The book was In the Land of White Death: An Epic Story of Survival in the Siberian Arctic and is basically an almost-forgotten diary by the navigator of the ill-fated Saint Anna, Valerian Albanov.
If you like perilous true adventure stories like Into Thin Air, you'll probably love this book. It is so full of natural suspense. When the St. Anna becomes trapped in Arctic ice, Albanov decides to leave the ship and finds that about half the crew wants to go with him. They fashion sleds and kayaks and start their journey in a blizzard. After many months, only Albanov and one other crew member were rescued. The others succumbed to illness or were lost. I find it truly amazing that he was able to navigate southward using seemingly low-tech tools and a badly drawn map. But even high-tech gear is no match for the fickle force of nature.