PositiveThe Washington Post... a fascinating account ... Gertner writes with verve and acuity, and his prose is at times lyrical ... But even though his narration of the expeditions is packed with absorbing detail, it’s hard to avoid an element of drudgery midway through the book’s first half, because by then, the dangers posed by the harsh environment start to seem less novel. There were times when I wished, for the book’s sake, that the English language had more words to describe ice. Fortunately, Gertner picks up the pace again in the second half, telling the scientific story without giving readers an excuse to stop reading—except perhaps to ponder the fate of the planet.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewAnand...provides a revealing look at the brutality and oppression of British rule, and how it seeded the desire for retribution in the hearts of so many Indians ... Anand does a stellar job of sketching Singh’s trajectory from orphanage to hangman’s noose, and from obscurity into the pantheon of Indian heroes. But the lack of available details about his activities, including the precise nature of his relationship with the Ghadars, forces her to tell the story at a remove that at times feels unsatisfying. In contrast, the book offers a crisp portrait of O’Dwyer, providing a clear sense of the attitudes he shared with his fellow administrators in the Raj...Singh’s character and motivations, on the other hand, are rendered in such broad and sometimes speculative brush strokes that readers are likely to be left wondering what really drove him. Yet the book more than makes up for this shortcoming by reconstructing its key events in compelling, vivid prose.