From the best-selling author of Stanley, a riveting account of the explorers who risked everything in their search for the source of the Nile
Nothing obsessed explorers of the mid-nineteenth century more than the quest to discover the source of the White Nile. It was the planet's most elusive secret, the prize coveted above all others. Between 1856 and 1876, six larger-than-life men and one extraordinary woman accepted the challenge. Showing extreme courage and resilience, Richard Burton, John Hanning Speke, James Augustus Grant, Samuel Baker, Florence von Sass, David Livingstone, and Henry Morton Stanley risked their lives and reputations in the fierce competition. Award-winning author Tim Jeal deploys fascinating new research to provide a vivid tableau of the unmapped "Dark Continent," its jungle deprivations, and the courage--as well as malicious tactics--of the explorers.
On multiple forays launched into east and central Africa, the travelers passed through almost impenetrable terrain and suffered the ravages of flesh-eating ulcers, paralysis, malaria, deep spear wounds, and even death. They discovered Lakes Tanganyika and Victoria and became the first white people to encounter the kingdoms of Buganda and Bunyoro. Jeal weaves the story with authentic new detail and examines the tragic unintended legacy of the Nile search that still casts a long shadow over the people of Uganda and Sudan.
"A thrilling and harrowing story. If it's a cliche to say I couldn't put this book down, well, too bad: I couldn't put this book down." --Jess Walter, bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins
"Polar exploration is utter madness. It is the insistence of life where life shouldn't exist. And so, Labyrinth of Ice shows you exactly what happens when the unstoppable meets the unmovable. Buddy Levy outdoes himself here. The details and story are magnificent." --Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington
Based on the author's exhaustive research, the incredible true story of the Greely Expedition, one of the most harrowing adventures in the annals of polar exploration.
In July 1881, Lt. A.W. Greely and his crew of 24 scientists and explorers were bound for the last region unmarked on global maps. Their goal: Farthest North. What would follow was one of the most extraordinary and terrible voyages ever made.
Greely and his men confronted every possible challenge--vicious wolves, sub-zero temperatures, and months of total darkness--as they set about exploring one of the most remote, unrelenting environments on the planet. In May 1882, they broke the 300-year-old record, and returned to camp to eagerly await the resupply ship scheduled to return at the end of the year. Only nothing came.
250 miles south, a wall of ice prevented any rescue from reaching them. Provisions thinned and a second winter descended. Back home, Greely's wife worked tirelessly against government resistance to rally a rescue mission.
Months passed, and Greely made a drastic choice: he and his men loaded the remaining provisions and tools onto their five small boats, and pushed off into the treacherous waters. After just two weeks, dangerous floes surrounded them. Now new dangers awaited: insanity, threats of mutiny, and cannibalism. As food dwindled and the men weakened, Greely's expedition clung desperately to life.
Labyrinth of Ice tells the true story of the heroic lives and deaths of these voyagers hell-bent on fame and fortune--at any cost--and how their journey changed the world.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the South Pole was the most coveted prize in the fiercely nationalistic modern age of exploration. In the brilliant dual biography, the award-winning writer Roland Huntford re-examines every detail of the great race to the South Pole between Britain's Robert Scott and Norway's Roald Amundsen. Scott, who dies along with four of his men only eleven miles from his next cache of supplies, became Britain's beloved failure, while Amundsen, who not only beat Scott to the Pole but returned alive, was largely forgotten. This account of their race is a gripping, highly readable history that captures the driving ambitions of the era and the complex, often deeply flawed men who were charged with carrying them out. THE LAST PLACE ON EARTH is the first of Huntford's masterly trilogy of polar biographies. It is also the only work on the subject in the English language based on the original Norwegian sources, to which Huntford returned to revise and update this edition.
In an exhilarating tale of historic adventure, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Confederates in the Attic retraces the voyages of Captain James Cook, the Yorkshire farm boy who drew the map of the modern world
Captain James Cook's three epic journeys in the 18th century were the last great voyages of discovery. His ships sailed 150,000 miles, from the Artic to the Antarctic, from Tasmania to Oregon, from Easter Island to Siberia. When Cook set off for the Pacific in 1768, a third of the globe remained blank. By the time he died in Hawaii in 1779, the map of the world was substantially complete.
Tony Horwitz vividly recounts Cook's voyages and the exotic scenes the captain encountered: tropical orgies, taboo rituals, cannibal feasts, human sacrifice. He also relives Cook's adventures by following in the captain's wake to places such as Tahiti, Savage Island, and the Great Barrier Reef to discover Cook's embattled legacy in the present day. Signing on as a working crewman aboard a replica of Cook's vessel, Horwitz experiences the thrill and terror of sailing a tall ship. He also explores Cook the man: an impoverished farmboy who broke through the barriers of his class and time to become the greatest navigator in British history.
By turns harrowing and hilarious, insightful and entertaining, BLUE LATITUDES brings to life a man whose voyages helped create the 'global village' we know today.
David Roberts has spent his career documenting voyages to the most extreme landscapes on earth. In Limits of the Known, he reflects on humanity's--and his own--relationship to exploration and extreme risk. Part memoir and part history, this book tries to make sense of why so many have committed their lives to the desperate pursuit of adventure. What compelled Eric Shipton to return, five times, to the ridges of Mt. Everest, plotting the mountain's most treacherous territory years before Hillary and Tenzing's famous ascent? What drove Bill Stone to dive 3,000 feet underground into North America's deepest cave? And what is the future of adventure in a world we have mapped and trodden from end to end? In the wake of his diagnosis with throat cancer, Roberts seeks answers with new urgency and "penetrating self-analysis" (Booklist).
On March 8, 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen set sail from China to "proceed all the way to the ends of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas." When the fleet returned home in October 1423, the emperor had fallen, leaving China in political and economic chaos. The great ships were left to rot at their moorings and the records of their journeys were destroyed. Lost in the long, self-imposed isolation that followed was the knowledge that Chinese ships had reached America seventy years before Columbus and had circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan. And they colonized America before the Europeans, transplanting the principal economic crops that have since fed and clothed the world.
"Beyond terrific. I didn't want it to end." --Bill Bryson
Driven by a passion for travel and history and a love of ships and the sea, former Monty Python stalwart and beloved television globe-trotter Michael Palin explores the world of HMS Erebus, last seen on an ill-fated voyage to chart the Northwest Passage.
Michael Palin brings the fascinating story of the Erebus and its occupants to life, from its construction as a bomb vessel in 1826 through the flagship years of James Clark Ross's Antarctic expedition and finally to Sir John Franklin's quest for the holy grail of navigation--a route through the Northwest Passage, where the ship disappeared into the depths of the sea for more than 150 years. It was rediscovered under the arctic waters in 2014.
Palin travels across the world--from Tasmania to the Falkland Islands and the Canadian Arctic--to offer a firsthand account of the terrain and conditions that would have confronted the Erebus and her doomed final crew. Delving into the research, he describes the intertwined careers of the two men who shared the ship's journeys: Ross, the organizational genius who mapped much of the Antarctic coastline and oversaw some of the earliest scientific experiments to be conducted there; and Franklin, who, at the age of sixty and after a checkered career, commanded the ship on its last disastrous venture. Expertly researched and illustrated with maps, photographs, paintings, and engravings, Erebus is an evocative account of two journeys: one successful and forgotten, the other tragic yet unforgettable.