Ice, the final frontier. Long before the space race, came the race to discover the Polar Regions. Many men led expeditions to the Arctic hoping to be the first to claim it for their country. Theories abounded as to what the explorers would find. “In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette ” by Hampton Sides briefly tells of some of these journeys but it focuses on one of them. The USS Jeannette, led by Commanding Office DeLong, and her crew headed north out of San Francisco in the late 1800s well-equipped to face the Arctic weather. Or so they thought. The crew experienced many life threatening conditions including having the ship frozen in ice for months, blizzards, snow-blindness, hunger, and 58 degrees below zero temperatures. I highly recommend this book but it may be best to grab a blanket when reading about the freezing adventures of the USS Jeannette and her crew.
In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
Was the British luxury ocean liner Lusitania, sunk in British waters during World War I, an inevitable casualty of war? Was there anything that could have been done to save her or her civilian passengers, which included a record number of infants and children? Had wartime rules of engagement changed?
Erik Larson’s considerable research illuminates the remarkable series of coincidences and decisions that converged to consign the Lusitania and most of her passengers and crew to a watery grave. Larson skillfully brings individual passengers, captain, crew, and military leaders to life while detailing the behind-the-scenes machinations that played such a significant role in the Lusitania’s sinking.
Whether you enjoy historical nonfiction or have shied away from reading it because of concern about dry text or an avalanche of dates, names, and places, this riveting read is for you.
Tatiana by Martin Cruz Smith
Old Russia meets new Russia as the ever-cynical but ever-curious Moscow police investigator Arkady Renko moves among the two cultures in this latest Martin Cruz Smith book, “Tatiana”. Despite opposition from his superiors, Arkady insists there is a link between a reporter falling to her death and a mobster shot and killed. Throughout his investigation, Arkady fights with his own department while risking his life and reputation to solve this mystery. Within this twisting plot, Smith has added a hint of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code as Arkady must de-code a key aspect to the case. In this eighth international thriller of the Arkady series, Smith has continued to create strong characters, great dialogue, and a plot that keeps the reader’s interest to the last page.