The Mammoth Book of Explorers

The Mammoth Book of Explorers

by John Keay
     
 

During the golden age of exploration in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when the intrepid travelers emerged from the jungles, deserts, and ice caps of the world’s remotest locations, they were greeted by an awestruck public as though they had returned from the dead or other worlds. The Mammoth Book of Explorers recaptures the thrill of the unknown

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Overview

During the golden age of exploration in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when the intrepid travelers emerged from the jungles, deserts, and ice caps of the world’s remotest locations, they were greeted by an awestruck public as though they had returned from the dead or other worlds. The Mammoth Book of Explorers recaptures the thrill of the unknown with first-hand accounts of expeditions across all seven continents. In Africa, there is Burton’s search for the source of the Nile. In the Americas, Meriwether Lewis tells how he reunited Sacajawea with her tribe, and Alexander Mackenzie recounts the first overland crossing of the continent by the Canadian fur trader in 1793. At the globe’s top and bottom, Robert Peary and Ernest Shackleton race for the poles. In addition to such triumphs of human endurance, there are the tragedies of Livingstone’s last days in Africa, William John Wills’s lonely death in the Australian outback, and Robert Scott’s tragic final expedition in Antarctica. To round out this Mammoth collection, noted author John Keay has also chosen twentieth-century explorers who have carried on the dauntless tradition, including Hiram Bingham’s account of the discovery of Machu Picchu, Thesiger on Arabia’s Empty Quarter, Edmund Hillary on scaling the summit of Everest, and Harry St. John Bridger Philby on traversing the desert alone.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Forty-two selections penned by the explorers themselves make a fat but engaging compendium. During the golden age of exploration, two centuries ending in 1914, adventurers (almost all European or American) either died in or stumbled back from the world's remote areas to write their accounts and sometimes become celebrities. Half of these accounts are simply strenuous adventures with no pretense of discovery, such as John Cochrane's walk across Russia during the 1820s. A few expeditions were superbly organized and disaster-free (Lewis and Clark's across North America, Amundsen's to the South Pole); a few ended with everyone dead (Scott's in Antarctica, Franklin's in the Arctic); one major discovery may not have happened (Peary's of the North Pole); the majority featured plenty of conflict and misery. Editor and historian Keay (The Great Arc, 2000, etc.) has gathered a collection unmatched in detailing the various ways men can starve, freeze, thirst, and sicken while traveling. All 42 adventurers here could write, and they could suffer; their accounts rarely express regret, but describe both their observations and suffering in fine, literary prose. Nothing new to fans of the genre, but a rich and entertaining miscellany.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786709519
Publisher:
Running Press Book Publishers
Publication date:
01/28/2002
Series:
Mammoth Books
Edition description:
1 CARROLL
Pages:
512
Product dimensions:
5.08(w) x 7.82(h) x 1.30(d)

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