In the last few decades of the 19th century, the world looked very different from the way it does now. Parts of the map were unfilled–chief among those spaces was the North Pole, which many believed contained warm currents that might provide safe passage. Enter James Gordon Bennett, the wealthy and eccentric owner of the New York Herald. Bennett–who was responsible for sending Stanley in search of Livingstone–wanted to produce another thrill for his readers, so he funded a naval expedition to reach the pole. Captained by George Washington De Long, the U.S.S. Jeannette shipped out in 1879 toward glory and parts unknown. The Jeannette became encased in ice, but the adventure was only just beginning. 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 theJeannette. How could a book about this much snow and ice be this good?