In August 1897, the young Belgian commandant Adrien de Gerlache set sail for a three-year expedition aboard the good ship Belgica with dreams of reaching Antarctica. But as Julian Sancton recounts here, de Gerlache's plans to be first to the magnetic South Pole would swiftly go awry, yet he opted to continue. With the ship wrapped in the ice, the crew descended into madness, and their surprising saviors would be shipmates Dr. Frederick Cook—a genius and con man—and the soon-to-be legendary Roald Amundsen.
"At once a riveting survival tale and a terrifying psychological thriller…. A mesmerizing, unputdownable read."—Nathaniel Philbrick
"[This book] has it all: idealism, ingenuity, ambition, explosives, flimflammery, a colorful cast, a blank map, a three-month-long night, penguins…. A riveting tale, splendidly told."—Stacy Schiff