The great ex­plor­ers

Cel­e­brat­ing the trail­blaz­ers who changed the way we see our world

All About History - - REVIEWS -

Ed­i­tor robin han­bury-teni­son Pub­lisher Thames & hud­son Price £10 Re­leased Out now

For all hu­mankind’s cu­rios­ity, there have al­ways been some among us pos­sess­ing a par­tic­u­lar strength of char­ac­ter will­ing them on to go that ex­tra mile. Through cen­turies ex­plor­ers have tra­versed frozen land­scapes, deserts, moun­tains and jun­gles to place an­other piece of the jig­saw link­ing up the known world.

From con­quis­ta­dors and schol­ars to artists and cap­tains, hu­mans have long been test­ing the lim­its of their en­durance, so tells The Great Ex­plor­ers – a col­lec­tion of es­says edited by ex­plorer, au­thor and con­ser­va­tion­ist Robin Han­bury-teni­son which delves into the lives of “40 of the great­est men and women who changed our per­cep­tion of the world”.

Ef­fec­tively or­gan­ised into seven the­matic sec­tions – in­clud­ing the oceans, po­lar ice and new fron­tiers – the mini bi­ogra­phies cel­e­brate famed ex­plor­ers such as Christo­pher Colum­bus, James Cook, Lewis and Clark, and Roald Amund­sen, as well as more ob­scure names like Nain Singh (first man to sur­vey Ti­bet), James Bruce (dis­cov­ered the source of the Blue Nile), and Alexan­der Macken­zie (first east to west cross­ing of North Amer­ica).

The scope of achieve­ments is im­pres­sive, as is the di­ver­sity of the fig­ures who fea­ture. Mid­dle East­ern ex­plorer, ar­chae­ol­o­gist and poet Gertrude Bell is de­servedly in­cluded, as is Vic­to­rian nat­u­ral­ist and botan­i­cal artist Mar­i­anne North.

The Great Ex­plor­ers is a con­cise yet il­lu­mi­nat­ing book bring­ing to­gether some of his­tory’s most fas­ci­nat­ing ad­ven­tur­ers in all their com­plex­i­ties. Ca­sual read­ers should en­joy dis­cov­er­ing new in­sights into these ages of dis­cov­ery, while en­thu­si­asts eager to build their knowl­edge will find the col­lec­tion to be an en­gag­ing foun­da­tion. In­spir­ing, En­ter­tain­ing, En­light­en­ing BW

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