“Once in a while you come across a book that so fully transfixes your imaginative gaze, it ceases to become a book but simply a story. . . In 1897, three men in a cold lonely balloon float toward the North Pole—and to their deaths. A haunting book.”—Jimmy So, The Daily Beast
“A rare work of nonfiction whose sublimely understated writing rivals the inherent drama of the subject matter . . . Wilkinson gives us not only an exhilarating account of Swedish engineer S.A. Andrée’s ill fated expedition, he offers a finely nuanced psychological portrait of a unique race of men—the Victorian-era Arctic explorers—and the age that produced them.”—Emily Donaldson, The Toronto Star
“A gripping account of what has been called the heroic age of Arctic exploration.”—David B. Williams, The Seattle Times
“Entertaining and extremely well-written. This captivating story [is] essential for all avid readers of exploration and polar literature.”—Library Journal
“Fabulous . . . Readers meet ‘a parade of fanatics’ who attempt to reach the Pole, discover what is there, and return alive.”—Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe
“[Wilkinson’s] superb storytelling skills shine on every page. The descriptions that Andrée and his expedition mates wrote about the harsh but stunning Arctic landscape, and the slow, agonizing march to their inevitable deaths make for riveting armchair reading.”—Stephen J. Lyons, Minneapolis StarTribune
“Wilkinson writes with insight and flair, artfully interleaving Andrée’s story with a brief history of Arctic exploration. . . . [His] prose style suits the spare polar landscape, making his occasional poetic touches even more effective . . . And Wilkinson doesn’t get bogged down in too much detail. He understands that the value of polar stories isn’t to be found in guy ropes and provisions. It lies elsewhere, in our endless love of discovery and the drama of being human.”—Sara Wheeler, The New York Times Book Review
“A fine addition to the annals of polar exploration . . . A writer known for discerning portraiture, Alec Wilkinson here probes the personality of Swedish explorer Salomon Andrée, who, along with two companions, disappeared in an 1897 attempt to discover the North Pole by balloon.” —Gilbert Taylor, Booklist (starred)
“Beautifully focused and controlled, Wilkinson, ever elegant and thorough, fleshes out his account by delineating the previous expeditions of Greely and Nansen in order to get at the motivations in the minds of this ‘parade of fanatics heading for the deep places’.” —Kirkus Reviews
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
began writing for The New Yorker
in 1980. Before that he was a policeman in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, and before that he was a rock-and-roll musician. He has published nine other books—two memoirs, two collections of essays, three biographical portraits, and two pieces of reporting—most of which first appeared in The New Yorker.
His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lyndhurst Prize, and a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He lives with his wife and son in New York City.