Download In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette Audiobook

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette Audiobook, by Hampton Sides Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Hampton Sides Narrator: Arthur Morey Publisher: Random House Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2014 ISBN: 9780307966551
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New York Times bestselling author Hampton Sides returns with a white-knuckle tale of polar exploration and survival in the Gilded Age In the late nineteenth century, people were obsessed by one of the last unmapped areas of the globe: the North Pole. No one knew what existed beyond the fortress of ice rimming the northern oceans, although theories abounded. The foremost cartographer in the world, a German named August Petermann, believed that warm currents sustained a verdant island at the top of the world. National glory would fall to whoever could plant his flag upon its shores. James Gordon Bennett, the eccentric and stupendously wealthy owner of The New York Herald, had recently captured the world's attention by dispatching Stanley to Africa to find Dr. Livingstone. Now he was keen to re-create that sensation on an even more epic scale. So he funded an official U.S. naval expedition to reach the Pole, choosing as its captain a young officer named George Washington De Long, who had gained fame for a rescue operation off the coast of Greenland. De Long led a team of 32 men deep into uncharted Arctic waters, carrying the aspirations of a young country burning to become a world power. On July 8, 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds in the grip of "Arctic Fever." The ship sailed into uncharted seas, but soon was trapped in pack ice. Two years into the harrowing voyage, the hull was breached. Amid the rush of water and the shrieks of breaking wooden boards, the crew abandoned the ship. Less than an hour later, the Jeannette sank to the bottom,and the men found themselves marooned a thousand miles north of Siberia with only the barest supplies. Thus began their long march across the endless ice—a frozen hell in the most lonesome corner of the world. Facing everything from snow blindness and polar bears to ferocious storms and frosty labyrinths, the expedition battled madness and starvation as they desperately strove for survival. With twists and turns worthy of a thriller, In The Kingdom of Ice is a spellbinding tale of heroism and determination in the most unforgiving territory on Earth. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Hampton Sides is one of America’s most expansive and engaging storytellers, and he proves it again with the incredible saga of the USS Jeannette."

    Scott Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of Lawrence in Arabia

  • “[A] stunningly vivid account.”

    Mark Bowden, New York Times Bestselling author of Black Hawk Down

  • “A dazzling page-turner.”

    Nathaniel Philbrick, New York Times bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea

  • “[Sides] brings vividness to In the Kingdom of Ice, and in the tragedy of the Jeannette he’s found a story that epitomizes both the heroism and the ghastly expense of life that characterized the entire Arctic enterprise…With an eye for the telling detail, he sketches the crew members as individuals…In the Kingdom of Ice reads like a first-class epic thriller. De Long and his companions became explorers of not only unknown geographical territory but also extremes of suffering and despair. In his stoic endurance of disappointment and pain, De Long rivals Louis Zamperini, the hero of Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken.”


  • “In that worthy genre, exploration literature: Haven’t all great stories been told? Never underestimate the ingenuity of a first-rate author. Hampton Sides’ In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, which recounts the astonishing tribulations of a group of seafarers determined to be the first men to reach and reconnoiter the North Pole, is a splendid book in every way…It would be malicious to ruin the suspense about the fate of the Jeannette’s crew…The book is a marvelous nonfiction thriller.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “First-rate polar history and adventure narrative…wonderfully evocative…In the Kingdom of Ice is a harrowing story, well told, but it is more than just that. Sides illuminates Gilded Age society, offering droll anecdotes of Bennett’s escapades in New York, Newport, and Europe. The author also convincingly portrays what it was like to survive in northern Siberia and provides an engaging account of the voyage of the Corwin, a kind of mail and police steamer that searched for the Jeannette and carried John Muir as a supernumerary. In addition, Sides intersperses moving excerpts from Emma De Long’s increasingly agonized letters, letters her husband would never read.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Compelling…Sides spins a propulsive narrative from obscure documents, journals, and his own firsthand visits to the Arctic regions visited by the Jeannette and its crew. In the Kingdom of Ice makes for harrowing reading as it recounts the grim aspects of the explorers’ battle for survival: illness, crippling frostbite, snow-blindness, and the prospect of starvation. As grisly as the details are, you keep turning pages to find out how DeLong and his men pull themselves past each setback—even though there’s always another one looming ahead.”

    USA Today

  • “Author Hampton Sides does a masterful job of setting up the voyage against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, developing fascinating characters along the way, and delivering a true triumph of narrative nonfiction. Drawing on journal entries, letters, and eventually his own visit to the region, Sides paints a vivid, moving, and breathless portrait of the crew of the Jeannette. How could a book about this much snow and ice be this good?”, editorial review

  • “Unforgettable…a pulse-racing epic of endurance set against an exceedingly bizarre Arctic backdrop…[Sides’] descriptions of the physical challenges the men face and the eerie landscape that surrounds them are masterful. As De Long and his crew attempt to save themselves, the story grows in suspense and psychological complexity…Sides’ book is a masterful work of history and storytelling.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “There is enough humor, wonder, scandal and romance in these pages to make for good reading even if the ship never sets sail. It is well to be buoyed up by the first act because the Jeannette’s voyage is a disastrous one…The book’s final act is a stunning story of courage, loyalty and determination, at times horrifying, but not without moments of wonder… Exhaustively researched and brilliantly written, In the Kingdom of the Ice is the work of a top-notch historian and storyteller. Readers braced for its hardships are in for a great read.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “Hampton Sides’ phenomenally gripping new book…[about] one of the most perilous journeys ever. Sides works storytelling magic as he evokes the pathos and suffering of what unfolded: De Long and his crew endured hardships that boggle the mind. But there is also beauty here…[Sides] writes superbly on the geography of Siberia and the Arctic and the abundant bird and animal life the explorers encountered on their travels, which took them across ice, storm-tossed seas, treacherous tundra, rocky seacoasts, and volcanic islands.”

    Boston Globe

  • “In a masterful retelling, Sides chronicles American naval officer George Washington De Long’s harrowing 1879 expedition to the North Pole, an account as frightening as it is fascinating…Impeccable writing, a vivid re-creation of the expedition and the Victorian era, and a taut conclusion make this an exciting gem.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Narrator Arthur Morey’s impeccable tone and pacing portray the confidence and hopes of discovery prior to departure, the romance of De Long and his wife, the gravitas of the expedition’s situation when the ship sinks after two years of being stuck in the ice, the race to beat winter across 1,000 miles to Siberia, and the harsh beauty of the unforgiving landscape. Hampton Sides goes down multiple tangents with colorful characters, and Morey maintains our rapt attention. This may be a long listen, but it’s so thrilling and tragic that it just whizzes by.”


  • “Sides tapped amazing archival material, including diaries, letters, and the ship logs, to render a completely thrilling saga of survival in unbelievably harsh conditions.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Another crackling tale of adventure from journalist/explorer Sides, this one focusing on a frigid disaster nearly 150 years ago…A grand and grim narrative of thrilling exploration.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Gripping and well written…Suspenseful and well grounded with biographical and historical context, Sides’s work skillfully captures the passionate essence of determined explorer De Long, his indomitable compatriots, and the public’s fascination with his quest.”

    Library Journal

  • An Amazon Editor’s Top Pick for August 2014
  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, August 2014
  • A BookPage Top Pick for Nonfiction, August 2014
  • One of Barnes & Noble's Biggest Books for August 2014
  • A Wall Street Journal bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly bestseller
  • A San Francisco Chronicle bestseller
  • An NPR bestseller
  • A Chicago Tribune bestseller
  • A #1 New York Times bestseller
  • A Library Journal Best Book of 2014
  • An AudioFile Best Audiobook of the Year for 2014
  • A BookPage Best Book of 2014
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014
  • One of Audible’s Best Audiobooks of 2014: History
  • A Library Journal bestseller
  • Nominated for the 2015 Audie Award for History/Biography

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About the Author

Hampton Sides, a native of Memphis, is an award-winning editor of Outside and the author of the bestselling histories Blood and Thunder and Ghost Soldiers. He lives in New Mexico with his wife and their three sons.

About the Narrator

Arthur Morey has won three AudioFile Magazine “Best Of” Awards, and his work has garnered numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and placed him as a finalist for two Audie Awards. He has acted in a number of productions, both off Broadway in New York and off Loop in Chicago. He graduated from Harvard and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has won awards for his fiction and drama, worked as an editor with several book publishers, and taught literature and writing at Northwestern University. His plays and songs have been produced in New York, Chicago, and Milan, where he has also performed.