As someone who can't seem to get enough of reading about polar expeditions and stories of exploration in general (in any climate), I knew Empire of Ice and Stone would be a must-read for me as soon as I saw it. This is an incredible account of the Karluk's 1913 expedition to the Arctic and the many trials that plagued the men on this journey, along with successes and triumphs in a variety of forms.
What I liked: Buddy Levy's research for Empire of Ice and Stone is impeccable and he includes an incredibly thorough accounting of all components of the story, from backgrounds of prominent figures to the planning stages to the long, arduous journey itself. I thought Levy wove all of this information into a very coherent and engaging narrative that I found easy to follow along with. No matter how many polar or general exploration expeditions I read about, I will never fail to be dumbfounded by either the lack of planning or the response to the discovery of a problem as "eh, we'll be fine" that seems so common among these leaders (looking at you, Vilhjalmur Stefansson). I really enjoyed learning about Captain Bob Bartlett, and since I always love observing various leadership styles I was pleased to see that Levy highlighted this throughout the book. I also found myself fully invested in many of the people involved in these expedition because of how well Levy portrayed their personalities and actions while out on the ice, and this is part of what really made this book such a captivating story that made me feel as though I were out on the ice with them all (but not really, because that would suck, let's be honest).
What I didn't like: I don't really have any complaints! I thought this was really compelling, well-written and researched, and because of that I'm not sure what to say as a negative. The expedition itself is pretty long and not always the most exciting, so I could see things maybe dragging a little bit at times, but I didn't find this to be much of an issue.