Monday, April 01, 2013

Nonfiction Monday: Impossible Rescue

Before we get to the reviewing, just a reminder about my other project, YA Reading List, where I post a themed reading list EVERY SINGLE DAY.

The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure Martin W. Sandler

I'm covering the books that were on the 2013 long-list for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction. For those who don't know, I was on this committee and I really want to highlight these other titles that we loved.

Off the coast of Alaska, the winter of 1897 came early, trapping eight whaling ships in the ice. There was a small settlement on shore, but between the ships and the settlement, there were not enough provisions to get through the winter, and no way to get more. (One ship managed to not be trapped, and was able to let people know what was going on, but there wasn't enough time to get back via ship for a rescue effort before winter hit full force.) President McKinley had a plan and sent three men to get them food-- they'd travel through the state and buy reindeer herds along the way, and herd the reindeer to where the men were stranded. Meanwhile, at the ships, morale and discipline were running just as low as the food.

Sandler does an excellent job of describing the conditions and tensions that run through this story. From a modern vantage point, the situation is hard to wrap your head around, but Sandler explains it really well and will have you on the edge of your seat, shivering through the Arctic reader with the whalers and their rescuers. There are several photographs and primary sources illustrating the text. It also gets high marks for some truly excellent maps and excellent back matter-- including a comprehensive "what happened next" for the people involved.

Today's Nonfiction Monday is over at Wendie's Wanderings. Be sure to check it out!

Book Provided by... the publisher, for award consideration

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1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

Brrr. This was a good one, but I think at this point I need a book set somewhere warm!