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The Ottoman Age of Exploration
by Giancarlo Casale

Recent Reads

An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackleton, and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science

by Edward J. Larson

This book is an excellent (and sorely needed) overview of the Historic Age of Antarctic Exploration from a scientific perspective. So many books on this period of Antarctic exploration focus on the “race to the pole,” and in doing so, overlook the many scientific achievements of expeditions led by Robert Falcon Scott, James Clark Maxwell, Ernest Shackleton, and others. This book helps to fill that gap, and it does so in a very intelligent and comprehensive manner. If you are interested in learning about the important scientific achievements that occurred during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, I highly recommend this book!

Humboldt’s Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Latin Amerin Journey that Changed the Way We See the World

by Gerard Helferich

I really enjoyed this biography of the great 19th Century German explorer of the Americas. Humboldt was one of the first scientists to describe the flora, fauna, and physical environment of the Americas, and his works helped launch the environmental movement that lasts to this day. I have wanted to do a podcast on Humboldt since launching Explorers Podcast; I just am trying to figure out how to condense his important life down to an hour or so (the same challenge I’m facing with Robert Falcon Scott)! A highly recommended read!

King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa

by Adam Hochschild

This book is a masterpiece. This is the best history I’ve read about King Leopold’s attempt to “colonize” the Congo. But, it’s much more than an account of the Belgian King’s murderous attempt to colonize an Arican region; it’s an overview of the horrible atrocities committed by several “civilized” nations in Africa during the 19th century and 20th century. This is a tremendously important book. It is easy to read in the sense that it is well written. It is terribly difficult to read because it about brutal crimes against humanity.

The Darkest Jungle: The True Story of the Darien Expedition and America’s Ill-fated Race to Connect the Seas

by Todd Balf

This is a gripping account of the United States Navy Darien Exploring Expedition of 1854. The expedition was led by Lieutenant Isaac Strain, and the goal was to find an Atlantic to Pacific canal route through the densely jungled Isthmus of Darien in Panama, a region known as the “Darien Gap.” The journey was a brutally horrific experience for the entire expedition team. It wasn’t until 60 years later, with the completion of the Panama Canal, that there would be a true passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in Central America. Highly recommended!

Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories

by Simon Winchester

This is a very thorough account of the physical and cultural history of the Atlantic Ocean. Lots of interesting information, and the research done by Simon Winchester to write the book must have been a herculean effort, as it spans many disciplines (e.g., geology, hydrology, biology, human exploration, human history, and cultural history).

Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu

by Laurence Bergreen

This is one of the most enjoyable and readable books I’ve read on Marco Polo. It is also accurate, which is a problem with some books on Marco Polo. It’s more than just a biography of Marco Polo; Bergreen does a great job describing the Silk Road, the Mogol Empire (e.g, Genhis Khan, Kublai Khan), how weather affected the Mongols’ attempt to conquer Japan, and life in Europe and Asia during the 13th century. This is another book that I didn’t want to end. Highly recommended, and lots of fun!!!

Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842

by Nathaniel Philbrick

I loved this book and didn’t want it to end. Philbrick has written a gripping account of a major 19th Century American voyage to South America, Antarctica, Figi, and the Pacific Northwest. Nathaniel Philbrick is a great writer!

The Lost Lady of the Amazon: The Story of Isabela Godin and Her Epic Journey

by Anthony Smith

What a Courageous Explorer!

Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone

by Martin Dugard

This is a great book!!!

Annapurna: The First Conquest of an 8,000 Meter Peak

by Maurice Herzog

“The most influential mountaineering book of all time.”
National Geographic Adventure
“Those who have never seen the Himalayas, those who never care to risk an assault, will know when they finish this book that they have been a companion of greatness.”
New York Times Book Review

“Before Everest, there was Annapurna. Frenchman Herzog led the first summitting of an 8,000-meter peak, dictating his story because he had lost all his fingers to frostbite.”

Sports Illustrated

“While the ascent is thrilling enough, the harrowing descent . . . truly boggles the mind.” The Week

Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place On Earth

by James M. Tabor

To listen to a presentation by Bill Stone,

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This was the gripping story about Bill Stone and Alexander Klimchouk, extraordinary explorers and super cavers. This book was GREAT! Way to go James Tabor!!