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Sea Cows, Shamans, and Scurvy: Alaska's First Naturalist: Georg Wilhelm Steller

Biography / Memoir

By: Ann Arnold

227 pages, B/w illus

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Hardback | Oct 2008 | #182147 | ISBN-13: 9780374399474
Availability: Usually dispatched within 7 days Details
NHBS Price: £19.50 $25/€22 approx

About this book

On June 4, 1741, Georg Wilhelm Steller set sail from Avacha Bay in Siberia on the ship St. Peter, under the command of Vitus Bering. The crew was bound for America on the last leg of an expedition whose mission was to explore, describe and map Russia's vast lands from the Ural Mountains across Siberia to the Kamchatka Peninsula, and possibly lay claim to the northwest coast of America - if they could find it, for no European had ever reached America by this route.

Officially, Steller was the ship's mineralogist, but in practice he was its doctor, minister and naturalist as well. Appointed to the expedition in 1737 by the Academy of Science in St. Petersburg, he was sworn to secrecy concerning any discoveries. Making judicious use of Steller's richly detailed journals and liberal use of illustrations and maps, the author allows the reader to join Steller on this voyage and its final dangerous mission, which left half the crew dead and the rest suffering from scurvy.

This is a detailed and lavishly illustrated biography of Georg William Steller, Alaska's first naturalist. --"Kliatt "

"When Steller finds his passion, the book does so as well, revealing much about early exploration, scientific study, and the hierarchy of command." --"The Horn Book
""This biography appears to be very extensively researched and overflows with historical details." --"Booklist"

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