Exploration: Your Recommendations Needed

As some of you may know, I am an absolute sucker for Arctic and Antarctic literature. However, I’ve been feeling the urge lately to read about other kinds of exploration. The source of the Nile! Opening the pyramids! South American sites! Tibet! Marco Polo! Anything will do as long as it has that taste of adventure. I generally love 19th-century explorers, since they were usually spies as well, but I’m wide open to anything before or after; I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read by Peter Hopkirk.

Now, given those sorts of ideas, do you have any recommendations for history books on exploration and discovery? All suggestions gratefully accepted…

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6 Responses to Exploration: Your Recommendations Needed

  1. Teresa says:

    Funny you should ask about this right when I finished The Bounty because I was wondering if you’d read The Endurance, Caroline Alexander’s book about Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition. I don’t read a lot of this kind of thing, but I enjoyed The Bounty very much.

  2. Stefanie says:

    It’s not exactly exploration, but In the Heart of the Sea: the Wreck of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick is quite an adventure.

  3. Do you knew “Letters from High Latitudes” by Lord Dufferin? Lord Dufferin (who later became Governor General of Canada ad Viceroy of India) was an Irish nobleman who in 1856 went sailing in a small schooner to Iceland, Jan Mayen and Spitsbergen. He wrote a very readable account of his trip that was highly popular in its time.
    If you liked Peter Hopkirk I can also recommend Peter Fleming’s “News from Tartary”. He and a female companion traveled through the Takla Makan desert of Western China in the 1930s, when this was still a highly adventurous venture.
    Or how about “An African in Greenland” by Tete-Michel Kpomassie, the charming and eye-opening account of a young man from Togo (in Africa) who went to stay with the indigenous people of Greenland for some time (in the 1960s if I rememeber correctly).

  4. EnriqueFreeque (lt.com) says:

    Hi Teresa,

    I started your review of The Sister over at LibraryThing and finished it here. Well done! It’s on LTs front page hot reviews in case you hadn’t noticed.

    Regarding wanting recommendations for an adventure story set in Tibet, have you considered James Hilton’s, Lost Horizon? I read it last month and was wow’d. There’s mystery, adventure, philosophy, religion, all set at an isolated Tibetan monastery, the plot wrapped up tidily though complexly/creatively, in under 300 pages.

  5. Sarah says:

    I’d recommend “Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay” and “Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson” by Watkin Tench. It’s a wonderfully entertaining account by an English marine who was part of the First Fleet in 1788 i.e first European settlement in Australia.

  6. Jenny says:

    Thank you to everyone for your suggestions! I will be looking all of these up in the new year, and I look forward to learning more about everything from the Arctic to the Antipodes…

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