Hampton Sides Visits Traverse City

MyNorth News Service

(Press Release provided by National Writers Series)

TRAVERSE CITY: On Thursday, September 17th, at The City Opera House in downtown Traverse City, spend an evening with Hampton Sides during a Northern Michigan book event put on by the National Writers Series.

A Journey to the End of the World …That Will Keep You on the Edge of Your Seat

What would you do if your nineteenth century media business needed a boost? Why, you’d launch an audacious polar expedition. And if you were Hampton Sides, you’d turn this audacity into a gripping tale of survival and invention.

Sides, a master of narrative nonfiction, recounts how James Gordon Bennett, Jr. — the wealthy owner of the New York Herald— wanted to boost newspaper sales so he bankrolled a journey to the frigid North Pole, the word’s most unforgiving wilderness. Hampton brings the epic journey to life in In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette.

Interviewed by guest host Doug Stanton, Hampton will share how he recreated the crew’s harrowing battle for survival using journal entries and letters and also by taking his own journey to the Arctic. It’s “the most dramatic journey you’ve never heard of,” says Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down.

Hampton Sides tells his tales with an epic sweep. The Times of London called this latest exploration thriller a “brilliant explosion of narrative nonfiction: detailed, moving, harrowing, as gripping as any well-paced thriller but a lot more interesting because it is also true.”

Sides first gained national acclaim and NYT bestseller status with Ghost Soldiers, an account of how 121 U.S. soldiers slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines to save hundreds of POWs who were barely surviving the hellish conditions of a Japanese prison camp. Esquire magazine called the book “the best World War II story never told.”

Hampton went on to write about the little-known aspects of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death and the hunt for his assassin in Hellhound on His Trail. In Blood and Thunder, Sides writes about Kit Carson and the battle between the U.S. and the Navajos. It was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2006 by Time magazine.

He’s currently working on a book which takes place around 1950, the early days of the Cold War and the Korean War Battle of Chosin Reservoir.

A native of Memphis and a Yale graduate, Sides divides his time between Santa Fe, N.M., and Colorado College, where he teaches and serves as journalist-in-residence. He writes for The New Yorker, among many other national magazines, and appears regularly on national television and radio, including NPR. 


Doug Stanton is a co-founder of the National Writers Series and author of the New York Times bestsellers In Harm’s Way and Horse Soldiers, which have been optioned for television and film. His writing has appeared in Esquire, Men’s Journal, Outside, the New York Times, TIME, Newsweek, the Washington Post, and other national publications.

Stanton has reported from all over the world and U.S., and he’s appeared on The Today Show, Morning Joe, CNN, FOX, Imus, and other national media. He received an MFA from the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa, and lives in his hometown of Traverse City.


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In Traverse City to see a bestselling author? Check out the MyNorth Vacation Guide for restaurants, things to do, wineries and more in Traverse City!