The Great Explorers

The Great Explorers

  1. Edited by Robin Hanbury-Tenison
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  • ISBN 9780500251690
  • 24.60 x 18.60 cm
  • Hardback
  • 304pp
  • With 204 illustrations
  • First published 2010
‘A monumental tome that’s a genuine contribution to modern thinking about the nature of exploration … the essays are first class … nigh-on perfect’ – Bookdealer
‘Exceptional … superb illustrations add a revealing dimension to the literary narrative’ – Christopher Ondaatje, Country Life
‘Beautifully illustrated’ – Geographical Reviews
‘… absorbing, factually tight, sensitive to its Eurocentricity, it gathers together a host of valuable essays’ – Benedict Allen, The Guardian

Certain people have always been inspired to explore the limits of the known world and beyond, changing our perception of our surroundings through their courageous adventures, and revealing the planet to us.

What drove such great explorers on? 40 of the greatest are described here in penetrating biographies – their lives, motives and passions. Many of them recounted their journeys themselves in vivid first-hand accounts; others were superb artists and photographers.

The book is illustrated with more than 200 beautiful paintings, photographs, engravings and maps, as well as quotations, so we can experience the adventures through the explorers' own eyes and in their own words.

• Victorian artist and explorer Marianne North only began her voyages at the age of 40
• Francis Garnier went to extreme lengths and near insanity to follow the course of the Mekong river
• Edward Wilson twice travelled with Scott to reach the South Pole, dying with him after they were beaten to their goal by Amundsen
• Nain Singh walked huge distances to map the forbidden land of Tibet, counting every pace
• Yuri Gagarin took perhaps the greatest leap into uncharted territory in his tiny space capsule.

Written by an international team of distinguished travel writers, broadcasters and historians, the book opens 500 years ago, when the great era of recorded exploration began while sections look at The Land, Rivers, Polar Ice, Deserts, Life on Earth and New Frontiers.

Robin Hanbury-Tenison is a well-known explorer, author, film-maker, conservationist and campaigner. Named by the Sunday Times in 1982 as ‘the greatest explorer of the past 20 years’ and in 1991 as one of the 1,000 ‘Makers of the 20th Century’, he has been on over 30 expeditions. He has been Vice-President and Gold Medallist of the Royal Geographical Society. He has made several films of his expeditions and written many books. He was the editor of The Oxford Book of Exploration.