Labyrinth of Ice

Labyrinth of Ice 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 , Lt AW Greely And His Crew Of 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 MadeGreely 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 , They Broke The 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 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 MissionMonths 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

Buddy Levy BIO Writer, educator, public speaker and entertainer, Buddy Levy is the author of Labyrinth of Ice The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition St Martin s Press, 2019 No Barriers A Blind Man s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon co authored with Erik Weihenmayer, Thomas Dunne Books, 2017 a national bestseller and Honorable Mention Award Winner in the Outdoor Literature

➽ [Reading] ➿ Labyrinth of Ice By Buddy Levy ➲ –
  • Hardcover
  • 400 pages
  • Labyrinth of Ice
  • Buddy Levy
  • 13 December 2017
  • 9781250182197

10 thoughts on “Labyrinth of Ice

  1. says:

    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. says:

    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.

  3. says:

    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 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 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 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 GreelyI want to thank St Martin s Press for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at

  4. says:

    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 KislingburyThis 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 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 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 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. says:

    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 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.

  6. says:

    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 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 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 any 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 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 this book, but make sure you have plenty of snacks nearby you never know what can happen precisely and cumbersomely known as The Lady Franklin Bay Expeditioncome to my blog

  7. says:

    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 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 depth than in other books, some men 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 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 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.

  8. says:

    Well written and action packed, Labyrinth of Ice is a 4 star read and I would have enjoyed it much if I hadn t read Ghosts of Cape Sabine which is much 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 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 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.

  9. says:

    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 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 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.

  10. says:

    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 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.

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