Monday, October 20, 2008

National Geographic Exploration Experience

The good folks at National Geographic sent me a book that is both interesting and fun: National Geographic Society Exploration Experience: The Heroic Exploits of the World's Greatest Explorers, by Beau Riffenburgh.

At first I thought it would simply be a rehash of all the famous explorers I learned about in school (Columbus, Magellan, Coronado and Champlain) and they are here, but also included are explorers of Australia, Siberia, Africa, Antarctica and the Arctic. But wait! There's more! When I opened this book, I became very excited, like a kid with his first pop-up book.

Not only does each page offer historical and biographical information on each explorer, and the obligatory red, blue and black lines on maps tracing their routes of exploration, but nearly every page also includes an insert. Neatly devised pockets contain reproductions and facsimiles of maps, letters, drawings, treaties, journals and news articles:

Here is an example of the traditional exploration map found in the book. Different colored solid and dotted lines. Exploration of Australia! Now that's a chapter I missed in high school geography class:

Here are two examples of the inserts.

A sketch map drawn by Alexander von Humboldt, of part of the Orinoco River, in what is now Venezuela:

A map of the route taken by the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition through central Africa, redrawn for Henry Stanley after his return:

In addition to rich narrative, beautiful illustrations and intriguing inserts, this book also included a bonus CD-ROM with an additional 35 rare historical maps from the archives of the Royal Geographic Society.

Henry Stanley's 1875 hand drawn pencil sketch of Lake Victoria Nyanza:

A Tibetan picture map of the Mount Everest Range, from 1898, by Laurence Austine Waddell:

I love this book and I haven't even finished reading about all of the explorers... Highly recommended as a holiday gift for that history buff or map lover in your family.

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At Tuesday, October 21, 2008 , Blogger Michael5000 said...

So, they just sent it to you? Because they thought you might like it?

At Wednesday, October 22, 2008 , Blogger Cartophiliac said...

Hey, that's what happens when you become a famous map blogger...

At Wednesday, December 24, 2008 , Anonymous Cathy said...

Thanks for reviewing this! I just bought it for my dad, but I couldn't find a review anywhere and it's in a sealed box, so I've been paranoid that it's too juvenile or simplistic for a history buff. It sounds like you really liked it, which is encouraging.

At Wednesday, December 24, 2008 , Blogger Cartophiliac said...

It's a great gift for the cartophile or history buff in your family.


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