I received a prerelease e-copy of this book through NetGalley (publication date August 5 2014) with the expectation that I will post a review on their site and others (my blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon, etc.).
I requested this book because I have read three others (Ghost Soldiers, Blood and Thunder, Hellhound on his Trail) by Hampton Sides and thoroughly enjoyed all of them. This book did not disappoint.
Like his other books, this one while covering historical events, reads like a thriller. It is fast paced and I found it hard to put down. His descriptions of the individuals and their personalities adds to this effort of finding the North Pole. These included James Gordon Bennett, who pushed for the expedition and financed a major portion of it, and George Washington DeLong, who led the crew of the USS Jeannette on their unsuccessful effort to reach the North Pole.
The author covers a time period when several groups were focused on being the first to the poles and this is well documented using letters, diaries and ship logs. The book is also about survival as the ship was caught in polar ice for over two years causing the crew to race to Siberia in order to survive. Some did, some did not.
I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in U.S. history, polar exploration or individual efforts to overcome daunting obstacles to survive.