say nothing of the stuff that has been bizarrely politicized.)

It would be hard to believe that we have some facts completely wrong about the composition or geography of the Earth, for instance, but we will no doubt find proof of something new someday. I would bet there are a number of things in history that we have completely wrong, due to that whole "history is written by the winners" thing. I'm sure there's also plenty of science (think outer space) where scientists have made educated guesses, but people accept it as fact, and it will be proven wrong eventually.


message 3: by Anne (new)

Anne | 85 comments I really enjoyed the book...for some reasons I probably shouldn't share until Thursday. I love his descriptions of Bennet basically creating news stories (even the fake one! How appropriate!) and thinking of the world being so invested in this type of exploration and discovery. The absolute slowness is even fascinating in its own way. "Bye. Going to the North Pole. Hopefully talk to you in a couple YEARS." That blows my mind. I was on tenter hooks in the final chapters because I really didn't know what would happen. It reminded me of Dead Wake in many ways: detailed writing, ship, many interesting "characters," somewhat known event where I don't completely know the "how" of the outcome.


message 4: by Readridinghood (new)

Readridinghood | 54 comments I thought the
Jeannette would never get underway! Took to part three! It's beginning to pick up for me now. DeLong's cabin just got hit by a large wave. DeLong fired the cabin boy. I wonder if DeLong made the cabin boy tidy his quarters one last time first!


message 5: by Readridinghood (new)

Readridinghood | 54 comments What a beautiful last letter DeLong wrote to this wife! (I'm a romantic at heart!)


message 6: by Vera (new)

Vera Emmons | 25 comments Hi all,
I am sick so I won't be coming tonight. I thought I might make it, but with a fever, I don't think anyone would appreciate it. See you next month!

I agree with the folks who said the book had a slow start but picked up steam. It's a fascinating tale that I wouldn't have known about without the book group, so Thanks, Travis! It reminds me of Erik Larson's style.


message 7: by Anne (new)

Anne | 85 comments Definitely agree with the Larsen/Dead Wake comparison. Feel better!


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