Review: MADHOUSE AT THE END OF THE EARTH: The Belgica’s Journey into the Dark Antarctic Night by Julian Sancton (2021)

Genre: Adult Historical Nonfiction
Year Release: 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warnings: Starvation, scurvy, depictions of mental illness, animal slaughter

If you thought Arctic exploration had its moments of “why would anyone ever do this,” Antarctic exploration is on a whole other level. This book follows the expedition of The Belgica, a ship from Belgium with a mostly international crew. What makes this account particularly captivating is its wacky cast of characters and a trip that felt mad long before Adrien de Gerlarche and his crew made it to the southern seas.

Told fairly linearly in multiple points of view, the ending really has you wondering just what such journeys do to people, especially when there’s national and international renown at stake.

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