Thoughts on The Expedition: A Love Story by Bea Uusma

Book Review of Bea Uusma’s book The Expedition: A Love Story

Andrée’s Arctic balloon expedition

In 1897, three Swedish scientists leaves for a polar expedition in a hydrogen balloon. Thirty years later they are found, by accident, dead on a deserted island. What happened to them and why did they die?

The author, Bea Uusma, gets obsessed by the subject and spends decades trying to find out what really happened. This is her account of what happened and the journey to uncover the last missing pieces of the puzzle.

What I really loved about this book how each chapter uses very different narrative tools; diary entries from the crew, chart of data, maps, test results and research journals – This makes you feel like you are apart of an ongoing mystery investigation.


📝 The hydrogen balloon leaked gas from the start. It was expected to last 30 days but it was useless after a day or two.

📝 Sea charts of the Arctic region are just white. This goes on for page after page. Nothing exists there.

📝 Eating the lever from of polar bears can lead to vitamin-a poisoning. The crew knew this and avoided it. The same goes for seals…but this they didn’t know!

📝 After spending two weeks building a hut, the ice cracked underneath it and it had to be abandoned.

📝 Polar bears can attack unprovoked. They can wander 100km a day on ice and a smell seals form 30km.


Freud mentions 3 main sources of human suffering; The external environment, our aging body and other people. This book reminds me of the relentless and brutish traits of nature untamed. Civilization (and with it; other people.) might be a cheap prize to pay for not having death lurking around every corner.

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ out of 5

Find more great reads on my book reviews page and the Great Books List

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