Before the turn of the 19th century, ventures into uncharted lands required material or spiritual reward to justify the perils of shipwreck and hostile natives, and dangers yet unknown. Until recent times exploration for the sake of knowledge alone was rare, and mostly undertaken by intrepid traders, gold seekers and valiant Christian missionaries.
The Book of Exploration elegantly presents more than 150 of the most influential and unusual journeys of discovery, setting each firmly in its historical context. Chronicling the personalities and motivations, the conditions that had to be endured, and the contribution these explorations have made to our knowledge of the world, it is replete with extraordinary personalities: the heroic adventurers who set out into the unknown, battling against the elements in order to commit their findings to journals and maps; the pioneers who risked everything in search of fabled riches; and the explorers who set out to conquer the deserts, poles and oceans of the globe.
Organized simply and chronologically, beautifully illustrated with contemporary maps, paintings, journal entries and other artifacts, and with entertaining asides and sometimes unorthodox interpretations based on the author's lifetime study of the subject, The Book of Exploration is a sumptuous feast for anyone interested in world history and geography.