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“Madhouse at the End of the Earth”


I came across a review of this book in the May 6, 2021 issue of the New York Times. The full title is “Madhouse at the End of the Earth: The Belgica’s Journey into the Dark Antarctic Night” by Julian Sancton. The review begins:

On Aug. 16, 1897, the Belgica — a refitted whaling ship under the command of Adrien de Gerlache de Gomery — set sail from Antwerp in an attempt to explore Antarctica. She would limp back to Belgium on Nov. 5, 1899, with a captain and crew profoundly physically and psychologically broken by their wintering in the Antarctic ice.

It happens that Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen was the first mate on that voyage. Given that fact and the very positive review (the reviewer called it “exquisitely researched and deeply engrossing”), I thought it might be of interest to some of our members and have added it to my own long reading list.


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