As Told at The Explorers Club: More Than Fifty Gripping Tales of Adventure


For more than a century, The Explorers Club has been the meeting place for some of the most daring adventurers on the planet. It's a legendary oasis, where a man just back from the Gobi Desert might kick back and, over some port, have a chat with a fellow off to Bandung.

Here then, are some of the best ...

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For more than a century, The Explorers Club has been the meeting place for some of the most daring adventurers on the planet. It's a legendary oasis, where a man just back from the Gobi Desert might kick back and, over some port, have a chat with a fellow off to Bandung.

Here then, are some of the best tales ever swapped at that capital of adventure, including:

Anthony Fiola on being in close quarters with a polar bear
Charles Lindbergh on his famous flight
Felix Reisenberg on the Arctic
Anne Keenleyside, Ph. D. on cannibalism
Roald Amundsen on the explorer Stefansson
Mervyn Cowie on hunting killer lions
Jean-Marc Boivin on hang-gliding
Curtis and Kathleen Saville on oceanic rowing
E. W. Deming on Sitting Bull's mysterious death

It's some of the finest writing on some of the most hair-raising journeys ever made, all selected by editor George Plimpton, himself a member of The Explorers Club.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This entertaining collection is recommended for both academic and public libraries."— Library Journal

"Irresistible browsing for strong UA readers with an Indiana Jones streak." — Booklist

Library Journal
Founded in 1904, the Explorers Club is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting exploration and the field sciences. In this collection of stories and articles selected from its archives, Explorers Club member Plimpton, the recently deceased founder and editor of the Paris Review, offers readers a glimpse of its fascinating history in this latest installment of the publisher's "Explorers Club Classic" series. The selections are arranged geographically (e.g., "Asia," "Central America," and "Pacific Ocean") and vary in style, including both historic and firsthand accounts. Included are Charles Lindbergh writing on his famous flight, the African travels of Martin and Osa Johnson in the 1920s, Jean-Marc Boivin on hang-gliding, and W.H. Jackson describing bull-whacking across the American plains in 1866. Contrasting tales from the past with those that are more recent effectively demonstrates how the world and its exploration have changed. This entertaining collection is recommended for both academic and public libraries.-Alison Hopkins, Brantford P.L., Ont. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592280353
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2003
  • Series: Explorers Club Classic Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.58 (d)

Meet the Author

GEORGE PLIMPTON, the originator of "participatory journalism," is the founder and editor of the renowned literary magazine The Paris Review. His books include Paper Lion (page TK), The Bogey Man (page TK), Open Net (page TK), Shadow Box (page TK), and Mad Ducks and Bears (page TK). He lives in New York City.


The scion of New England bluebloods who traced their ancestry back to the Mayflower, affable WASP George Plimpton was one of the 20th century's most beloved literary figures. Raised in Manhattan and educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard University, and King's College, Cambridge, Plimpton co-founded The Paris Review in 1953 and served as its editor and guiding light for the next half century. Under his stewardship, the journal became a showcase for serious fiction and poetry by new and emerging writers. It also introduced a new style of author interview emphasizing the creative process and the writer's craft. Called by Salman Rushdie "the finest available inquiry into the 'how' of literature," the Paris Review interview remains an integral part of the magazine.

In addition to these highbrow pursuits, Plimpton is also responsible for originating a popular literary genre. Gregarious and adventurous by nature, he followed his intellectual curiosity into Walter Mitty-like arenas, then chronicled his exploits—most of them noble failures—in works that came to be categorized as "participatory journalism." He sparred with heavyweight champ Archie Moore, pitched in an all-star exhibition baseball game, played percussion for the New York Philharmonic, and tried out for the circus. And although he was famous for lighthearted reportage (most notably Paper Lion, his sidesplitting 1966 account of training with the Detroit Lions football team), he proved his literary chops with well-received oral biographies of Edie Sedgwick and Truman Capote.

Instantly recognizable for his tall, lanky frame and upper-crust Brahmin accent, Plimpton was a popular fixture of the Manhattan literary and social scene. Upon his death in September, 2003, The New York Times recalled his "boundless energy and perpetual bonhomie." Five years later, Random House published George, Being George, an affectionate oral biography composed of anecdotes from more than 200 people who knew Plimpton in his many capacities. Editor and longtime Paris Review colleague Nelson Aldrich described the book as a "kind of literary party, George's last."

Good To Know

Like his grandfather and father before him, Plimpton enrolled in the prestigious New Hampshire prep school, Phillips Exeter Academy. He spent most of his time either in detention or on probation, and was finally expelled several months shy of graduation. The family was chagrinned, and Plimpton spent many years trying to atone for his failure. By the way, he graduated right on schedule from Daytona Beach High School!

Plimpton loved athletics, and much of the "participatory journalism" for which he's famous revolves around sports. He wrote books about his less-than-successful exploits in professional baseball (Out of My League), football (Paper Lion; Mad Ducks and Bears), golf (The Bogey Man), and hockey (Open Net).

He also loved fireworks and spent a lot of time with the Grucci family, whose Long Island-based company produced spectacular displays. He chronicled his longtime passion in the 1984 book Fireworks, and Mayor John Lindsay appointed him Fireworks Commissioner of New York, an unofficial title totally unrelated to government.

Plimpton made occasional forays into film, usually as an extra or in cameo appearances as himself.

A longtime friend of the Kennedy clan, Plimpton was with Bobby Kennedy in 1968 when the presidential candidate was assassinated. He also was in Norman Mailer's apartment the night the writer stabbed his wife.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      March 18, 1927
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, NY
    1. Date of Death:
      September 25, 2003
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, NY
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English Literature, Harvard University, 1950; Master's degree, Cambridge University, 1952

Table of Contents

Foreword xi
Part 1 Africa
The Ghosts of Ngulia 3
The Lady and the Coelacanth: Remembering the Zoological Discovery of the Century 15
Martin and Osa Johnson: Exploration Was Their Way of Life 27
Memories of the Last Crusade 35
There Is Such An Animal 47
Witchcraft Among the Zulus 57
Part 2 Alaska
A Day I Should Have Stayed in Bed 69
It Bears Telling 75
Part 3 Arctic
Arctic Ghost 83
At Close Quarters with a Polar Bear 95
The Compass That Talked 99
The Last Resort: Cannibalism in the Arctic 107
On Stefansson 115
Rescued from the "Death Trap" of the Arctic 123
The Royal Road to Humdrum 135
Part 4 Asia
1990 American Everest-Lhotse Expedition 151
Cheetah Hunting 167
The Elephant-Headed Deity Ganesh 173
The Elephant that Walked to Vienna 177
A Gobi Adventure 183
Hang-Gliding on the K-2: An Emergency Descent of 7,600 Meters 187
Mongolian Interlude 195
Over the Khyber to Kabul 211
Through the Wilderness of Northern Korea to the Long White Mountain 221
Traversing Arabia's Rub'al Khali 227
Woman, You Are a Beast 239
Yeti Expedition 247
Ruler of the Bush 253
Part 5 Atlantic Ocean
Rowing Across the Atlantic: Husband-Wife Team Proves it Can be Done 261
Part 6 Canada
Pagans of the Pasquas 269
Part 7 Central America
Carmelita 275
Eyes in the Night 281
Men Who Can't Come Back 289
The Capture of an Ant Army 295
Part 8 Pacific Ocean
The Fire-Dog of Asu 303
Juah Tada 313
Pitcairn Island After 200 Years: Will the Settlement Survive? 319
Rowing Across the Pacific: One Stroke at a Time 327
Part 9 United Kingdom
Biscay Gales 343
Wings in the Storm 359
Part 10 United States of America, Lower Forty-Eight
Bullwhacking Across the Plains 365
Buried Alive 379
The Death of Sitting Bull 383
A Leap in the Dark 387
Lost Inside the Earth 391
Youthful Adventure 401
Part 11 Horizons
Exploration Defined 411
Hunting Wildlife with Pen and Palette 415
Lowell Thomas Milestones 421
On Exploration 425
Remembering Lowell Thomas 431
Permissions Acknowledgments 447
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