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The Faber Book of Exploration - Benedict Allen (book cover)

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The Faber Book of Exploration (2002)

In his anthology of exploration, something of a treasure-trove, Benedict argues that as well as the traditional view of an explorer (pith-helmeted and largely belonging to a bi-gone age), we must acknowledge all those who are pushing frontiers. Thus in addition to the usual names - Drake, Scott, Frobisher, Stanley etc - explorers of the mind, like Freud, or of our physical composition, geneticists like Watson, are discussed and often quoted. The only anthology of explorers by someone with experience of surviving all the great hostile environments.

Recommended for: travellers and armchair travellers alike. A huge and authoritative collection, compiled over more than ten years, of favorite and little known excerpts from explorers' tales. A suitable gift, especially in hardback.

Benedict's comment: I'm very proud of this book – which almost did me in, it was such an effort to compile. I placed the explorers side by side, through the ages, within certain habitats. So in the Forest section, we see missionaries, conquistadores and anthologists side by side with their differing agendas. And so on, through different habitats – seas, mountains, plains, the cold deserts... Sometimes the habitats work to change the explorer in question, other times the habitat itself is changed.

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