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One of the most exciting periods of exploration coincided with the invention of photography. As a result, the most important expeditions over the last 160 years were captured and preserved by incredibly dramatic images. Explorers: The Most Exciting Voyages of Discovery gathers together hundreds of these rare archival photographs plus maps, prints and drawings reproduced on innovative foldout pages. Text includes a short biography of each explorer, the extraordinary stories of their expeditions and passages from their personal journals.
In all, 53 stories are featured. Many are familiar and others less known but deserving of wider recognition. Several women also receive just due for their unequalled bravery and fortitude. Some of the explorers featured are:
- David Livingstone and the missionary road
- Henry Stanley, looking for Livingstone
- Isabella Bird Bishop in China
- Ernest Shackleton in Antarctica
- Timothy O'Sullivan recording the Wild West
- Roald Amundsen, the Northwest Passage and the South Pole
- Gertrude Bell in Iraq
- Maria Reiche in Peru
- Thor Heyerdahl and the Kon
- Tiki raft across the Pacific
- Freya Stark, a solitary female explorer of the Middle East
- Nikolai Mikhailovich Przhevalsky, mapmaker to the czar
- Edmund Hillary atop Mount Everest
- Challenger exploring deep space
- Alexandra David
- Neel in the heart of Tibet
Those interested in history and exploration will find Explorers an engaging addition to their library.
Andrea De Porti was born in Italy and has a background in academic science instruction. He has been an editor of the science magazine Coelum and has collaborated as a writer and editor for Charta magazine.
"This photo- and fact-filled book, in which nearly every page is a generously illustrated double gatefold, lands on the table with an undeniable thud and details 58 expeditions from the past 150 years [...] De Porti, a writer and editor for Charta and art director of Alumina, chose these stories for their "cultural and scientific significance" and combines often-unseen images (readers will find reproductions of pages from travel journals, maps and sketches among the hundreds of archival photos) with explorer biographies and travel narratives. De Porti recounts failed as well as successful expeditions, and it's the former that resonate [...] Though some explorers' intentions were more noble than others (expanding colonial interests played no small role in many expeditions), the creative way these journeys are presented will impress armchair adventurers.
- Publishers Weekly 2005-01-09
"The 53 stories here, De Porti writes, have been selected for their historical and scientific importance and also for their 'sheer fascination.' [...] Readers will be fascinated by these journeys."
- Booklist 2005-10
"If you know someone addicted to the History, Discovery and Travel channels, then this book is just what the doctor ordered. This hefty reference tome chronicles the adventures of 51 explorers on 58 expeditions – many of them successful, others not so much – who dared to go where no one had before. Their exploits are organized chronologically, starting with Burton and Speke's search for the source of the Nile in 1845 and ending with Apollo 13. Each includes a biography and many never-before-seen photos, maps, prints and drawings. About half of the book opens out to four-page gatefolds large enough to display as posters, but you'll probably prefer to keep the book intact so you can revisit it again and again."
- Camille Chin, Doctor's Review 2005-11
"Explorers invites readers to contemplate a time when travel and discovery meant hardship, loneliness, and extreme isolation from the world – with photography available to show it. Thus, the first exploration covered is the 1856 search for the source of the Nile. Cleverly formatted with gatefolds (which open up to create spreads 20" by 22" and larger), the layout allows the stunning photographs to illuminate the "scientific and historical importance" of each journey. De Porti (Charta magazine) accompanies the photos with background information on the explorers and their destinations, along with quotes from primary sources and some maps. In all, 53 quests are covered, ending with the Apollo missions to the moon, 1968-72. One of the more impressive entries is a panoramic photograph of the Caucasus Mountains by Vittorio Sella in 1889."
- Margaret Atwater Singer, University of Evansville Libraries, Indiana Library Journal 2005-10-01
"Imaginatively designed book [...] richly illustrated with historic photographs, maps and pages that fold out into poster-sized formats"
- USA Today 2005-05
"Andrea De Porri has distilled the exploits of more than 50 exciting voyages of discovery into a marvelous book [...] The format is unusual. The book is coffee-table size, and when it is opened flat to see two pages, the life (briefly) of the explorer and the places explored fill both pages. Then the page can be opened upward, to make a page twice the original size, with another explorer covered [...] This wonderful book introduces some of the most famous explorers in a most readable form. I recommend it highly."
- Peter F. Arvedson, Science Books and Film 2013-02-01