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Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842
Nathaniel Philbrick
0641681348

Paperback
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The River of Doubt
Candice Millard
0385507968
Oct 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
In a gripping account, Millard focuses on an episode in Teddy Roosevelt's search for adventure that nearly came to a disastrous end. A year after Roosevelt lost a third-party bid for the White House in 1912, he decided to chase away his blues by accepting an invitation for a South American trip that quickly evolved into an ill-prepared journey down an unexplored tributary of the Amazon known as the River of Doubt. The small group, including T.R.'s son Kermit, was hampered by the failure to pack enough supplies and the absence of canoes sturdy enough for the river's rapids. An injury Roosevelt sustained became infected with flesh-eating bacteria and left the ex-president so weak that, at his lowest moment, he told Kermit to leave him to die in the rainforest. Millard, a former staff writer for National Geographic, nails the...



The Last Voyage of Columbus: Being the Epic Tale of the Great Captain's Fourth Expedition, Including Accounts of Swordfight, Mutiny, Shipwreck, Gold, War, Hurricane, and Discovery
Martin Dugard
0316828831
June 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
"For a guy who's been dead five centuries," says Dugard, "Columbus was very much a physical presence as I wrote this book." The author's Columbus—who engages in swashbuckling deeds of derring-do as he explores the Caribbean and Central America in his fourth and final voyage (1502–1504)—is a guy's guy. Spurning views of Columbus as a harbinger of genocide, Dugard (Into Africa, etc.) senses virile, visionary boldness, a man "fuelled by focus and challenge." Unsullied by too much modern scholarship, this book is at heart a recasting of Washington Irving and Samuel Eliot Morison updated to appeal to readers of GQ and Sports Illustrated (for which Dugard has written). His is a sexy tale: Columbus flirts with the (much romanticized) queen Isabella; nautical mapmaking is "one of the world's sexiest new...


1421
Gavin Menzies
006054094X
Jan 2004
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
A former submarine commander in Britain's Royal Navy, Menzies must enjoy doing battle. The amateur historian's lightly footnoted, heavily speculative re-creation of little-known voyages made by Chinese ships in the early 1400s goes far beyond what most experts in and outside of China are willing to assert and will surely set tongues wagging. According to Menzies's brazen but dull account of the Middle Kingdom's exploits at sea, Magellan, Dias, da Gama, Cabral and Cook only "discovered" lands the Chinese had already visited, and they sailed with maps drawn from Chinese charts. Menzies alleges that the Chinese not only discovered America, but also established colonies here long before Columbus set out to sea. Because China burned the records of its historic expeditions led by Zheng He, the famed eunuch admiral and...


Blue Latitudes
Tony Horwitz
0312422601
Aug 2003
Bargain - Paperback
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Book Review
Captain James Cook's three epic 18th-century explorations of the Pacific Ocean were the last of their kind, literally completing the map of the world. Yet despite his monumental discoveries, principally in the South Pacific, Cook the man has remained an enigma. In retracing key legs of the circumnavigator's journey, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz chronicles the cultural and environmental havoc wrought by the captain's opening of the unspoiled Pacific to the West, as well as the alternately indifferent and passionate reactions Cook's name evokes during the writer's journeys through Polynesia, Australia, the Aleutians, and the explorer's native England. Horwitz skillfully weaves a biography and travel narrative with warm humor that is natural and human-scale, and his restless inquisitiveness quickly...


The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
Caroline Alexander
0375404031
November 1998
Hardcover
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Book Review
Melding superb research and the extraordinary expedition photography of Frank Hurley, The Endurance by Caroline Alexander is a stunning work of history, adventure, and art which chronicles "one of the greatest epics of survival in the annals of exploration." Setting sail as World War I broke out in Europe, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, led by renowned polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, hoped to become the first to cross the Antarctic continent. But their ship, Endurance, was trapped in the drifting pack ice, eventually to splinter, leaving the expedition stranded on floes--a situation that seemed "not merely desperate but impossible."

Most skillfully Alexander constructs the expedition's character through its personalities--the cast of veteran explorers, scientists, and crew--with aid from many previously...



Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842
Nathaniel Philbrick
0641679181

Hardcover
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They Came Before Columbus
Sertima Ivan Van
0812968174
Sept 2003
Paperback
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Book Review
This controversial book by Ivan Van Sertima, the Guyanese historian, linguist, and anthropologist, claims that Africans had been to the New World centuries before Columbus arrived there in 1492. Citing--among other things--the huge Negroid-looking Olmec heads of Central Mexico and the similarities between the Aztec and Egyptian calendars and pyramid structures, Van Sertima pieces together a hidden history of pre-Columbian contact between Africans and Native Americans. He also puts forth the possibility that Columbus may have already known about a route to the Americas from his years in Africa as a trader in Guinea. The ideas in this book have been debated and discussed since its first publication in 1976; even those who choose not to believe Van Sertima's theories should take his argument seriously. --Eugene Holley, Jr. ...


Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
Alfred Lansing
078670621X
April 1999
Paperback
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Book Review
In the summer of 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set off aboard the Endurance bound for the South Atlantic. The goal of his expedition was to cross the Antarctic overland, but more than a year later, and still half a continent away from the intended base, the Endurance was trapped in ice and eventually was crushed. For five months Shackleton and his crew survived on drifting ice packs in one of the most savage regions of the world before they were finally able to set sail again in one of the ship's lifeboats. Alfred Lansing's Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage is a white-knuckle account of this astounding odyssey. Through the diaries of team members and interviews with survivors, Lansing reconstructs the months of terror and hardship the Endurance crew suffered. In October of 1915, there "were no...


The Darkest Jungle: The True Story of the Darien Expedition and America's Ill-Fated Race to Connect the Seas
Todd Balf
064168620X

Hardcover
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The Mapmaker's Wife
Robert Whitaker
0385337205
Dec 2004
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
As was customary for girls from elite families in 18th-century colonial Peru, Isabel Gramesón was barely a teenager when she married Jean Godin, a Frenchman visiting the territory as an assistant on a scientific expedition. Planning to bring his wife back to France, Godin trekked across South America to check in with the French colonial authorities, but was refused permission to return up the Amazon back into Spanish territory to retrieve Isabel. So they remained a continent apart for 20 years until 1769, when Isabel started making her way east. Her party ran aground on the Bobonaza River (which feeds into the Amazon), and though almost everyone perished, she managed to survive alone in the rainforest for weeks. Although science journalist Whitaker doesn't directly refer to his own modern trek following...


Endurance
Alfred Lansing
0842308245
April 1999
Paperback
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Leading at the Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition
Dennis N. Perkins
0814405436
January 2000
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Although their experiences may sometimes seem torturous, most managers aren't facing dangerous or life-threatening conditions. Even so, argues consultant Perkins, they would do well to learn from both triumphant and failed expeditions. A former Marine lieutenant, Perkins introduces 10 key concepts he believes are essential to productive leadership with lively anecdotes from the adverse but ultimately successful expedition to the South Pole led by Ernest Shackleton in 1914 (his entire crew survived on the ice with almost no supplies or hope for rescue after their ship drifted off course and was crushed), which he contrasts with a disastrous Canadian expedition launched at almost the same time. Among the principles in the book's first half: "Minimize status differences and insist on courtesy and mutual respect";...


The Last Expedition
Charles Pearson
0393059030
July 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
In this engrossing chronicle of a noble rescue mission turned sour, the monstrosities come as often from its central character as they do from the forests of Equatoria that he and his officers explored. Henry Morton Stanley (1841–1904) was "an unwanted bastard" who became arguably the Victorian era's greatest explorer. Liebowitz, a retired physician, and TV documentary writer Pearson reason convincingly that the shame of Stanley's Dickensian childhood gave rise to his hunger for glory and his nonexistent empathy: almost prerequisites for the 1886–1889 mission (to rescue the governor of Equatoria, now the southern part of Sudan) that was the pretext for Stanley's expedition. The authors move to great effect between the record of events in Stanley's journal and those of his officers. The book becomes...


Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842
Nathaniel Philbrick
0142004839
October 2004
Paperback
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Book Review
The expeditions of Magellan, Columbus, and Lewis and Clark have been well documented and are instantly familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in world history. But the average person is likely unaware of the U.S. Exploring Expedition or its mercurial leader, Charles Wilkes. This despite the numerous accomplishments and lasting legacy of the massive four-year project that involved six ships and hundreds of men. The "Ex. Ex.," as it came to be known, is credited with the discovery of Antarctica, the first accurate charting of what is now Oregon and Washington, the retrieval of thousands of new species of life, and the foundation of the Smithsonian Institution. Yet when Wilkes returned, instead of being hailed as a great man of science or a national hero, he was shunned by the President, ignored by the press, and was...


Off the Map
Fergus Fleming
0871138999
Sept 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
No activity embraces risk like exploration. Success means glory and wealth; failure most likely entails an undocumented demise thousands of miles from home. This sturdy work recounts the memorable circumstances of history's greatest journeys of discovery. Former Time-Life Books editor Fleming (Killing Dragons) has mastered the craft of imparting huge swaths of information in an accessible way. Thematically(and sensibly) divided into three sections covering "Reconnaissance," "Inquiry" and "Endeavour," the book's 45 accounts lie at the intersection of individual obsessiveness and collective, often imperial, ambition. Whether elaborating on von Humboldt's accidental exploitation of guano (bird manure fertilizer), Henry Hudson's encounter with a mermaid or the French search for a Saharan field of emeralds, Fleming's...


Lewis and Clark on the Trail of Discovery
Rod Gragg
1401600751
June 2003
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
The most distinctive features of this coffee-table "Museum in a Book" are the lavish illustrations and accouterments. Color paintings depict tableaux from watershed moments in the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the author attaches many removable facsimile reproductions of original documents associated with it. Copied on faux tattered parchment, these include journal entries and letters by Lewis and Clark, an encryption scheme devised by Jefferson, inventories and payrolls, hand-drawn maps, sketches of wildlife and a drawing of an Indian head-flattening device. These intriguing items are accompanied by a slender, boosterish narrative. Historian Gragg, author of Confederate Goliath: The Battle for Fort Fisher, salutes the leadership skills of Lewis and Clark, extols the scenery, nods respectfully to the Indian...


Lewis and Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President (Step into Reading Series)
Shirley-Raye Raye Redmond
0375811206
May 2003
Paperback
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From Booklist
Gr. 1-3. The history is handled with a light touch in this Step into Reading title about the American West, and Manders' colorful cartoon-style art is a perfect match for the storytelling. President Jefferson asks Lewis and Clark to go west, and "make maps, and explore rivers . . . collect plants and draw wild animals . . . send presents." Comic scenes show the explorers trying to catch buffalo and grizzly bears to send to the president, but they settle on the cute, little, wild dog, which scouts take back to Jefferson together with a huge load of plants, skins, and animals. Other than Sacagawea, who is a big help ("she talked and traded with the Indians they met on the way"), there's no mention of the native peoples the explorers encountered, but this lively history will make new readers want to know more. Hazel...

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