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Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition

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Based on the author's exhaustive research, the incredible true story of the Greely Expedition, one of the most harrowing adventures in the annals of polar exploration. In July 1881, Lt. A.W. Greely and his crew of 24 scientists and explorers were bound for the last region unmarked on global maps. Their goal: Farthest North. What would follow was one of the most Based on the author's exhaustive research, the incredible true story of the Greely Expedition, one of the most harrowing adventures in the annals of polar exploration. In July 1881, Lt. A.W. Greely and his crew of 24 scientists and explorers were bound for the last region unmarked on global maps. Their goal: Farthest North. What would follow was one of the most extraordinary and terrible voyages ever made. Greely and his men confronted every possible challenge—vicious wolves, sub-zero temperatures, and months of total darkness—as they set about exploring one of the most remote, unrelenting environments on the planet. In May 1882, they broke the 300-year-old record, and returned to camp to eagerly await the resupply ship scheduled to return at the end of the year. Only nothing came. 250 miles south, a wall of ice prevented any rescue from reaching them. Provisions thinned and a second winter descended. Back home, Greely's wife worked tirelessly against government resistance to rally a rescue mission. Months passed, and Greely made a drastic choice: he and his men loaded the remaining provisions and tools onto their five small boats, and pushed off into the treacherous waters. After just two weeks, dangerous floes surrounded them. Now new dangers awaited: insanity, threats of mutiny, and cannibalism. As food dwindled and the men weakened, Greely's expedition clung desperately to life. Labyrinth of Ice tells the true story of the heroic lives and deaths of these voyagers hell-bent on fame and fortune—at any cost—and how their journey changed the world.


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Based on the author's exhaustive research, the incredible true story of the Greely Expedition, one of the most harrowing adventures in the annals of polar exploration. In July 1881, Lt. A.W. Greely and his crew of 24 scientists and explorers were bound for the last region unmarked on global maps. Their goal: Farthest North. What would follow was one of the most Based on the author's exhaustive research, the incredible true story of the Greely Expedition, one of the most harrowing adventures in the annals of polar exploration. In July 1881, Lt. A.W. Greely and his crew of 24 scientists and explorers were bound for the last region unmarked on global maps. Their goal: Farthest North. What would follow was one of the most extraordinary and terrible voyages ever made. Greely and his men confronted every possible challenge—vicious wolves, sub-zero temperatures, and months of total darkness—as they set about exploring one of the most remote, unrelenting environments on the planet. In May 1882, they broke the 300-year-old record, and returned to camp to eagerly await the resupply ship scheduled to return at the end of the year. Only nothing came. 250 miles south, a wall of ice prevented any rescue from reaching them. Provisions thinned and a second winter descended. Back home, Greely's wife worked tirelessly against government resistance to rally a rescue mission. Months passed, and Greely made a drastic choice: he and his men loaded the remaining provisions and tools onto their five small boats, and pushed off into the treacherous waters. After just two weeks, dangerous floes surrounded them. Now new dangers awaited: insanity, threats of mutiny, and cannibalism. As food dwindled and the men weakened, Greely's expedition clung desperately to life. Labyrinth of Ice tells the true story of the heroic lives and deaths of these voyagers hell-bent on fame and fortune—at any cost—and how their journey changed the world.

30 review for Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    A huge thanks to St. Martin's Press, and Netgalley. I believe this is the book I've been waiting for! I've always been compelled to read about The Greely Expedition, but every book I've ever started was bogged down in facts. Facts are great, but I also need heart. The heart of the story isn't just facts, but it's the people. These crazy, brave men who had no experience of the Arctic, yet they somehow wanted to explore and leave their mark. I love reading about the Franklin Expedition, but there's A huge thanks to St. Martin's Press, and Netgalley. I believe this is the book I've been waiting for! I've always been compelled to read about The Greely Expedition, but every book I've ever started was bogged down in facts. Facts are great, but I also need heart. The heart of the story isn't just facts, but it's the people. These crazy, brave men who had no experience of the Arctic, yet they somehow wanted to explore and leave their mark. I love reading about the Franklin Expedition, but there's that point where nothing else is known. They came, they saw and they all died. No research, only a few caches and no resolution. The Jeanette is my favorite Arctic story. Man, that's one hair raising tale! This book and real life story is just as hair raising and heartbreaking. I know this happened back in 1881 to 1884, but this author brought everyone alive for me. I will always admire these brave people who risked everything to discover what lies at the top of the world. The will to survive is astounding to me. Sadly, all this deadly beauty is disappearing. I don't know about others, but for me, it actually hurts my heart. Excellent book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ***This is seriously the perfect gift for the men in your life. I know how difficult we can be to buy gifts for, but your dad, husband, brothers, uncles, friends, and lover(s) will absolutely love this adventure set in the snows and ice of The Farthest North.*** Let’s set the stage. ”From somewhere out in the bunched and knuckled hills came the plaintive howl of a wolf. Adolphus Greely, adjusting his spectacles and gazing at the three tall masts of the Proteus piercing the horizon, had cause for ***This is seriously the perfect gift for the men in your life. I know how difficult we can be to buy gifts for, but your dad, husband, brothers, uncles, friends, and lover(s) will absolutely love this adventure set in the snows and ice of The Farthest North.*** Let’s set the stage. ”From somewhere out in the bunched and knuckled hills came the plaintive howl of a wolf. Adolphus Greely, adjusting his spectacles and gazing at the three tall masts of the Proteus piercing the horizon, had cause for excitement and trepidation. For as his men lowered the whaleboats, and the twenty-eight-foot steam launch dubbed the Lady Greely, it occurred to him that they were 250 miles north of the last known Eskimo settlement, and more than 1,000 miles north of the Arctic Circle. They were, in fact, now the most northerly colony of human inhabitants in the world. They were being left, quite literally, at the end of the earth.” You are, fair reader, in for a grand adventure once you decide to pick up this book, but what you may not expect is that there is a love story woven into this tale. Not the... “what happens in the sleeping bag in the Far North stays in the Far North” type of fumbling romance, but some of that soulmate mysticism. When the bumbling Adolph Greely first meets the lovely and intelligent Henrietta, I wouldn’t have bet a single farthing on his chances, but he is persistent. She finally says,…”woo me with letters.” Don’t you just frilling love that? Not illiterate phone texts, but real letters, composed by the heart. I can see Greely at his desk, eyeglasses askew, hair mussed, surrounded by the crumpled remains of his wooing efforts, calling for a muse, any muse, to give him the words that will win him the attention of this lovely creature. He must have wielded a deft pen because he does convince Henrietta to be his wife. They have two daughters, and then he promptly sets off for the frozen North on a polar expedition. Now before you start thinking that men don’t care about romance, I can assure you they do. When a man is in the trenches and mortars are landing all about him, or sitting in a cooking pot in the South Pacific surrounded by cannibals, or freezing to death on an iceberg near the Arctic Circle, I know that every man’s last thoughts will be of his wife, his mother, his sister, or a lost lover (male/female, take your pick). Henrietta, through all the trials and tribulations that are about to happen to Adolph, is never far from his mind. Things, needless to say, go wrong for the expedition. I’ve never read an adventure story that unbelievable, disastrous things don’t happen. A clue resides in the subtitle…”The Triumph and TRAGIC Greely Polar Expedition.” Death is hardly a good trade off for triumph. The use of the word TRAGIC is why I prefer to experience wretched, cataclysmic exploration from the safety of my reading chair. I did put off reading this book until we had a snow storm. I prefer authenticity of weather to enhance my reading experience. I was able, while taking a break from reading to stretch my legs to walk out my sliding glass door and let the flakes of snow hit me in the face. I could imagine without too much effort that my deck was an iceberg. It helped to have Buddy Levy’s vivid images in my mind. ”A giant iceberg was thundering toward them from the north. Men looked up to see a mass of white upon them and then felt a shuddering jolt of impact from the collision. The immense pressure of the striking pack tore great rifts in their small berg, splitting its surface into canyons. They scurried wildly, leaping over deep fissures, hurrying to secure food and boats and gear as the ice rent and ruptured underfoot.” Holy whale of ice! Or how about this one: ”There was nothing to see in the distance but vastness--water and ice and rock. Their drift was at first gradual, almost imperceptible. But constant was the awful groaning and creaking and splitting of the ice pack, a sound so eerily hideous that it had come to be known as ‘the Devil’s Symphony.’ The sound of ice grinding against ice, shearing and shrieking, was an omnipresent reminder of their unimaginable frailness in this vast and dangerous place.” If I closed my eyes, the tinkling of the windchimes hanging from my trees, mixed with the jake braking of a semi on the bypass, became the rendering of rubbing ice. So the goal of this expedition is to go as Far North as they can to fill in what were, at the time, blank spots on the map and take scientific readings that will be useful for future study. They accomplish both of these things. I will say that, even as their lives became imperiled, these men never stopped doing their job. Their hope was, even if they perished, that someone eventually will find their journals. When their ship does not arrive that is supposed to take them home, Greely makes the decision to head south to try and find a point that will make it easier for them to be rescued. The Arctic is not only unpredictable but also undeniably, brutally dangerous, and this trip across the frozen ice is fraught with peril. Ships are trying to get to them, but the ice is too thick. One boat sinks with a year’s worth of supplies for them. It becomes a cocked up mess. It doesn’t help that Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln, one of the most powerful people in Washington, is against the expedition from the beginning. If his name sounds familiar, it is because he is the son of Abraham Lincoln. When the dire circumstances of the Greely expedition are relayed to him, he is none too keen on spending more money on what he feels would be a fruitless endeavor, looking for dead men. Lincoln will soon be contending with Henrietta, who is shaking every tree and turning over every rock for any people who have any close connections capable of putting pressure on the government to try to find her husband. I think one of the signs of a good book is when I am thinking about the book even when I’m not reading the book. It is even better when I am wondering what the characters, or in this case real people, have been doing while I was away. I would hope that Kislinbury has finally shot a walrus for the much needed meat or that Rice has finally found that cache of supplies left by another expedition or that Brainard has learned how to net more tiny shrimp for the stew. By the middle of the book, these men are as real for me as people I’ve known for years. The book is loaded with pictures that are scattered strategically throughout the text. You won’t have to wait for the standard grouping of pictures in the middle of a book to see the visual evidence of what you have been reading about. This compelling account is written like a thriller. Buddy Levy will keep you turning the pages late into the whale oil lit night with his tension enhancing short chapters and evocative descriptions of horrendous and amazing circumstances. Really, forget about getting this book for someone significant in your life, and keep it for yourself. You can give it to them for Father's Day or Mother's Day or their birthday... after you finish reading it. Did I say this book was for men? I must have been half in the bag when I wrote that. If you enjoy a tale well told, you will appreciate this gem of an adventure. If you are a man, woman, or alien, you will identify with their struggles and will root for them as if they are an astronaut lost on Mars. Highly recommended! If people are disappearing from family gatherings, they have most likely been gifted this book and are squirreled away in some reading nook on their way to the Far North. ”To die is easy, very easy; it is only hard to strive, to endure, to live.”--Commander Adolph Greely I want to thank St. Martin’s Press for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  3. 5 out of 5

    Beata

    This book will definitely become a must-read for everybody, like myself, interested in the exploration of the Arctic. Having read earlier about two most famous attempts by John Franklin and George De Long to explore the only then uncharted and most mysterious part of our planet, I was delighted to have received a book that covers yet another polar expedition. Lt. Adolphus Greely undertook in 1881 the mission to collect the meteorological and geographical data of the Arctic. The expedition was This book will definitely become a must-read for everybody, like myself, interested in the exploration of the Arctic. Having read earlier about two most famous attempts by John Franklin and George De Long to explore the only then uncharted and most mysterious part of our planet, I was delighted to have received a book that covers yet another polar expedition. Lt. Adolphus Greely undertook in 1881 the mission to collect the meteorological and geographical data of the Arctic. The expedition was well planned and prepared, however, the severe climate and unexpected events forced Lt. Greenly and his crew of 24 to leave Fort Conger, their base, when they realized that ships which were meant to take them back home would not arrive. Buddy Levy drew on personal letters, diaries and all authentic mateirlas wile writing his book, and the effect is remarkable. His talent to tell the story of the brave men who fought against the nature makes this non-fiction a book that can only generate awe and admiration for the explorers and their will to survive till the very end. The exploration ended in 1884, unfortunately, several of Lt. Greely's men paid the highest price for their courage. Labirynth of Ice is definitely one of the best non-fiction I have read this year. It is a story of courage, survival and mutual support in the most inhospitable environment. *A big thank-you to Buddy Levy, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.*

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    “We have done all we can to help ourselves and shall ever struggle on, but it drives me almost insane to face the future. It is not the end that affrights one, but the road to be traveled to reach that goal. To die is easy, very easy; it is only hard to strive, to endure, to live…” - Journal entry of 1st Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greely, Commander of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition “My dear friend Kislingbury…In the event of this pending journey ending fatally for me, I desire that you and [Sergeant “We have done all we can to help ourselves and shall ever struggle on, but it drives me almost insane to face the future. It is not the end that affrights one, but the road to be traveled to reach that goal. To die is easy, very easy; it is only hard to strive, to endure, to live…” - Journal entry of 1st Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greely, Commander of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition “My dear friend Kislingbury…In the event of this pending journey ending fatally for me, I desire that you and [Sergeant David] Brainard act as my executors…Of my trinkets I desire that a diamond ring, which will be found among my effects, to be sent to Miss Maud Dunlop of Baddeck, Cape Breton, as a souvenir of a few sunshiny days…” - Letter written by Sergeant George W. Rice, Lady Franklin Bay Expedition Member, to 2nd Lieutenant Frederick F. Kislingbury This year, summer seemed to last a little longer than usual. Well into October, she clung with sharp talons, inducing enervating heat and humidity, even as autumnal leaves fell and pumpkins appeared on doorstops. It appears, though, that the languorous, lazy days are finally at an end. Dawn breaks with silver tips; the cold wind is starting to blow; just over the horizon are the dark clouds and the long nights. Winter will soon be upon us. And you know what that means. Doomed-polar-expedition-book season! Whether we’re talking about Sir John Franklin’s search for the Northwest Passage, George DeLong’s pursuit of the North Pole, or Robert Falcon Scott’s lunge for the South, misbegotten cold-weather adventures amount to a sturdy literary sub-genre. They all feel a bit similar, beginning with hubristic overconfidence and ending with a severe lesson from Mother Nature. Nevertheless, all these tales are eminently readable for what they demonstrate about the spectrum of humanity. There is no test of character like the test of character presented by sub-freezing weather and no food. Buddy Levy’s Labyrinth of Ice is an excellent addition to this canon of dubiously-conceived escapades. It tells the story of Adolphus Greely’s ill-fated “Lady Franklin Bay Expedition,” which began with a vague goal of reaching “farthest north,” and ended with surviving members greedily eating their shoes. By the time you have reached the last page, you will almost certainly have a different perspective on your own wintertime experiences. (Brief aside: The Lady Franklin Bay Expedition was named after Lady Franklin Bay, in the Nares Strait. The bay, of course, was named after Lady Franklin, wife of the above-mentioned Sir John Franklin, who disappeared into the mists of legend, along with his ships, the Erebus and Terror. This is probably hindsight, but they probably should’ve come up with a less-ominous name, since they essentially found themselves in Franklin’s half-eaten footware). As presented by Levy, the conception of Greely’s mission was a bit head-scratching. On the one hand, it was initially well-provisioned, and featured contingency plans that sprang from hard-earned experience. On the other, it was led by a cavalryman whose forte was erecting telegraph lines, and manned by a grab-bag of soldiers from the Signal Corps, the cavalry, and the infantry, many of whom gained most of their experience on America’s Indian frontier. Thus, for an undertaking where the ability to navigate open water under the trickiest conditions was vital (the Titanic, after all, only had to dodge one iceberg; polar vessels had to get through entire masses), there was not a single mariner on the roster. At first, though, this did not seem to matter. Greely and his men made it to Ellesmere Island in August 1881, where they built Fort Conger and passed a couple years in relative – if frigid – comfort. During that time, members of the team did achieve “farthest north,” and took meticulous meteorological readings. (Another brief aside: Levy mentions that one of Greely’s side-quests was searching for the USS Jeanette, captained by George DeLong, which had previously disappeared. The story of the Jeanette is marvelously told in Hampton Sides’ In the Kingdom of Ice. I highly recommend reading In the Kingdom of Ice and Labyrinth of Ice back-to-back, as a pair). By 1883, however, they had not been resupplied. Following his orders to the letter – which fit with Greely’s relatively inflexible military bearing – Greely and his men left Fort Conger and headed south, where they expected to find caches of food. It should not surprise you that they found, instead, mostly suffering and death. This sounds morbid, but it’s true: the quality of Labyrinth of Ice is positively correlated to the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition’s mounting troubles. That is, the book gets better as Greely’s situation becomes worse. Things start rather slowly, as there is not a lot of drama to be found in things going along without a hitch. But once we summit the disaster curve, and start that steep dive into catastrophe, Levy’s narrative really picks up. There are epic treks and howling storms, circling wolves and nosy bears, near-mutinies and questionable calls, and there is hunger, hunger, hunger. Character and resolve were put to their greatest trials. The surprising thing is not how many failed, but how many triumphed, even as they died. The ability of the Expedition to withstand so many rigors, for so long, without any kind of training for this kind of high-wire exploration, is absolutely remarkable. A book like Labyrinth of Ice is ultimately an examination not of stark polar regions, but of mankind. In 1918, the famed mountaineer George Leigh Mallory posed and answered a rhetorical question in The Alpine Journal: “Have we vanquished an enemy? None but ourselves.” I thought of that quote while following the tribulations of Greely’s men. In the end, some were found wanting. There were men who pilfered food; who slacked from hard work; who let others do the heavy lifting. At times, it seemed that the strong were destined to die first, expending themselves that others might live. Controversially, one of the expedition members was caught stealing rations on numerous occasions, at which point Greely dealt with him by employing a certain extreme prejudice. Most, however, demonstrated what is best and noble in the human race. The only flaw in Labyrinth of Ice is that it is too short. This is not a reflection of the amount of archival material, as all of Greely’s records were saved, including journals from all the members of the expedition, both living and dead. With this amount of extant material, I wish that we had gotten to know more about the personalities of the other men. As it is, only Greely is given much by way of development. Speaking of Greely, I think Levy would have been well-served by spending a bit more time on his decisions, especially to leave Fort Conger. Levy glosses over this fateful choice with barely a hand wave. Finally, I could have used a lot more amplification of certain areas. The preparations for the expedition and the various rescue attempts feel rushed. More frustrating is Levy’s odd reluctance to discuss the chief controversies of the Expedition, including Greely’s summary justice (of which there are apparently several competing accounts, none of which are presented), and the issue of cannibalism (of which there is some compelling evidence). Yet, it’s not a bad thing when your main criticism of a book is that you wish there was another hundred pages. Now, I don’t want to tell you there is a right way to read Labyrinth of Ice, but there is, so listen close. You need to put on something comfy, either soft flannel or old sweats. Then you need to start a fire, hopefully in a fireplace, but you might have to improvise (just like Greely!). Pull your armchair close to the window, but within range of that fire you just built. Pour yourself a mug of hot chocolate. Add a slug of whiskey; actually, add two. Crack these covers and start reading, while the wind howls and claws at the panes, while the ice crystals tinkle against the glass. Enjoy this adventure, and be happy as hell you’re doing so while sitting in a chair, indoors, and not out on some frozen waste, with nothing to eat but boiled shoe leather. (I received a copy of Labyrinth of Ice in exchange for an honest review).

  5. 4 out of 5

    karen

    one fine day, i received an electronic mail that began like so, I saw that you've previously enjoyed reading Endurance by Alfred Lansing. Would you be interested in reading an upcoming book calledLabyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expeditionby Buddy Levy? it’s true i love me some exploration/survival stories, and the offer was sweetened further by promises of vicious wolves, insanity, and cannibalism. i mean, i was informed that those elements would be included in the book, one fine day, i received an electronic mail that began like so, I saw that you've previously enjoyed reading Endurance by Alfred Lansing. Would you be interested in reading an upcoming book called Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition by Buddy Levy? it’s true i love me some exploration/survival stories, and the offer was sweetened further by promises of vicious wolves, insanity, and cannibalism. i mean, i was informed that those elements would be included in the book, but now that i think about it, that would have been a pretty impressive schwag bag. naturally, i responded with a big old YES PLEASE, and prepared myself for some tales of unfortunate decisions and hubris and nature saying ‘get off my lawn!’ to man’s best-laid plans. i didn’t know much about the details of the greely expedition*—i’m more of a shackleton guy, but MAN, his voyage on the endurance was a pleasure cruise compared to this. if you want to know the basics of the story, wikipedia’ll spoil it for you just fine, but if you want to immerse yourself in all of the grim details, you really need to get your hands on a copy of this book. the scholarship here is a real achievement, and although the writing is a little dry at times, there’s no denying the horrors of man v nature when nature is this cold, this far from civilization, this lacking in edible resources or diversions. there are ample first-person accounts of their FOUR YEARS stuck out in the middle of nowhere, as well as accounts of the many failed rescue missions and supply dumps attempted on their behalf. also worth noting are the particularly strenuous efforts of greely’s wife, who took the news of his failed rescue like a boss: Initially distraught, Henrietta was a woman of formidable constitution, and she quickly turned her emotions toward resolve and positive action. you guys, the arctic is VAST. and in 1881, a lot of it was still all mysterious and 'here be monsters.' not for the faint of heart, exploring the unknown. i don't have a cellphone, and this fact boggles the minds of folks, who are all the time saying to me, "but how do you find your way around?" my method is post-it notes, but those weren't invented until 1974, so greely and his men couldn't even scribble directions onto 'em, but i suppose they had bigger problems what with the being stranded and scurvy and whatnot. the book delivers a perfect overview of what was happening both in the midst of the situation, and what was happening to resolve it, going back and forth between HORRIBLE ACTION and HORRIBLE RED TAPE. is so frustrating to read about these twenty-five men waiting and hoping for their expected provisions, attempting to escape from the ice that confronted them, while they were succumbing to illness, accident, and all the madness that comes with extreme boredom and starvation, meanwhile abe lincoln's kid was all toasty and warm, saying,"yeaaaaahhh, let's not waste money on this polar stuff anymore." it is as frustrating, i imagine, as being able to see something you're trying to get to but not being able to get to it because of great swathes of ice. i’m horrible at visualizing spatial relations, with or without a map, and reading about some of these scenarios taxes my puny little brain. for example, i do not understand how cairns and caches work. those ‘take a penny leave a penny’ jars of polar exploration, where supplies, notes, and coordinates were left for whomever might happen upon them, but it all seems so precarious a system. it’s truly horrifying to depend on something when ice shifts, food decays, situations change, and the finding of a cache when you really need one seems like optimism at its most adorable foolishness. also, hungry animals tear ‘em apart when they have parties! …the cache had been ravaged by polar bears and foxes—there were tracks in the thin later of fresh snow. All the bread, sugar, and tobacco that had been there previously were gone, and the rum keg’s bung was bitten off and all the rum gone. i applaud the spirit of explorers—where would we be without their enterprising exploits? well, we probably wouldn’t know, because we’d have no maps! and these fellows who followed greely into the great unknown were extraordinary—even through all of their setbacks they still dragged themselves up every day, bundled themselves in their smelly gear and went out into the grueling conditions to fulfill their goals for science as well as survival; recording daily temperatures, wind speeds, barometric pressure, and trying to maybe catch a walrus or fox to eat. they weren’t all paragons of virtue—there were some selfish food-stealers hoarding their own emergency caches, some fuel alcohol misappropriated for purposes other than fuel, some side-eying and light mutiny, and at least one attempt at unwanted intimacy. but for the most part, greely handled his responsibilities with aplomb, adjusting his leadership approach to be more democratically flexible, keeping the men's spirits up, and although he left that region with far fewer men than he’d started with, his management of the situation was admirable. One of these peaks, Mount Arthur, Greely summited alone. The climb was so difficult that Greely had to send Sergeant Linn back, too exhausted to continue. There was soft deep snow on the ascent, and for the last nine hundred feet Greely was reduced to crawling on his hands and knees, his boots soaked and feet freezing. To force himself to keep going, he would throw his eyeglasses five or six feet ahead up the mountain, so he would have to ascend to retrieve them. this is the kind of man you want in charge—no delegation here. there were not as many wolves as i'd hoped for, which is probably for the best, because some of those wolves were killed when they were just trying to see if people tasted good. as for the sled dogs, well, dogs never fare very well on polar expeditions. this book has one VERY SAD dog moment which shines a light on the species' loyal-to-a-fault attitude and please don't take dogs on boats ever, period. also, it needs to be said that the cannibalism was not a part of the actual narrative. it was suspected, and suggested after the fact, and while it was very likely, it was ultimately unconfirmed. the most useful lesson i learned re: polar rescue—when in doubt, blow shit up. read this book, but make sure you have plenty of snacks nearby. you never know what can happen. * more precisely and cumbersomely known as The Lady Franklin Bay Expedition come to my blog!

  6. 4 out of 5

    leslie hamod

    A most amazing and edifying nonfiction of the highest calibre. The book was given by St. Martin's Press and Buddy Levy on return for an honest review. One of the years best books on Advance release copies. Incredible research by the author. Most informative and entertaining, but very emotional. The author brings these explorers to life as though he knows them personally. Extraordinary skill and craftsmanship in the writing of this incredible journey. This book contains a future best seller. A most amazing and edifying nonfiction of the highest calibre. The book was given by St. Martin's Press and Buddy Levy on return for an honest review. One of the years best books on Advance release copies. Incredible research by the author. Most informative and entertaining, but very emotional. The author brings these explorers to life as though he knows them personally. Extraordinary skill and craftsmanship in the writing of this incredible journey. This book contains a future best seller. Highly recommended and MUST READ! Although I considered myself knowledgeable in both Arctic and Antarctic exploration, I realize I have much more to learn. Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the chance to read the advanced copy of Labyrinth Of Ice in return for an objective review. An incredible amount of information was garnered from this book. It was impossible to put down. Not dry in the least, this incredibly researched book taught much. I was completely unaware of the Greely Expedition in its entirety. I not only learned much but was engrossed in the book. Every page was a new adventure in exploration. For this education, I am grateful. After receiving the book, I finished without stopping in two days. I sincerely hope that other exploration books will be forthcoming. The author had considerable research, knowledge and ability to impart this knowledge in a most intriguing and fascinating read. The writing was impeccably crafted. The knowledge imparted absolutely incredible. I am extremely proud to have had this opportunity to read and review. Not only is this a wonderful and informative book, it is amazingly beautiful. A tragic exploration described in great detail is difficult to read and this is a book worthy of any person who is interested in exploration. Not only highly recommended and a MUST READ, but a book not to be missed by even a novice exploration reader.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    What a thrilling read about the Greely expedition to the Arctic! I have a keen interest in reading about adventures and explorations. I’ve read a few others including the George De Long expedition to the Arctic and Teddy Roosevelt’s Amazon adventure. The fact that people risk their lives in such harsh environments is amazing to me. Something I would never dream of doing, but like to immerse myself into by reading. I don’t believe, however, that Greely’s crew of 24 expected to walk into the most What a thrilling read about the Greely expedition to the Arctic! I have a keen interest in reading about adventures and explorations. I’ve read a few others including the George De Long expedition to the Arctic and Teddy Roosevelt’s Amazon adventure. The fact that people risk their lives in such harsh environments is amazing to me. Something I would never dream of doing, but like to immerse myself into by reading. I don’t believe, however, that Greely’s crew of 24 expected to walk into the most frightening and dire circumstances that one can behold. Labyrinth of Ice is the true story of Lt. Greely’s endeavor to find the “Farthest North”. Greely researched and put a great effort into planning, but unfortunately, he had no experience in the Polar region. Although the expedition was run by the military, Greely was from the Army. His mandate was to collect scientific and meteorological data for the military. The Polar expedition set out in July, 1881. At first captain and crew were dining on stores like there was a never ending supply. But when the resupply ship never made it to Fort Conger as planned, a year later, things changed. The crew kept their spirits up even with the challenges of temperatures way below zero, wolves on the attack, and many months of total darkness. In May of 1882 they broke the record for “Farthest North”, but at what cost? The supply caches held less than expected and Greely decided to head South. They left Fort Conger and traveled drifting on ice floes. Meanwhile, back home Greely’s wife, Henrietta, was rallying influential people to undertake another rescue attempt. Greely and his men at this point were suffering from frostbite, starvation, sickness, and insanity. They were thrilled to find moldy dog biscuits they threw out when their stores were still plentiful. Food and fuel alcohol stealing didn’t help. This tale of survival and endurance was harrowing to read, but a page-turner. In 1884, the navy ship sent to rescue any survivors finds only a few men that look more like skeletons with only their boots and laces to eat. Buddy Levy has written a well researched nonfiction book that reads more like a suspense thriller. Totally fascinating. One of my best reads in 2019! Many thanks to Sara Beth, St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley, and Buddy Levy for an ARC of Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition in exchange for an honest review. 5 out of 5 stars Published 12/03/19

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Bound for Lady Franklin Bay in the Canadian Arctic, twenty-five men left on The Proteus in 1881. Six made it home alive. Living and dead had endured extreme mental and physical exertion and exhaustion; illness; treachery; and ultimately severe deprivation and death It's an amazing true story. Buddy Levy takes us there in a way no other book I've read on The Lady Franklin Bay Expedition has. This is one of the best books on any polar expedition I've read, and I've read a lot of them. Levy is an Bound for Lady Franklin Bay in the Canadian Arctic, twenty-five men left on The Proteus in 1881. Six made it home alive. Living and dead had endured extreme mental and physical exertion and exhaustion; illness; treachery; and ultimately severe deprivation and death It's an amazing true story. Buddy Levy takes us there in a way no other book I've read on The Lady Franklin Bay Expedition has. This is one of the best books on any polar expedition I've read, and I've read a lot of them. Levy is an immensely talented writer. "Labyrinth of Ice" is a must-read for those who love reading about arctic exploration, for history buffs, and it's so good I think it will please anyone who enjoys riveting nonfiction. It's one of those books you don't want to put down, that gets better as conditions get worse, like "Into Thin Air" and "The Perfect Storm." For those who prefer audio books, "Labyrinth of Ice" would be exciting to listen to. The Lady Franklin Bay expedition, aka the Greely Expedition after its commander, Lt. Adolphus Greely, was organized by the U.S. military, primarily tasked with setting up the first components of an international meteorological station. There was also the goal of finding "Farthest North," the term given to whatever lay beyond Greenland. At the time no one knew if Greenland was an island and if so, what was beyond it. They also were to explore the area generally and like all expeditions study flora and fauna. Aboard among others was an astronomer and a photographer whose great photographs survived; some are in the book. They were able to set up phase one of the monitoring station (the data is still used today) and went exploring when their bellies were full, spirits high, awed by the Northern Lights and eating Henrietta Greely's plum pudding for Christmas. There were a few problems from the outset but later on, like many arctic expeditions before and after, it all went wrong. Lt. Greely's distinguished military career made him an unusual choice for leader of an arctic expedition. He had no experience with ships, exploration or cold weather yet he was headed on a ship with other ships aboard to explore what for all they knew was the coldest place on earth. He maintained strict military discipline, including ordering the execution of one member. His discipline helped but not nearly as much as his inexperience hurt. Levy relates what happened so well it reads like the finest suspense novels. He includes well-chosen stories and details. We get a portrait of Greely through his actions, what he wrote in his journals and what others said about him in theirs. Almost all of the men kept diaries and they still exist. Levy used them extensively in his research, as well as government records and reports and other primary sources which gives the book immediacy as well as some intimacy, particularly with respect to Greely. This rigid by-the-book commander in his private diaries wrote poetry to his wife, Henrietta; Levy lets us read some. He was a truly extraordinary man. There are details about one incident which I'd never read before and I'm very grateful Levy included it . It's a few short sentences that tell us so much about Greely -- and what he did is so compelling I'll never forget it. At a time when they had no clue of the journey and journey's end that awaited them, Lt. Greely took some men on a trek to explore. They traveled some of the world's toughest terrain, in this case 352 miles of it. One man was having difficulty so Greely insisted he return to his quarters. He seems to have always been motivated by a sense of duty to men and country rather than the more typical explorer's quest for glory, and he protected his men with the same vigor with which he disciplined them. When he saw what he believed was the highest mountain in that area (it wasn't), he chose to climb it alone. Naturally, because he had zero experience cold-weather trekking let alone mountain climbing in snow, wind and on ice, the ascent was very hard for him. So here's what he did to make it to the top: With boots soaked and feet freezing, he crawled up the last 900 feet -- and threw his eyeglasses five or six feet ahead so he'd have to keep going in order to reach them. When he did, he threw them again. And so Greely summited. The book could easily have been 2,000 pages long and not mentioned Greely's grit and ingenuity climbing that mountain. That story will stay with me forever. The author makes wise choices like that throughout. We get to know some of the men in more depth than in other books, some men more than others. Small snippets from their journals add a lot. There were men you will read about and admire and as is usually the case, there were a few bad actors. Levy also includes chapters relating what was going on in Washington with respect to the expedition, and that was controversy and disagreement. The Federal government official responsible, Robert Todd Lincoln (Abe Lincoln's son), had never been in favor of spending the money and was loathe to spend more. There were arguments within and among branches of the military and political infighting about these men. It took Henrietta Greely, a loving wife and another hero of the expedition who aligned herself with powerful military men, to convince the government that the costs of repeated provisioning trips and attempted rescues were warranted. She worked tirelessly and made shrewd alliances, challenging very powerful men at a time when women didn't even have the right to vote. The way Levy juxtaposes what was happening in the arctic with what was going on in DC works very well. Even as early arctic expeditions go this one was harrowing. Their efforts to travel on the same ice that destroyed some ships and prevented others from getting through, and to survive worsening conditions on fewer and fewer provisions, is fascinating. There was suffering and madness; thoughts of mutiny and desertion; starvation; frostbite; hurricane-force wind and fierce snowstorms; wolves and bear; hypothermia and more as these men were stranded for three years, provision ships not reaching them, caches not found where they were supposed to be, rescue ships unable to get through, leaving some scared they'd die there and others too sick to care. In 1884 the men of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition spent their last months in the arctic huddled in a tent that every strong wind seemed like it would destroy. They had no idea what was or wasn't happening back home to help them; they didn't even know who the President was. They were so starved they ate the sealskin linings of their boots, coats and sleeping bags. And even that wasn't the worst of it. Levy has collated his extensive research into an amazing read. Advance Review Copies don't usually have indexes, maps or photos. I feel lucky this ARC included photos and maps. The photos are well placed and the maps are useful in following the movements of men and ships. "Labyrinth of Ice" is epic. What a story. What a writer. What a book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    Well-written and action-packed, Labyrinth of Ice is a 4 star read and I would have enjoyed it much more if I hadn't read Ghosts of Cape Sabine which is much more critical of Adolphus Greely. Both are the true story of a poorly thought out adventure in the arctic in the 1880s headed by Greely who was in the Army and had no prior experience in sub-zero temperatures or as a sailor, even though part of their escape plan involved using a boat. This was a plan that was destined to fail, mostly because Well-written and action-packed, Labyrinth of Ice is a 4 star read and I would have enjoyed it much more if I hadn't read Ghosts of Cape Sabine which is much more critical of Adolphus Greely. Both are the true story of a poorly thought out adventure in the arctic in the 1880s headed by Greely who was in the Army and had no prior experience in sub-zero temperatures or as a sailor, even though part of their escape plan involved using a boat. This was a plan that was destined to fail, mostly because of the inexperience of their leader and their crew, but also because of the lack of understanding about the arctic itself. Many bad decisions were made, some by the rescue ships not leaving more provisions for them. All in all it was a perfect storm with the weather not cooperating either. 19 of Greely's 25 men died. I have to think this is more tragedy than triumph. I also think of Shackleton who when things went awry made a desperate sea voyage and hiked over mountains and not one of his men were lost. Greely and most of his men were brave and of good cheer until they slowly died of starvation and the elements and for that they should be commended, but it seems a terrible waste.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    So far, all of my friends who have read Labyrinth of Ice have given it either four or five stars. I guess there's always gotta be a dissenting voice, an outlier, and here I am. Unfortunately, I found this book tedious and mundane. It's a harrowing story but the way in whichit was told left me bored much of the time. There was far too much repetition, too many descriptions that were similar to ones that came before. I enjoyed the first couple chapters and the last couple chapters, when Greely and So far, all of my friends who have read Labyrinth of Ice have given it either four or five stars.  I guess there's always gotta be a dissenting voice, an outlier, and here I am. Unfortunately, I found this book tedious and mundane. It's a harrowing story but the way in which it was told left me bored much of the time. There was far too much repetition, too many descriptions that were similar to ones that came before.  I enjoyed the first couple chapters and the last couple chapters, when Greely and his team first set out and when/after they were rescued. The intermediate chapters had some interesting events but overall, it failed to hold my interest.  The author certainly did his research and writes well, thus 3 stars. How much I liked it? Only 2.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    In 1881 Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greely, an American with no Arctic experience, led a team of men to explore the upper reaches of Northern Greenland in what became known as the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition. His aims were to record observations relating to branches of physics, meteorology and botany, as part of a more wide reaching plan to establish a ‘girdle’ of stations around the entire Arctic region. Greely also hoped to achieve the accolade of having travelled Farthest North and, if possible, In 1881 Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greely, an American with no Arctic experience, led a team of men to explore the upper reaches of Northern Greenland in what became known as the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition. His aims were to record observations relating to branches of physics, meteorology and botany, as part of a more wide reaching plan to establish a ‘girdle’ of stations around the entire Arctic region. Greely also hoped to achieve the accolade of having travelled Farthest North and, if possible, reach the North Pole. It was planned to be a long trip lasting two or more years, with supply ships travelling up to their base to renew provisions on an annual basis. It’s worth noting that at the time of the trip’s commencement there were still those who believed that beyond the Greenland lay a sea that was a tropical paradise, complete with palm trees. Little, indeed, was known of this area. Greely’s outward journey was difficult enough but he eventually established a base on the Canadian side of the Robeson Channel which he named Fort Conger. From this base he sent out teams to explore regions to the north, east and west. One of his teams did, in fact, reach the most northerly spot yet travelled, in May 1882, and for the most part activities went to plan as a huge amount of data was collected. But problems began when the first supply ship failed to reach them in the Summer of that year – it had to turn back due to the volume of ice blocking the channel. This was compounded in 1883 when the second supply ship became caught up in the ice and sank. As it became clear to Greely that they were not going to receive supplies he decided to close down the camp and head south with his team, hoping that either or both previous re-supply attempts had at least succeeded in offloading caches of food and other essentials at stop off points they’d pass en route - only to find that to a large extent they hadn’t! The first third of this book deals with the planning for the trip and the period up to Greely’s departure from Fort Conger. It’s interesting enough but really it only serves to pave the way for the horrendous journey they are about to embark on, which takes up the remainder of the book. The sources for this book are many but the largest contributors were Greely himself and members of his team who recorded their own thoughts and accounts in journals that they updated throughout the period. I won’t go into too much detail here as it would spoil it for anyone who is drawn to read this riveting tale, but I will say that the way the story is told ratchets up the tension incrementally as one obstacle after another is thrown at this valiant group. This interpretation of events focuses on the adventure, triumphs and tragedies of the men but also on their unity and brotherhood. It’s a truly exhilarating but heart rending read. This book certainly puts me in mind of Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage which tracks the the famous British explorer’s exploits in the Antarctic, some thirty years later. Shackleton and Greely faced similar challenges but the outcomes for the two parties vary significantly. I’m hard pressed to state which is the greater book, both are truly enthralling. The bravery and stoicism demonstrated by men on both of these voyages is amazing, and truly humbling. There is one unfortunate footnote to the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition and it concerns precisely how some of the men managed to survive when the food stock ran down to virtually nothing. I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what some of the claims were but, whatever the truth, in his leadership and determination to protect and deliver his team to eventual safety Greely will ever be a true hero in my mind. I received an advance readers’ edition of this book from St Martin’s Press in return for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kemper

    I received a free advance copy of this from NetGalley for review. As the warrior-poet Vanilla Ice once said, “Ice ice, baby.” In 1881 Lt. Adolphus Greely led 24 men to Lady Franklin Bay in the Arctic where they planned to stay for 2 years while recording scientific data, exploring the area, and maybe becoming the first to reach the North Pole. Greely was a Civil War veteran who had meticulously prepared for the expedition, and he had worked up a detailed plan for resupply that had multiple I received a free advance copy of this from NetGalley for review. As the warrior-poet Vanilla Ice once said, “Ice ice, baby.” In 1881 Lt. Adolphus Greely led 24 men to Lady Franklin Bay in the Arctic where they planned to stay for 2 years while recording scientific data, exploring the area, and maybe becoming the first to reach the North Pole. Greely was a Civil War veteran who had meticulously prepared for the expedition, and he had worked up a detailed plan for resupply that had multiple contingencies in case things went wrong. Unfortunately, the military managed to completely botch any resupply and recovery efforts, and Greely and his men had to make a desperate journey to get South on their own as some of their family and friends work to mount a rescue attempt. It’s kinda like if you thought someone promised to pick you up, but they forgot. Only instead of just getting a ride with Uber, you freeze or starve to death. I’m fascinated people trying to do things in extreme conditions, and this certainly fits that bill. It’s an intriguing tale of survival, and one of the things I found most interesting was how it’s a slow-motion disaster where nobody in particular did anything you can point to as the cause of it. Greely comes across as a competent and conscientious man who did all he could to prepare for a tough mission, but by sticking strictly to the original plan he may have made a critical mistake by going South instead of trying to tough it out for one more winter in their base. Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln, played a role as Secretary of War because his lack of enthusiasm for Arctic expeditions prevented the resupply efforts from having a lack of urgency until things became critical. Overall, bureaucracy and inexperience of some of those involved are the reasons why it ended in disaster. There’s a lot of great descriptive writing of the environment and conditions that really drive home the perils of trying to travel in the Arctic, and there’s enough background on all the major people to give you a sense of who they were without getting bogged down in multiple biographies. There’s a real sense of what life was like for Greely and his men both before and after things went badly. Frankly, the only reason I’m giving this 3 stars instead of 4 isn’t really the author’s fault. Once things go badly, and the expedition essentially finds itself trapped then it turns into a extended tale of starvation and frostbite. That’s just not a lot of fun to read about, and while Levy juxtaposes it with the rescue efforts so that it doesn't come across as a slog, it does start to feel like an extended horror movie in the last third of the book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    The explorations of the intrepid Arctic explorers hold a singular fascination for me. These are places I would never wish to go and I have no frame of reference for the below zero degree temperatures they recorded. In 1881, Lt. Adolphus W. Greely commands a volunteer crew of U.S military officers and others on a scientific expedition with several goals. His first responsibility was to set up the northernmost research station in the Arctic, where he and his men would collect and record The explorations of the intrepid Arctic explorers hold a singular fascination for me. These are places I would never wish to go and I have no frame of reference for the below zero degree temperatures they recorded. In 1881, Lt. Adolphus W. Greely commands a volunteer crew of U.S military officers and others on a scientific expedition with several goals. His first responsibility was to set up the northernmost research station in the Arctic, where he and his men would collect and record meteorological and other scientific data. They would also look for clues as to what happened to the USS Jeannette, whose men had vanished. Lastly, Greely intended to reach the North Pole or at the very least Farthest North. When Greely accepted this command, he was aware that it was normal to have a 50 percent loss of life on expeditions into the arctic. Even though he was married with two young daughters at home, still Greely felt up to the challenge. He was battle-hardened, having fought during the Civil War and worked his way up through the ranks. A man of discipline, he expected a lot from his men. Buddy Levy writes a detailed and frank account of the lives of Greely and his men and the hardships they faced. In the back of the book, a bibliography lists books and resources that Levy used to create this book. He says it’s enough reading to keep someone going a year or two. Rather than do all that reading, I recommend reading this book. I was never bored, and in fact, as the hardships increased toward the last third of the book, so did my pace of reading. Levy molds, shapes, and forms three-dimensional men from journal entries, diaries, letters, and books that the men later wrote. All of this is set in a breath-taking landscape of ice that favors no man. Levy introduces the men at the beginning of the story, a cursory introduction that gives the reader the man’s rank and purpose. As the narrative unreels, I became more familiar with each man, his strengths and weaknesses. I rooted for them to survive this inhospitable place, and admired that men took on such challenges as these. Two Greenlanders, Jens and Fred, accompany the team to hunt, fish, drive the sledges, help manage the dogs, and assist in other ways as well. I especially grew to like Sgt. David L. Brainard, supply chief, who was only twenty-four years old, as well as Sgt. George W. Rice, the expedition’s photographer. These two men were so plucky and brave, sharing a sense of adventure that pervades the narrative. The youngest man on the expedition was Sgt. Edward Israel, twenty-one years old. The medical doctor is Dr. Octave Pavy, a surgeon who studied medicine at the University of Paris. He is the only man besides the Greenlanders who has spent any time in the Arctic. The men would take as many as five hundred readings and measurements a day, including wind speed and temperatures. Many of the men kept detailed journals and accounts of their activities and thoughts. One thing that really stood out to me is how Greely tried to keep his men busy and provided entertainments and lectures during the many winter days when there was no sunshine. When the isolation began to take its toll on some of them, others were aware that a man’s behavior had changed, and tried to make interventions. This is a fascinating account of extraordinary men who were loyal to the scientific process and eager to make discoveries for their homeland. Highly recommended! Thanks to St. Martin's Press, Sara Beth, and Buddy Levy for an ARC of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karen Rush

    A stunning recounting of the Greely Arctic expedition, also known as the ‘Lady Franklin Bay’ expedition. This polar expedition drew on for 3 long years due to politics that endangered lives, poorly managed rescue operations/supply mission missteps, and a seriously inexperienced crew that included an ex-criminal who consistently stole food from his mates. Despite the crew’s lack of experience for this kind of mission and no familiarity with the Arctic, they had extraordinary courage and willpower A stunning recounting of the Greely Arctic expedition, also known as the ‘Lady Franklin Bay’ expedition. This polar expedition drew on for 3 long years due to politics that endangered lives, poorly managed rescue operations/supply mission missteps, and a seriously inexperienced crew that included an ex-criminal who consistently stole food from his mates. Despite the crew’s lack of experience for this kind of mission and no familiarity with the Arctic, they had extraordinary courage and willpower and in the end Greely would make it home with several of the men. Desperate decisions for survival’s sake were cringe-worthy. Greely came from a strict military background, well disciplined and adapted to the hand he was given. An incredible leader who led his team through dismal times, harsh conditions, long periods of winter with associated depression. The crew’s meticulous documentation of scientific data and findings became the standard of future scientific endeavors. So well done and reminds me of another epic exploration story that I enjoyed so much, In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides. Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Paltia

    When discussing the ideas for this book the author, Buddy Levy, was advised to tell the story as if you were sitting in a bar entertaining others. I’d say, without reservations, he’s accomplished this. It reads like a suspenseful adventure story. Never dull or dry summoning up the bitter cold long months of darkness lit by the northern lights where the polar bears are observed as silhouettes. I enjoyed every page.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Fred Shaw

    Would you be willing to join or lead an expedition to the polar ice caps for the betterment of mankind? If you knew that your chance of survival was 50% would you still go? What if it were a competition against others or a personal challenge? Would you do it? In 1881, 1st Lt. A.W. Greely did. A professional soldier and signal officer in the US Army, he led a team of 24 explorers and scientists into the Arctic to go further north than anyone had gone before and record weather related information Would you be willing to join or lead an expedition to the polar ice caps for the betterment of mankind? If you knew that your chance of survival was 50% would you still go? What if it were a competition against others or a personal challenge? Would you do it? In 1881, 1st Lt. A.W. Greely did. A professional soldier and signal officer in the US Army, he led a team of 24 explorers and scientists into the Arctic to go further north than anyone had gone before and record weather related information to be used by scientists around the world. To say that he and his team were successful is highly accurate, but at what cost? The environment was inhospitable to say the least. Greely knew the consequences of the harsh environment. He also knew he had food and supply resources to stay a year and then be relieved. Labyrinth of Ice tells the true story of the heroic efforts of Greely and his men to survive and explore the Arctic Circle. The author Buddy Levy became interested in Arctic exploration beginning with his love of the stories of Jack London. His dedicated in-depth research for this book is undeniable. His writing style is not typical of historical works as the book reads like a novel, which keeps the reader focused on the story. I highly recommend this epic history of exploration. Who knows? You may be planning your own expedition. Thank you author Buddy Levy, St. Martins Press and Netgally for the ARC of Labyrinth of Ice in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    It is hard to imagine the extreme conditions, physical & mental challenges and isolation that A.W. Greely and the 24 members of his crew faced as they explored the far reaches of the north, attempting to do what several expeditions had previously tried & died doing. Extreme cold. Dangerous wildlife. Months without sunshine. Food stores dwindling. Trapped in the ice floes. Waiting for resupply ships that didn't come. It must have been terrifying. This book is wonderful! The author It is hard to imagine the extreme conditions, physical & mental challenges and isolation that A.W. Greely and the 24 members of his crew faced as they explored the far reaches of the north, attempting to do what several expeditions had previously tried & died doing. Extreme cold. Dangerous wildlife. Months without sunshine. Food stores dwindling. Trapped in the ice floes. Waiting for resupply ships that didn't come. It must have been terrifying. This book is wonderful! The author obviously did excellent research into the voyage and the lives/deaths of these men. The highs and lows of their explorations are given in detail, including the horrifying descent into madness and cannibalism for some. This group of sailors and scientists risked all to fill in an area still blank on most maps: The arctic. In 1881, the northernmost areas past Greenland were still unknown. These men ventured forth to map, explore and document a vast, dangerous portion of the world. Greely was an experienced military man, but totally unprepared for commanding a ship and the extreme conditions they would face on the voyage. He kept a tight ship, expecting military discipline on board his ship, but his inexperience led the group to make some poor choices. In his defense, everyone is inexperienced when it comes to areas previously unexplored. But, it does seem a bit unusual that a man with no seafaring experience was chosen to captain a ship going into such a dangerous region. Only six men returned alive. But the crew made history and some of them returned to tell the tale -- that's better than any other expedition of that area before them. The journals and reports from their expedition still exist today, and some of the data and information they brought back are still used. Amazing! This is the first book by Buddy Levy that I have read. I am definitely going to read more, especially his book on David Crockett. Levy did a vast amount of research and included so much information in this book (even sharing some of the poetry Greely wrote to his wife while on this voyage). Excellent information! Very interesting to read! **I voluntarily read an advance review copy of this book from St. Martin's Press. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    full post here: http://www.nonfictionrealstuff.com/20... I picked up this book a couple of nights ago at about 6:30 p.m., and I didn't stop reading until two the next morning, and only then because I had to be up by 5:30. According to the author, "Like nearly all great stories from the past," the story in this book has already been told, but he intended his account to "provide an interpretation that focuses on the adventures, triumphs, and the unity, brotherhood, and patriotism of the men" which he full post here: http://www.nonfictionrealstuff.com/20... I picked up this book a couple of nights ago at about 6:30 p.m., and I didn't stop reading until two the next morning, and only then because I had to be up by 5:30. According to the author, "Like nearly all great stories from the past," the story in this book has already been told, but he intended his account to "provide an interpretation that focuses on the adventures, triumphs, and the unity, brotherhood, and patriotism of the men" which he does, but he also doesn't skimp on the strength and fortitude of these people required for their very survival. When this expedition began in 1881, not a single person under Greely's command would have been able to visualize the horrific challenges that would face them only two years later, when things became so dire that the expedition's doctor wrote in his journal while drifting on an ice floe that "It is terrible to float in this manner, in the snow, fog, and dark. This seems to me like a nightmare in one of Edgar Allan Poe's stories." Levy has done a remarkable job with this slice of American history, and as I said earlier, I had to keep reading it despite the fact that I lost nearly an entire night of sleep doing so. I didn't find it "dry," as some readers said they did; au contraire, it held my attention the entire time, and it is perfect for people who don't read history as part of their regular lineup. Trust me on this: I know dry when I see it and this is far, far from dry. I have only one complaint, which dropped my rating from a 5 to a 4, and that is that there were so many times I wanted to know the source of a quotation or something he mentioned and there were neither footnotes nor endnotes. I have an ARC, so perhaps they are put into the final version, so if that's the case, disregard. I happen to be one of those geeknerds who actually goes to the notes for enlightenment, so in that sense the lack of citation was disappointing. And just one more thing: I'm not exactly sure why he chose to use Dan Simmons' novel The Terroras a source; frankly, it just seems weird. The book as a whole, though, is so good and so well done that in the grander scheme of things, I can certainly and highly recommend it to anyone interested in Arctic exploration -- it is truly an unforgettable story that the author has put together here and I can only imagine the amount of time he put into piecing it all together. My many thanks to St. Martin's Press for my copy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    Labyrinth of Ice tells the story of Lt. Adolph Greely and his crew of twenty four men and their quest to venture into the Arctic to both collect weather data as well as break the record for “farthest North” in the process. Despite extensive planning and preparation, what would unfold is a story of strength, courage and ultimately survival. I was given an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Buddy Levy’s recounting of the famed 1881 Lady Franklin Bay Expedition is Labyrinth of Ice tells the story of Lt. Adolph Greely and his crew of twenty four men and their quest to venture into the Arctic to both collect weather data as well as break the record for “farthest North” in the process. Despite extensive planning and preparation, what would unfold is a story of strength, courage and ultimately survival. I was given an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Buddy Levy’s recounting of the famed 1881 Lady Franklin Bay Expedition is nothing short of remarkable. Levy drew on extensive records from the crew that are, surprisingly, freely available through the US National Archives and Records Administration given that it was considered a military mission. Lt Greely’s handwritten notes alone comprised two volumes totaling over thirteen hundred pages! Also, where the primary goal of the venture dealt with collecting environmental data, the detailed records helped Levy build atmosphere accurately in knowing the exact weather the entire time the team was stranded. Arriving in what would eventually be classified as Northern Nunavut much later, the crew would set up Fort Conger and remain there for two years before heading three hundred and seventy nine kilometers south to Cape Sabine where they would be left stranded until 1884 battling unimaginable hardships. Levy takes great care to immerse the reader right in alongside the crew fighting against the elements and the threat of starvation. I would put this right up with Cormac MacCarthy’s The Road in terms of a survivalist page turner. Like The Man and The Boy’s frantic search for food in the aforementioned post apocalyptic novel, Levy’s explanation of the suffering the men had to endure just to see another day had me needing to know how they would find a way to continue. While the men continued to fight for their lives, Levy also places a spotlight on the many attempts to reach and rescue the crew. Just as the constant buildup of ice kept the men from sailing home, it also prevented further caches of supplies and relief from reaching them. It’s particularly surprising to know that there were several within the US government that considered Greely and his men a lost cause and had been against any subsequent attempts to reach them following the failure of the initial rescue mission which saw the sinking of a ship and near loss of life. I’m not sure how well known this story is, so I will refrain from spoiling how everything ends but there was a great deal of controversy arising out of what was found at Cape Sabine when US relief ships would eventually arrive. Levy approaches it with care and does not get bogged down in the salacious nature of it all like many journalists did at the time. He presents the evidence against the testimonies of those of Greely’s crew that were there and doesn’t try to theorize on what he believed happened. With Labyrinth of Ice, Buddy Levy has written an informative and engrossing story about the strength of the human spirit in the face of extraordinary adversity. This is hands-down one of the best books I’ve read in 2019.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bookworm

    I absolutely love books about exploration. And polar exploration in particular is such an adventure, battling extreme temperatures, 24 hour darkness, and limited natural resources. The Greely Expidition was a nail biting story that had me mesmerized and eager to plow on. It was truly an unbelievable account of how the best laid plans can go wrong and how men can rise to the challenges to beat the odds. The author does an amazing job of researching the historical details and includes many I absolutely love books about exploration. And polar exploration in particular is such an adventure, battling extreme temperatures, 24 hour darkness, and limited natural resources. The Greely Expidition was a nail biting story that had me mesmerized and eager to plow on. It was truly an unbelievable account of how the best laid plans can go wrong and how men can rise to the challenges to beat the odds. The author does an amazing job of researching the historical details and includes many original journal entries and newspaper articles. The reader gets to know several of the characters intimately although there were some that were not touched on as much. This book lost a star because I found the beginning to be quite slow and dragged with too many facts that just weren't very interesting. As the expidition goes from bad to worse, though, I found myself glued to the pages. If you enjoy historical nonfiction and polar exploration, this is a story worth reading. I'm amazed at how people can overcome such adversity and found this book to be inspirational. Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    5 stars This book is the story of the 1881 – 1883 journey of the twenty-six brave men who undertook the journey to make the farthest North trek. For 300 years, the British have held the record. Now the determined Americans, led by Army officer Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greely have set out to break the record. They sail to the Arctic beginning in July 1881. Lt. Greely's service so far has been in the West, building telegraph lines and suppressing Indian uprisings. He has never been to the Arctic, but 5 stars This book is the story of the 1881 – 1883 journey of the twenty-six brave men who undertook the journey to make the farthest North trek. For 300 years, the British have held the record. Now the determined Americans, led by Army officer Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greely have set out to break the record. They sail to the Arctic beginning in July 1881. Lt. Greely's service so far has been in the West, building telegraph lines and suppressing Indian uprisings. He has never been to the Arctic, but has always been fascinated with it and has read everything published on the subject. He is excited to go. The twenty-five men of his team are comprised of a photographer, scientists, hunters, dog handlers, a doctor and regular military men. The journey is arduous, but at first, they make good time and discover many fascinating things. They build a solid structure for their first winter and call it Fort Conger. The men have sufficient food and warmth to winter over the 120 days of darkness that are coming. They have managed to make the furthest North, but then things begin to go wrong. The camp is threatened by hungry wolves and the weather is extremely cold. The following summer, the relief ship fails to show. The team sets out from Fort Conger and tries to head South. The rumblings among the men begin to show. Lt. Greely is a firm commander who believes in loyalty and discipline. He will tolerate no attempts to distract or foster the men to mutiny. After numerous dangerous attempts to move South, the men wash up on a deserted beach to face their second winter. There they construct a makeshift tent and are very low on food. They will not make it unless they can catch some game or fish. The men are industrious though, and one devises a way to catch shrimp. Some of the men start stealing the precious dwindling stores making it even tougher on the rest. This book is not a dry recitation of historical facts, but rather Levy infuses some personality into the men who undertook this perilous journey. Greely, while rather stern at first comes to realize that he must include the men in discussions prior to making decisions. Most of the time, the men come to realize that Greely's point of view is best, but some underlying grumbling continues. The descriptions of Levy's real-life characters infuse them with color and personality. The reader can see Brainard's thought processes, or Henry's, or the two native Greenlander's. Mr. Levy does a very good job at this. The book also shows the copious research that the author put into this book. He also has an extensive bibliography at the end of the book for those who want to explore this subject further. This book is very interesting and very well written. This is my first Buddy Levy book, and I immediately went to Amazon to look at his other books. I want to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for forwarding to me a copy of this remarkable history of an Arctic exploration to read, enjoy and review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    In 1881, American Lt. A. W. Greely and a team of scientists went on a journey to pass the record of reaching furthest North. Buddy Levy's new book Labyrinth of Ice takes readers on their journey of glory and horror. The men accomplished their mission of reaching furthest North and contributing important scientific data. They were also stranded over two winters with dwindling supplies. Before the astronauts and space exploration, men of courage and vision took on the vast frozen spaces of ice, In 1881, American Lt. A. W. Greely and a team of scientists went on a journey to pass the record of reaching furthest North. Buddy Levy's new book Labyrinth of Ice takes readers on their journey of glory and horror. The men accomplished their mission of reaching furthest North and contributing important scientific data. They were also stranded over two winters with dwindling supplies. Before the astronauts and space exploration, men of courage and vision took on the vast frozen spaces of ice, seeking fame, glory, short-cut passages, and scientific knowledge. They were the heroes of their day. Labyrinth of Ice was a bone-chilling read. I felt I knew these men and suffered with them. The bravery and selflessness of some were offset by a self-seeking thief. Madness and despair were found alongside clear-thinking and innovative thinkers. When their supply and rescue ships failed to arrive, Greely struggled to keep the team disciplined, in good spirits--and alive as they suffered life-threatening conditions and starvation. Lady Greely, extremely self-educated in Arctic literature, pressured the government to send out rescue ships. Eleven men had died before they were finally found. Public opinion turned from adulation to revulsion when rumors of cannibalism circulated the newspapers. The survivors went on to illustrious careers. I was given access to a free ebook by the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bon

    This was excellent. I hadn’t read anything on this particular voyage and kept it that way, glued to the tale and wondering if anyone even survived. I kept thinking “it’s been too long for them to not have lost any men”, soooo it’s obvious I’ve been reading tons of these books! This was one so well-written, showing how, decades after the Franklin expedition, men were still trying to conquer nature, and running into the worst combinations of circumstance and unfortunate planning lapses. Towards This was excellent. I hadn’t read anything on this particular voyage and kept it that way, glued to the tale and wondering if anyone even survived. I kept thinking “it’s been too long for them to not have lost any men”, soooo it’s obvious I’ve been reading tons of these books! This was one so well-written, showing how, decades after the Franklin expedition, men were still trying to conquer nature, and running into the worst combinations of circumstance and unfortunate planning lapses. Towards the end, it was really a gripping story – alternating men dying of starvation and malnourishment with the progress of their eventual rescuers. What an intense, informative read. Will Damron was a good narrator, too!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I've been fascinated by stories of polar exploration since reading Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage many years ago. I will readily confess that the desire for knowledge and achievement that drives individuals to risk their lives on these journeys is a feeling I do not share. But I am readily caught up in reading about their "why" and their "how". When reading Shackleton's story I frequently consulted an atlas; I listened to Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar I've been fascinated by stories of polar exploration since reading Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage many years ago. I will readily confess that the desire for knowledge and achievement that drives individuals to risk their lives on these journeys is a feeling I do not share. But I am readily caught up in reading about their "why" and their "how". When reading Shackleton's story I frequently consulted an atlas; I listened to Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition with Google Maps constantly at the ready. That technological difference, one that has emerged over just a few decades but which we now take for granted, really throws into relief for me the isolation of the 19th and early 20th century polar explorers. I found myself thinking repeatedly about how the availability of GPS and satellite phones would have eliminated the remoteness experienced by Greely's expedition. Efforts to rescue them would have been much more straightforward. I was also put in mind of the film of The Martian, which, while fictional, is the closest contemporary comparison I could draw. Buddy Levy does a first rate job of conveying the excitement and the trauma, the fortitude of the crew, the evolution of Greely's character in response to the circumstances, and the political challenges faced by his wife Henrietta as she struggled to insure that a well-planned rescue mission was launched. Although I'm pretty sure that my choices would have differed from Greely's at a few critical turns, Levy convinces us of the logic, to Greely, behind the decisions he made. (view spoiler)[ I was especially touched to read that Greely and Brainard both survived and remained life-long friends (hide spoiler)] I can't recommend this strongly enough to readers who enjoy real-life adventure stories. And if polar exploration in particular is a genre you enjoy, and you haven't already read it, I also recommend In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides. Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage will always remain the granddaddy, though, because Shackleton was the best at what he did. The best prepared, the best leader, and the best navigator. Who can argue with not losing a single man?

  25. 5 out of 5

    Linda Bond

    There may be a shortlist of readers interested in the history of scientific exploration in polar regions, but Levy’s talent is storytelling. Applying his gift, he gives us a story that is moving, insightful and entertaining, at the same time as being a faithful rendition of history. The 1881 journey of Lt. L.W. Greely and crew of 24 to the “Farthest North” on their map is a story better experienced in the cozy warmth of our home with the fire lit and plenty of food on the table. It’s the story There may be a shortlist of readers interested in the history of scientific exploration in polar regions, but Levy’s talent is storytelling. Applying his gift, he gives us a story that is moving, insightful and entertaining, at the same time as being a faithful rendition of history. The 1881 journey of Lt. L.W. Greely and crew of 24 to the “Farthest North” on their map is a story better experienced in the cozy warmth of our home with the fire lit and plenty of food on the table. It’s the story of deprivation, record-breaking length of stay (10 months), darkness, sub-zero cold and the beast that is the polar wind and ice. There are other elements, as well, which remind us of the Donner Party’s path across the Rocky Mountains, as well as the kind of insanity one might expect of living in these conditions. Quite a read! I heartily recommend Labyrinth of Ice to historians, armchair travel fans and others who just plain like a good story about humanity at its best and worst. I met this book at Auntie's Bookstore in Spokane, Washington

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    I love Arctic/Antarctic expedition stories and I had never heard of the Greely Expedition. Wonderfully narrated making the reader feel like they are there in the moment. Breathing life into the real men who made up the expedition; both their courageous acts and fallible human selves shining through. Tragic and triumphant. Perfect words to describe it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    Nonfiction about the Greely expedition (also called the Lady Franklin Bay expedition), yet another of the many terrible Arctic disasters that occured to (or were caused by) various explorers. In 1881 American Army lieutenant Greely and his 24 followers (mostly scientists or other army men, plus two local Inuit men and one random French doctor) headed up to Lady Franklin Bay (an extremely ominous name that Levy somehow never points out the irony of! Perhaps it was too obvious?) near the very Nonfiction about the Greely expedition (also called the Lady Franklin Bay expedition), yet another of the many terrible Arctic disasters that occured to (or were caused by) various explorers. In 1881 American Army lieutenant Greely and his 24 followers (mostly scientists or other army men, plus two local Inuit men and one random French doctor) headed up to Lady Franklin Bay (an extremely ominous name that Levy somehow never points out the irony of! Perhaps it was too obvious?) near the very northernmost tip of Greenland, far out of the range of habitable lands. They intended to spend three years there, collecting various scientific data (on weather, astronomical events, the function of magnets so near to the north pole, etc), exploring the mostly unmapped areas to the west and east and, if possible, sending a sledge team to the north pole itself, which would make them the first to reach it, claiming the glory for the Americans instead of the British (who held the record for Farthest North at the time). The plan was for a supply ship to reach them each summer with fresh food, clothing and, if needed, men. As you might guess if you're remotely familiar with the history of polar exploration, the supply ships never arrived, due to a combination of ice blocking the way and political arguments back in Washington DC. In August 1883, Greely decided they had to abandon their station, so the whole crew headed south using a combination of small ships, sledges, and walking. They made it two hundred miles before further travel was halted by winter weather – still alone and with extremely little food left. Out of 25 men, seven survived that winter to be rescued in June 1884, with one more dying soon after. This is a fascinating enough piece of history on its own, rife with dramatic scenes of man v nature, brutal endurance, wolf attacks, polar bears, the northern lights, bad decision making, theft, murder, madness, and (of course) allegations of cannibalism. Unfortunately Levy is not the person to tell this story. He engages in practically every single tick that I hate in nonfiction writers. He imagines details that he can't possibly know two hundred years later: He observed them and everything else, squinting through his oval spectacles at the breathtaking expanse, trying to visualize what lay ahead. [...] Massive slabs of glacial ice cleaved off the shore and crashed into sea, spewing freezing brine over the gunwales and frosting his sharp narrow face and pointed black beard. His heart raced with anticipation, but his mind was much burdened. If you wanted to write a novel, Levy, just write a novel! I don't need your fictionalizations in a history book! Levy also focuses on mind-numbing minutiae while ignoring the larger context. For example, he spends chapters describing the foot-by-foot route Greely and co took south: on August 26th, a storm drove them east! On September 1st they made it back south! On September 16th they floated back north! On September 29th they finally made it back south! On September 22nd they went east instead! On September 27th they went west! On September 28th they went south again! (THIS IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION, IN FACT I COULD GO ON FOR MUCH LONGER) Was my summary boring to read? Well, imagine spending nearly a hundred pages on it, and you have a good idea of the middle section of Labyrinth of Ice. On the other hand, topics that I eagerly would have read a hundred pages of are skipped entirely: what was the point of all that scientific data they took? What questions were they trying to answer? What did they successfully learn? (Levy comments in the epilogue that their weather measurements are important to scientists today studying global warming, but I'm going to take a wild guess and assume that wasn't the original intention.) Levy mentions briefly that another of the expedition's goals was to search for the missing USS Jeanette – what was the story there? What was the cultural context around polar exploration, scientific expeditions, or stories of survival? How long did their record for Farthest North last? Why did they wait so long before they started eating the local shellfish? Levy mentions some of the men going "mad" as starvation set in – but what does that mean, in actual medical terms? Were they suffering just from calorie deprivation, or was some combination of scurvy and other diseases also affecting them? There are a hundred more subjects that the story of the Greely expedition could shed light on, but Levy ignores them all in favor of a tedious accounting of exactly how many miles were covered each day. As a side note, I could also have used way more maps. There are a few included at the beginning of the book, but there are so many side trips and back-and-forths that a map for every chapter wouldn't have been out of place. I tried to follow along on Google Maps, but either place names have changed or Google hasn't bothered to finely map the Arctic Circle, because many of the locations Levy mentioned just weren't there. I'm not objecting to the genre of polar exploration histories; I've read plenty that were exciting, enlightening, hard to put down and even, occasionally, funny. Labyrinth of Ice is definitively not one of them. I can't imagine recommending this book to anyone unless they had to write a report on the Greely expedition, and even then there are probably better resources. I read this as an ARC via NetGalley.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    This story of almost unbelievable achievement, suffering, and survival is well worth the time to read. Besides the sheer facts of the adventure itself—and its accompanying tales of horror—the stories of the men and women involved, and the sacrifices they made for each other and their cause, make the reading of the book an adventure itself.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    Labyrinth of Ice by Buddy Levy This gripping story of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition in the 1880s will have you on edge from beginning to end. The harrowing tale of Adolphus Greely and his intrepid crew of twenty five men exploring the Arctic had me turning pages faster than I ever have for any book. Ever! Survival is at the core, and later, while awaiting rescue, this group led by Lieutenant Greely will experience the highs and lows of Arctic exploration and endurance. How did anyone survive Labyrinth of Ice by Buddy Levy This gripping story of the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition in the 1880s will have you on edge from beginning to end. The harrowing tale of Adolphus Greely and his intrepid crew of twenty five men exploring the Arctic had me turning pages faster than I ever have for any book. Ever! Survival is at the core, and later, while awaiting rescue, this group led by Lieutenant Greely will experience the highs and lows of Arctic exploration and endurance. How did anyone survive the below zero temperatures day after day? The darkness of winter? The eventual lack of food and water? The tedium in the wait for and uncertainty of rescue? Secondary to Greely’s expedition in the Arctic are the rescue missions set to find Greely and his crew, eventually spurred on by Henrietta, Greely’s wife. Nothing is easy in this polar region. Will the rescue teams find Greely and his team in time to bring home survivors? For lovers of well-told real life adventure stories, Labyrinth of Ice is a five star read you won’t easily forget.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Barbara McEwen

    Ok! January 1st and just finished Labyrinth of Ice, Brrrrrr! So I was very lucky to get this ARC because I really enjoyed Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage. If you are into exploration, nonfiction, Antarctic adventure etc. read it. Honestly, I thought they were a little crazy marketing their book as like Endurance because it is sort of THE book of this sort but... it's pretty close! It is quite a story. I mean guys on boats in the freakin' 1880s trying to reach the farthest north. Of Ok! January 1st and just finished Labyrinth of Ice, Brrrrrr! So I was very lucky to get this ARC because I really enjoyed Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage. If you are into exploration, nonfiction, Antarctic adventure etc. read it. Honestly, I thought they were a little crazy marketing their book as like Endurance because it is sort of THE book of this sort but... it's pretty close! It is quite a story. I mean guys on boats in the freakin' 1880s trying to reach the farthest north. Of course not well trained arctic specialists or anything but kind of a mish mash of guys some of whom did well in the civil war and thought hey, let's do a bunch of Science in the Arctic! Well... you should read it to find out what happens but it's pretty impressive.

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