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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Other expeditions distracted
I feel the author needed to use other expeditions to pad out his story,otherwise it
was interesting to read about someone I knew little about.
Published on 29 Mar. 2013 by Victor Robinson

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars It took a while to lift off, frankly..
As others have suggested, this is a fascinating story but it is marred by something that the author could not have avoided: the deaths of the three men having failed in their mission cannot be explained satisfactorily as (unlike Scott at the other pole), Andree left no details of what went wrong at the end. Apparently, 93 photos were legible after the recovery of the...
Published 13 months ago by Firenze


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3.0 out of 5 stars It took a while to lift off, frankly.., 25 Jun. 2014
By 
Firenze (West Country) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Ice Balloon (Paperback)
As others have suggested, this is a fascinating story but it is marred by something that the author could not have avoided: the deaths of the three men having failed in their mission cannot be explained satisfactorily as (unlike Scott at the other pole), Andree left no details of what went wrong at the end. Apparently, 93 photos were legible after the recovery of the films from 35 years in the permafrost so it would have been illuminating to have had a thickish wad of them in the book (you only get about a dozen).

I have a complaint about Wilkinson's layout: it's fine (advisable, even) to give some clear account of the other expeditions that made attempts on the north pole but I think the book would have been better paced if AW had dealt with all of those in a clear and delineated way in the initial chapters. Each expedition was interesting but they are dropped into this book at unexpected intervals so the account of Andree's mission is constantly interrupted by the literary equivalent of the author saying "oops, I forgot to mention..". I cannot undertsand Victor Robinson's review about needing some more background: there's plenty of background here but it is not well ordered.

I have read just about all I can find about the treks to Antarctica so am now starting to read more about the Arctic. This is a good story, imperfectly balanced though it is, but it's not the best place to start reading about the Arctic.I suggest `Frozen in Time ` by Geiger and Beattie (for gruesome Franklin details) or, better still, the briskly readable and beautifully ordered `Icemen` by Conefrey and Jordan.

Andree will remain a curious chapter in Arctic exploartion - hubris and zesty enthusiasm brought low by hopeless inexperience (gosh, that describes so many polar explorers) - but he deserves to be regarded more seriously than heretofore. Wilkinson has made a good tale of it all but this is not an unmissable book. I'd be intersted to know what a modern day balloonist makes of this story: was Andree as good as science at that time allowed or was he hopelessly naive and ill-prepared?
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good , but not great, 18 Jan. 2014
This review is from: The Ice Balloon (Paperback)
The polar regions of our planet are the harshest and most unforgiving places that man has visited. Even with modern equipment and clothing humans still face great challenges venturing into the area.

Imagine then how it was undertaking polar exploration in the Victorian age. The expedition equipment was very primitive, and in some cases dangerous, they did not have years of study and understanding of the human body in these conditions. Wilkinson has looked at the story of S A Andrée, a Swedish explorer who took of in a hydrogen filled balloon in 1897 with the aim of being the first man to go over the North Pole.

He has written this account based on the diaries of Andrée, and contemporary accounts of the time. He was a hero of his age when he departed, following in the footsteps of many explorers who tried and failed to make it there. The journey was not straightforward, as you would imagine, and of all the expeditions they were probably the wine who got the closest. After the balloon landed, they unpacked and set about trying to return across the ice.

This was a fascinating book in lots of ways, Andrée was a true gentlemen, and the description of the meals that they ate were almost unreal, for example champagne at one meal. The thing that I didn't like about the book was that there was too much material on other attempts and journeys in the Arctic. I understand to set the context, but it just felt like it was padded a little.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Other expeditions distracted, 29 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Ice Balloon (Hardcover)
I feel the author needed to use other expeditions to pad out his story,otherwise it
was interesting to read about someone I knew little about.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldnt put it down, 4 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: The Ice Balloon (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book, it took me a whilst to finish it as constant interruptions from the kids, but it kept me intrigued the whole time. I have not read a book regarding expeditions before, it was a review in the Daily Telegraph that I read that intrigued me. It really puts into perspective the heroics, bravery and endurance of these men in their expedition to the pole in a hot air balloon!!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Anachronism, 25 April 2015
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This review is from: The Ice Balloon (Kindle Edition)
Great boOk on an otherwise unknown adventurer . As the diaries entries
From the occupants are limited the book is filled out with other well known stories . Which many people who enjoy this type of genre will probably already have read. That said I had to skip through about 30pc
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, 22 May 2013
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This review is from: The Ice Balloon (Hardcover)
My only criticism would be it relied a bit to much on previous expeditions and not the "ice balloon" itself but other than that absorbing reading
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 24 July 2014
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This review is from: The Ice Balloon (Paperback)
Very good copy, excellent service,thank you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 20 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: The Ice Balloon (Hardcover)
positive
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The Ice Balloon
The Ice Balloon by Alec Wilkinson (Paperback - 28 Mar. 2013)
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