Posts Tagged ‘The Ice Balloon’

Next in the Knopf Doubleday Author Series at Macaulay: Monday, March 19, Alec Wilkinson and his new book, The Ice Balloon

March 12th, 2012

Celebrated New Yorker staff writer and author of nine books, Alec Wilkinson continues the popular Knopf Doubleday Author Series at Macaulay’s historic building near Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side. On March 19 at 7 PM, Wilkinson will read from, discuss and sign copies of his latest work, the grand, daring The Ice Balloon: S.A. Andree and the Heroic Age of Arctic Exploration.” (Copies of the book, recently selected as an “Editors’ Choice” by The New York Times, will be for sale at the event.) Book-signing and reception to follow.

“[Wilkinson] understands that the value of polar stories…lies…in our endless love of discovery and the drama of being human.” —Sara Wheeler, The New York Times Book Review

“Alec Wilkinson’s writing is so flawless and engaging that I’d read him on a packed subway at rush hour.”—Sebastian Junger

Baby, it’s still cold outside, but not as frigid as the killing temperatures in Alec Wilkinson’s story of S. A. Andrée, the visionary Swedish aeronaut who, in 1897, set off to discover the NorthPole–in a hydrogen balloon. Called by a British military officer “the most original and remarkable attempt ever made in Arctic exploration,” Andrée’s expedition was followed by nearly the entire world, and made him–and his colossal balloon of layered Paris silk—an international legend. Perfect for fans of Caroline Alexander’s The Endurance, David Grann’s Lost City, or Paul Theroux’s To the Ends of the Earth, Wilkinson’s story-telling power will also put readers in mind of great 19th-century adventure fiction. The Ice Balloon captures the era when nations, compelled by vanity, commerce, and science, competed for discoveries, and newspapers covered every journey on the front page. The first modern explorer, Andree departed for the Arctic equipped with the newest technologies, yet wildly uncertain in the face of the forbidding ice region, or “realm of Death.” We also get to know Andrée’s family, the woman who loves him, and his two companions on the fatal voyage: Knut Fraenkel and Nils Strindberg, cousin of the famous playwright, who leaves behind a tender love affair of his own.

“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. . .A haunting book” —Jimmy So, This Week’s Hot Reads, The Daily Beast

Before Alec Wilkinson joined The New Yorker, he was a policeman on Cape Cod, and a rock-and-roll musician. He lives with his wife and son in New York.

The series is free and open to the public. Reservations at, 212-729-2910, or

Macaulay is located at 35 West 67th Street, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue.

Contacts: Sara Eagle, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 212/572-2105

Olga Barskaya, Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, 212/729-2910