Explorers reviewed

Explorers; great tales of adventure & endurance.

Penguin, London, 2010. Hardback, 360 pp. £25.00 rrp. ISBN 13: 9781405346900 ISBN 10: 1405346906

With a foreword by seasoned explorer Ranulph Fiennes and an introduction by global traveller Michael Palin, this history of world exploration in bound to find a wide readership. At first glance, the size and format of Explorers makes it look like a coffee table book for armchair travelers. A quick flick through will soon dispel that misapprehension. This is densely packed with factual information, covering lesser known global explorers, the early contribution of Arab and Chinese seafarers and key aspects of global travel during its early stages.

The quality of visual material is stunning, and is enhanced by themes that run through Explorers such as the exploration route maps and portraits that feature in every entry. This is a book to get you hooked; a huge, extended introduction to people who opened the door on distant places. Though evidently written and produced with great care, Explorers does not pander to arcane scholarship. You reach the notes in the rear dust cover after working your way right through the book from the first to leave Africa, to the first to leave planet Earth. And in these notes you get a picture of what the Royal Geographic Society, author of Explorers, does: it promotes education and the enjoyment of geography through fieldwork and scientific expeditions. A book by the people who do, about the people who did. Inspiring.

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