tv Book Discussion CSPAN August 31, 2014 10:00pm-11:03pm EDT
>> good evening. on behalf of the entire staff thank you very much coming out on this wet evening. please turn off your cell phones and as they get to question and answer there is the microphone over there really appreciate it if you would make your way to it if you would like to ask a question we have the cameras here going. finally at the end please help our staff by folding up the chairs. we are delighted to have with us a very prolific
writer of narrative history hampton sides has several best-selling works among them ghost soldiers of the prison camp in the philippines and more than 500 pows it sold more than 1 million copies since its release in 2002 another of his made some best vocalist in 2006 when it came out. four years ago we tackled the murder of martin luther king, jr. and now with the release of the kingdom -- "in the kingdom of ice" s. the subtitle says the grand and terrible polar voyage of the uss jeanette" which started 1879.
his background is in magazine journalism and has also done radio and newspapers and editor-at-large for outside magazine and has written for a number of other periodicals and considers himself one who happens to write books about history meaning he goes after a historical subject mindful of things that resonate with current defense that is certain to draw the readers in but the story he tells of the harrowing expedition of the u.s. says jeanette has the elements of a gripping epic tale and their quest of the north pole the young commanding officer george washington delong was already famous of the zero rescue mission in the bank
rover of the new york herald james gordon bennett that also was the guy who send someone to africa to find livingstone and there is much more based on information that's hampton sides could piece together for a range of sources including official documentation journals and memoirs. it has founded will the opposite of frozen it is sizzling of story telling magic declared "the boston globe" funded venture narrative said "the new york times" please join me to welcome hampton sides.
[applause] >> it is so great to be back here in washington d.c. one of the places i've learned to write spending time at washingtonian magazine and a lot of other places around town but i also wanted to do something different and ended up in new mexico where outside magazine is based in beverly cut my teeth on adventure stories and the narratives. so i will talk tonight about the environment that produced the voyage of the uss jeanette and the thinking and the theory about what was that the north pole with a great puzzles what is that addict -- the attic of the
worldwide is it so different -- difficult to reach it? level give you a sense of the environment and also little sense of how i spent my summer vacation in during my travels in siberia. first of all, for those that have already read or are reading my book, how many have heard of the voyage of the uss jeanette? i thank you were cheating. but this is a very informed audience because yesterday and was in dallas with 200 people in the room and no one raised their hand. people have not heard of it even though its own day these men were the astronauts of their time
time, subjects of best-selling books and monuments everybody knew about the of men. so i kind of want to change it that is why i am here to bring this story to the forefront where i think it belongs it is one of the great adventure stories of all time with the most harrowing stories of survival. and when i first heard about it i cannot believe it was not better known. i should ask can everyone here me? okay. one place it is well known is the naval academy in annapolis. there is uss jeanette
monument on the banks of the river and george washington delong is one of the great exploration heroes of the navy and people are celebrated as well as woodlawn cemetery in the of bronx one of the killed did age cemeteries that has monuments there. the idea of the uss jeanette seems to be crazy to sail to the north pole. why would you want to? why would that not be considered completely insane? but it has its roots in mythologies and history and science and pseudo science that were swirling around in the 1800's.
>> once it is on a beautiful map we have not seen god but we know he exist but we know this polder see a exist. proving something we have not seen or witnessed. but to talk about talked-about, all sorts of ideas is deeply imbedded in the ecology of different cultures of a warm jollied happy place with weird sea creatures of marine life and tropical weather that existed just beyond the ice
if you could somehow reach its. so there was that which contributed to the notion so there were some decidedly wackier idea is going on the special -- a specially one gentleman who went around the world or the country that he call hold at the polls? he that those that live in to the deep cavities of the earth and it is just a matter of time before we could find them and it sounds completely lunatic fringe stuff but to convince congress to dispatch one
expedition to the south pole to find these at the polls so this was the image of what it was supposed to look like one at the top of the world one at the bottom. you get the general idea. it still lives on today but if you google you find an interesting subculture i had no knowledge of before. [laughter] apparently there are lots of people down there with the obama administration has done everything it can from no weighing about it. [laughter] it is interesting. so we have some kind of shelf life. this guy a jules verne
popularized -- popularize the notion journey to the center of the earth. the subterranean cavities that he called the central sees to show the way this idea was popular in the 1800's how it circulated all different levels of society. so other people is to be up there as well. i thought this was an ancient idea but it turns out it was fairly recent from the 1860's with a cartoon from "harper's" that shows a helpers' that the north pole. so what is up there?
we desperately wanted to know some of thises the environment it was launched. so there are other scientists and pseudo scientists and experts that went further tuesday rise how we might reach it and for most was this guy from germany the four most mapmaker with the huge operation that produced state of the art maps that were hand colored the of google maps of his time. also so many characters had excellent facial expressions [laughter] one of his many publications beautiful stuff and very influential and a gave him a
platform to talk about the wacky theories of one of his obsessions. there he is not we want to hang out with but very intelligent and tragic character that is important to my book in the first third. i went to understand his world in the map making universe this is his grave and the house he was raised to show his theories about what was up there. he was intrigued by the coldstream to know how powerful it was to bring things from the tropics north to be fast pass norway and knowing exactly so the
thought it tunnelled under the eyes to make its way to the north pole that is explaining that open polar see that we all believed in. but the black current was known to exist sleeping to the bering strait nobody knew where went but the thought was a tunnel under the ice cap in these two great currents met with this elaborate grandiose system that the plan is supposedly had even in that half crazy intellectual would come up with the theory to convince people it was true. here is another rendering.
says somebody who was captivated by the idea also with this guy with excellent facial hair this was teeeighteen that was then the largest paper in the world the third largest man in manhattan and inherited the newspaper from his dad and was the spoiled brats half mad playboy cable on the first transatlantic yacht race and was also into speed walking. a champion speed walker. he also got was eventually ostracized or his bad behavior to paris where he ran his paper from paris through the transatlantic
cable and eventually created the paris herald that became the international herald tribune so teeeighteen, jr. was fascinated by the north pole and wanted to bankroll the expedition and loved the idea. this is the newspaper of the new york herald this is the offices in new york can win eight -- one of the extra x -- eccentricities he had was owls. all types of bowels that really tickled his fiancee's -- how woolsey was the model for bruce wayne or batman because because of this mysterious a lube international playboy bachelor who has a fetish
for night creatures like owls. the little bit later in life of the pages of "vanity fair" if you ever writing a novel it was too far-fetched and insane. this is what he kept in the mediterranean that had turkish bath but also had rooms down below where he kept his dairy cows. this is a famous painting of life aboard one of the other yachts. i had to do some research and it james gordon bennett, jr. this is one of his apartments his villa the
south of france not far from monaco. this is the view from his fellow. my wife took most of these ventures it is just intriguing he was really interested in competitive sports he brought competitive tennis to england in started the newport casino walsh of men are suffering terribly there is a tennis match going on and cut back and forth also later in life with automobile racing and
delivery saying. also he started the james gordon bennett, jr. cup so he tested a long shadow as alluded to in the introduction to africa to find living san he did not really need to be lost but he understood this to be a serious and along the way to discover all kinds of things with a series of dispatches. it was the sensation for the new york herald and looking for an encore and this is
larry he began to work on the idea of an expedition to the north pole he would pay for completely by himself to test his theory of peterman. this is the guy who got the job. lieutenant commander george washington delong of the u.s. navy graduate of naval academy someone who was to greenland and had fallen in love with the arctic and decided he wanted to be the first one to reach the north pole. and also captivated with the other scientific ideas swirling around at that time. so bennett pushing it -- purchases the ship bin renames it uss jeanette and george washington delong and his wife sale the ship from
france around the horn to san francisco 1878 and began to work on the ship and discussing it including edison's light not quite ready for prime time that brought on board like alexander graham bell telegraph equipment listed fdr library they knew they were going into the great unknown to be at least two or three years if not more and to this is the gilded age people wanted to live well as well as they possibly could. and edisons life as we learned later he did get the hang of it but unfortunately life on the uss jeanette did
not cooperate. they left from san francisco to a thousand people were gathered there to go off on the voyage everybody knew about uss jeanette although paid for by the eccentric millionaire it was staffed by u.s. navy officers playing -- under naval rules and was a naval ship. uss jeanette in an unorthodox arrangement like ted turner joining forces with nasa to send a probe to mars or something like that. it would not work today but that was the gilded age for you. headed north through the bering strait going past alaska that we had fairly recently purchased from the russians so to talk about that new acquisition there
we're headed to wrangle island and also was prominently in a series of peterman people thought it was a polar continent that went all the way over the pole to connect with greed land. the show's said general about to move north along the coast of siberia them promptly in september get stuck in the ice. little fine the thermal water way or the current but they find a vice in their stock to years in a the eyes drifting backward and forward and left and right moving slowly but surely north in the right direction. luckily the ship was
massively reinforced almost rebuilt. they knew there'd be nice they do was months but not years trying to figure out what to do. so they did not exactly suffer they had food, all the entertainment, a great library but slowly they were going bad from boredom, over familiarity and no action and behavior's of some of the men on board flight collins was an amazing guy he was a meteorologist one of the scientists on board but being from ireland someone who loves wordplay has a particular weakness for putting this.
those are good for one day or two. two years? [laughter] they wanted to lock him up and kill him. all the journals talk about this. there is also one who is the navigator. amazing but it turns out he had syphilis. the way yet manifest is through a condition called syphilitic air ride is that makes them go under the knife something like two dozen operations without anesthesia and he has to wear goggles he cannot stay and any type of flights and he is locked in his room for two years. so you have a blind to navigator. [laughter] also this guy a distant relation to milledgeville and amazingly resourceful and quickly becomes the hero
of this story. and he writes this book about his experiences that i drew from all lots breaking this book. so this shows the drift so does not going nice straight line but for him backwards one year they almost made a complete circle and ended up back where they started. this is generally what it looked like as they move to the northwest. when i do these narrative history is i like to go to the place that i am writing about to see the landscape and the weather so i got myself of really bad hair cut and i went to russia but i thought i could go west
through synthesis go and alaska and it would be easy but it turned out i had to get 12 different permits going through restricted areas that are military zones. and asking me questions like to defend people? you want to go there? and was working with the translator and a series of planes and time zones that is the pacific coast of siberia to this place that is bizarre in and of itself to find a russian icebreaker heading north called -- to
but there were soldiers there viscid you are welcome to be here but please leave this after two hours we move towards - - north. then restarted to encounter eyes and but for whatever combination of reasons summer 2012 was a record amount of vice in this part -- ice in this part so we begin to be glad we were on board the icebreaker it kept getting thicker and thicker and then we ran into the ice coming to a complete standstill you are shaking as it goes through the stuff.
i took all these pictures with my phone apologize for the quality. but this is straight down from the owls of the ship with those patterns we were creating going through the stuff. [inaudible] sixty-eight or 7 feet perhaps it is hard to get perspective from this angle. we did reach our destination that is wrangle island it is 100 miles long it is called the galapagos of the high
north a huge population of snow geese and snowfall and reindeer and also polar bear the world's largest ground for polar bear. this is part of russia. yes but that is a complicated question. we've made a landfall with the zodiac raft. and my friends were extremely excited. and to go back to the shore of wrangle island only for people live on the island they are preserved rangers rangers, russians that were so glad to see us. [laughter] so glad to see human beings.
and to entertain us. the reason i was coming to wrangle island to do this story for "national geographic" magazine and working with an amazing russian photographer who the next couple pictures are his. but he has been going for decades here it is amazing and the refuge is the arctic is changing in so many ways this is where the animals are going including the polar bear. they don't normally congregate in march numbers like this but because the ice has not been a reliable source said they have been coming to wrangle island one of the few places they can go in the summer and a
throng in these huge numbers which is not what they like to do. normally it is one or two. but these are pictures that were taken of all walrus' kill. and arctic fox. this is a famous pitcher in the magazine they causally tried to collect these snow goose day began they constantly fight with the adults geese. sometimes the fox win and just as often in muggees win it is of battle royal. also excellent facial hair. [laughter]
just a few structures on the island this is sarah gays have been because the polar bear are everywhere. this picture of me was on wrangle island one of the things the island is famous for it is believed to be the last place on earth at the woolly mammoth lived so this 7,000 year-old mammoth tusk sitting in a river stream they are everywhere. all about the ivan lendl of the ivory i try to put that into my overnight bank. this wonderful i went that. >> host: she tried to land
on the the ice took him over in and around but another american in vessel that was sent to look for the uss jeanette did make landfall and these are believed to be the first people to ever land on wrangle island. they raise the american flag over the island that is why it is complicated they claimed it for the united states did it was supposed to be american soymeal. if we had tested our claim a little more diligently it would be part of alaska today. one of the guys on board was looking for uss jeanette was a great conservationist john, who in that time was a newspaper reporter for different seven cisco reporters -- newspapers and was on the ship and he was looking for the of uss
jeanette. it was an interesting time in the life. so it is a main character in the last third of the book. where was the uss jeanette? they could not find them they were 1,000 miles to the northwest still locked in the eyes making their way slowly but surely to the north pole but the eyes was literally squeezing the life out of the ship. and this seems were losing with pine tar and it was clear this ship could not survive so george washington delong began a very organized effort to move essential belongings onto the ice to be ready for that inevitable retreat they would have to make as the ship would begin to sink. one of the reasons we're looking at engravings and
paintings of all the photos taken during the of way it all looked down at the ship that is probably one of the reasons you have not heard about it. that is not really what it looked like but it is a heroic paintings from and of french painter. this is an image sent to me from meshed waters not touche deepened to maybe another teeeighteen like ted turner to find and photograph it but that is another story. so the men were left on the ice 40 dogs and 303 men headed south to the nearest
land mass which is the central coast of siberia. 1,000 miles away over the ice knowing what it winter was coming they had just a little bit of time to save themselves so that is a very different chapter of the story that this great hero weighing an adventure survival stories of all time. how george washington delong held the men together and it could have unraveled but they made their way south over the ice pack struggling and hauling them whaleboat's and provisions but hunting all the way because they did not have enough food and held it together 91 days until they reached open water. meanwhile back home in new york mrs. george washington
delong is wondering where her husband is. i have this picture of her mainly because doing research for the book early on i was doing some cold calling of people named to the same because i heard there were relatives of a distant relative of george washington delong she said i am so glad you called me because i have a trumka full of letters in the attic that i don't know what to do with him and i may have to throw it away will you please come ? would i ever? i flew to connecticut immediately to look at the stuff and took possession on loan with the idea we would give it to the naval academy it they were love letters
and from that court ship dates and maps and manuscripts of mrs. delong and letters from people and to the navy. but there was a thing she did this summer of 1881 she began to write her letters to know where. letters to her husband sent north through norway or green land or the bering straits in the hopes that somehow they would reach her husband. they're absolutely beautiful. heart wrenching, people wrote better to begin with but also a quality as the story goes from bad to worse because these men are struggling for their own survival and she is writing fees lovely and seductive
letters to her husband but she doesn't know if they will ever reach him. so this shows the general idea. , you notice the line goes north but they try to go south of their struggling over the eyes as hard as they can but they find out the ice is drifting north faster than they can move self so they're actually going backwards for the first few weeks over the sluggish eighth round of rubble but they make their way generally to the southwest to the coast of siberia. of long the way they discover a couple of islands that they land on and explore no one has ever been on this before it is called bennett's island to dave
named after the publisher. weekly before the u.s. but now part of russia now to the northeast you see that archipelago today is still known as the delong islands making their way to the open water which is they finally do reach. it takes 90 days but they put their rickety votes in the water they almost had to rebuild them because there were nearly destroyed and everything goes well until the next day when they encounter a gigantic scale that separates the three votes from each other. so the story is of the three votes as they make their way to siberia not knowing if the other party is alive or dead.
they make their way to the delta one of the world's largest rivers and it is extraordinary because it empties into the arctic ocean and melts first so it creates a barrier to its own current so the water goes crazy frantic trying to find our way and exaggerating the normal pattern you would get sealed literally have hundreds and hundreds of hundreds of violence and back channels. this is the terrain that de long reached trying not only to save themselves but find each other in the labyrinth and needless to say it makes for a very difficult few months as they try to make
it over the landscape. i wanted to go to the delta as well it is very remote not a very many americans have been to. so i decided to look into how to go and all drugs lead to this place on the art arctic ocean used to be a military installation with long-range intercontinental bombers and directed for the destruction of the united states. now is largely abandoned 400 miles above the arctic circle zero wasteland people just walk around but i am there looking for a way to get to the delta of
specifically the place known as the america of mountain that i had heard there is a monument to the men of the uss jeanette wanted to pay my respects. to all the buildings are empty. selenic these guys to run the river broke company in trying to keep the main channels open for the small price of a few thousand dollars and a lot of cigarettes to addict come on board to work on the vessel to worker way over. i did this story for outside
magazine in the july issue if you want to to check that out working our way to the delta the last before we jumped into the middle of nowhere the largest restricted preserves no one and living fair. hundreds of miles above the arctic circle. permafrost and there are two seasons paris derek is winter and a mosquito. just being eaten alive mosquitos the size of hummingbirds but we did finally reach american mountain or we thought we did but as we got close the ship ran aground then it
finally we had to even swim at one point to get to the base. it was built here because of all the flooding that happens they wanted a high place san there are very few this is where they built the monument. this was taken at 3:00 in the morning the sun does not set he is smoking those cigarettes. this is one of my guides. a russian soldier. there it is. there enough an obelisk and across uss jeanette left the way it is in the 18 eighties i am not sure of many americans have been there.
written in japanese only those people that go to the delta are those that steady permafrost and the tundra and arctic weather. i left something ford de long and the men and we had a picnic been made our way back. it is amazing in the incredibly desolate part of the world there is a place called america of mountain. the villagers knew about and people in russia knew about the of uss jeanette voyage many more than people in this country. james gordon bennett, jr.
did get his story he said his journalist to russia and the was sent by telegraph but ended up being a bigger story than livingston. and those that survived i will not say what happened some would live in some died those that lived was welcomed as heroes and there were parades and 86 journals became a best-selling book the voyage of uss jeanette. taking them across the ice cap buried in the sand later found by a navy rescuers dug up with a to a train to moscow and st. petersburg
and ended up in the national archives. now they are digitized by scientist and a group called old whether looking at old weather patterns from expeditions to compare from those days to today. these are images the of de long log books and journals. looking at these through the archives just to think very heavy volumes that they did not have to come all this way but they could have through them but de long knew this was the only proof the expedition had been to. so he brought them every step of the way and they made it to the national archives. other men became quite well
known this is a pitcher of melville the chief engineer of the united states navy and is considered a great exploration hero of the navy. there were parades and funeral processions everyone turned out for the men of the uss jeanette and this huge will long story of its time i had of ballclub past three years to resurrect inbreathed new life for a new audience and new generation. that is the background story why i wrote it but i want to hear from you if i can. we have 10 minutes and up above to get some questions about this narrative history and also physically about the uss jeanette. [applause] if hispanic we need you to
come up to the microphone for c-span2. >> i was thinking of the early slide of the currents going through the local stream and there is a much more recent map number of europe to go back a much greater depth i am pretty sure he did not know that. >> he did not. is generally known it went north but after that did it go down or fray into multiple kurtis or circle back? it was not entirely wrong
but the theory was wrong. he was extremely forceful in his art -- argumentation but quite enticing part of it was those beautiful maps. was very difficult for people -- for people to believe it was not true so unfortunately people had to die or suffer to prove these elaborate theories. that is the way it works in this game. >> ivan are convinced that the national archives to work on that collaboration. >> while you read the book if you want to have more information all the images are available on the web
site go '02 archives it you have all the law but the entries for the voyage it is a wonderful resource soon after they got stuck i believe george washington de long took over control of all entries day in and day out. also over two years the crew needed something to do so they took the of barometric pressure so it could transcribe through another web sites and you can help transcribes the logbooks so
not just uss jeanette also the other cutters and scores of others. i am sorry to give a plug. >> i could not have tended to without you pulling the record he is the guy. he knows less backwards and forwards. [applause] it has been a great collaboration on many lovell's -- levels. but related to the first question, if i am not mistaken a of a great industry going on whalers were getting caught in lies -- ice theories kept a stronghold did they never
ask about their experiences or they were never regarded? >> captains said don't do it. you were going straight to hell. they experienced first hand they did not know the currents exactly they were agnostic if there was a warm water courage but they knew the power of the eyes it is alive and with the ship's and other pieces of ice no matter how much you reinforce. i bet you were going to say i left the box is in disarray or did not check out properly. [laughter] >> a similar question with the civil war may be there
was the american icebreaker to go north and spent an entire year locked in a the eyes i am not sure what side of greenland. >> probably the of paul harris. >> that is right he got his activism for the arctic. there were looking for the lost vessel spinach and they came out okay with a triumphant return to the new york harbor? >> that is another one there has been three or four. >> this is a lot of data they are stuck. >> this is why they stopped going to greenland it must not be that so let's try the bering straits. [laughter] but of course, the great irony is they look for the
open polar seedbed did not exist but they said there will be in the summertime. so maybe just a victim of bad timing. >> a related question come on any of these strips on one of them the eskimo people played of gold to help keep people alive like the wailing for h it became of movie. >> that was a documentary but it was fictional based on fact. it did not make the big splash but it is a terrific movie i wonder if people on either side if you came upon
obscure or enough and the way that all plays out has a certain power if you just don't know. you can google it. obviously this is nonfiction and history and a happy and if you have to know you can do that, but i would encourage you enough to. i would encourage you to go with the flow. the last 100 pages go on quickly
that but they are more powerful if you don't know. thanks for the question. have you seen them? they are sprinkled around at the naval academy and the smithsonian. obviously the national archives has some stuff and there is in san francisco as well. thank you so much for coming tonight. going to sign some books. [applause] >> please form a line to the right of first put up your chairs and clean them up against something solid. thank you.