The Book of Exploration

Front Cover
A chronological tour of the history of exploration in the style of The Map Book, by the world's leading expert.  Before the turn of the 19th century, ventures into uncharted lands required material or spiritual reward to justify the perils of shipwreck and hostile natives, and dangers yet unknown. Until recent times exploration for the sake of knowledge alone was rare, and mostly undertaken by intrepid traders, gold seekers and valiant Christian missionaries.

The Book of Exploration elegantly presents more than 150 of the most influential and unusual journeys of discovery, setting each firmly in its historical context. Chronicling the personalities and motivations, the conditions that had to be endured, and the contribution these explorations have made to our knowledge of the world, it is replete with extraordinary personalities: the heroic adventurers who set out into the unknown, battling against the elements in order to commit their findings to journals and maps; the pioneers who risked everything in search of fabled riches; and the explorers who set out to conquer the deserts, poles and oceans of the globe.

Organized simply and chronologically, beautifully illustrated with contemporary maps, paintings, journal entries and other artifacts, and with entertaining asides and sometimes unorthodox interpretations based on the author's lifetime study of the subject, The Book of Exploration is a sumptuous feast for anyone interested in world history and geography.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Mapguy314 -

One-page summaries of historic exploring expeditions from ancient Egyptian to modern times. Each one includes one or more full page illustration of an artifact or a map. Read full review


BCE Africa Circumnavigated
BCE The Discovery of Britain

19 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Ray Howgego's interest in exploration began as a twelve-year old when he started a collection of travel books that now extends to some four thousand volumes. His imagination fired by the many narratives of travel he had read, he set off twenty-one years ago on a voyage of discovery to retrace some of the myriad routes taken by explorers of the past. Armed with a grasp of most European languages and a passable acquaintance with the many others necessary for far-flung expeditions, he embarked on journeys that have taken him to some of the most remote places on earth. It was an odyssey that culminated in his four-volume Encyclopedia of Exploration--now a standard reverence work throughout the world which in 1200 pages and 1.2 million words details the accomplishments of 7500 travelers; in fact, "every traveler who in some way contributed to the geographical knowledge of our planet.

Bibliographic information