Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hampton Sides Comes to Books, Inc. in Mt. View

Monday night, I went to Books, inc. in Mt. View to see Hampton Sides.  This is a very interesting author.  He averages 1 book every 4-5 years.  My only exposure to him was about 20 years ago.  I read his book, Ghost Soldiers, which is the true story of Americans who were part of the Bataan Death March, and who ended up in a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines.  This is about not only the march, but also their imprisonment.  It's a fascinating book, but I had never read any others by Sides.  Now, he's got a new one called In the Kingdom of Ice, The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette. This story begins in 1879. at a time when U.S. explorers were treated as heroes, and their exploits were chronicled throughout the country.

Sides did a 45-minute slide show, which was much better than him reading from his book (a scenario more typical for author events).  Of course, his book leant itself to a slide show.  We learned that Wrangel Island, which is in the Arctic Ocean, and a place that Sides visited, is the last place on earth where there are still wooly mammoths.  Cool, eh? We also learned that it took Sides 4 years to write Kingdom and included visits to France, Germany, and Siberia, among other locations, for research.  And, at a time when publishers are cutting back on author tours, Sides is actually scheduled to make 32 stops, with Monday night being #19.  It was a very good crowd, probably around 35-40.

Based on how good Ghost Soldiers was, I will be reading this one at some point (get in line, Sides - the TBR pile is extremely daunting).

(I was actually that close to him because I wanted to be the 1st one to get my book signed.  Joni sat in the back.  She didn't want to be a teacher's pet, unlike me!)


  1. I love teacher's pets. His books sounds fascinating. One of my father's best friends was in the Bataan Death March and a prisoner in the Philippines. I heard his stories long after his experience, but they were still hair raising. I'll look into this book.

  2. Wow. That's crazy. I can tell you the book was very hard to read and very well done.