I rarely review nonfiction, but recently my library book club read a really great nonfiction book: In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides.
Before reading this book, I had never heard about the USS Jeannette and I can’t say I was terribly interested in learning more, but I really loved this book and felt so invested in finding out what happened. This was both a tragic event and a demonstration of human strength an resilience. After their ship was irreparably damaged, the captain and crew forged ahead in an attempt to reach Russia and civilization.
The beginning of this book was very slow, and I found it hard to pay attention to the details about naval history and the designs of various ships. However, once the expedition actually started, I felt sucked in and really engaged with the arctic adventures of the captain and crew. Additionally, there are many examples of letters that the captain’s wife wrote during his journey. These added a great human element, and I enjoyed learning more about her as well.
I would definitely recommend this book to history lovers. It was informative and engaging and deals with an interesting historical event that I don’t think most people know much about.