cover image Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story

Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story

Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace. Calkins Creek, $17.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-62979-428-0

Drawing heavily on the journals of the crew of the U.S.S. Jeannette, the Wallaces (Blood Brother) recount in riveting prose the ship’s ill-fated two-year voyage (1879–1881) in search of warm waters then thought to surround the North Pole. Lt. Cmdr. George W. De Long sailed under the authority of the U.S. Navy, hoping to advance human knowledge and perhaps reach the pole. The financial backing of James Gordon Bennett Jr., owner of the sensationalistic New York Herald, ensured that the expedition was well provisioned, and it boasted an excellent crew, but these advantages were offset by ignorance of the polar climate, broken telegraph equipment, and misleading maps. Two months after sailing from San Francisco, the ship was trapped in ice off the Siberian coast, where it remained for almost two years until it sank. Chief engineer George Melville emerges as the surviving hero, exemplifying the courage, skill, determination, and honor of all 33 men, who maintained a “never-turn-back attitude” through intense cold, storms, illness, and the ultimate loss of the Jeannette and two-thirds of its crew. Abundant archival illustrations, bibliography, and source notes bolster this gripping, accessible account. Ages 9–up. (Sept.)