Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Adventures and Adventurers

To Boldly Go...
Books about explorers and adventurers are certainly about discoveries but most include sub-plots featuring intrigue, lessons on leadership, or unimaginable hardship.  Here's a few recommended reads for history and travel enthusiasts.

Henry Hudson's final expedition in the winter of 1610 ended with mutiny, resulting in Hudson, his son, and other crew members being forced off the boat and set adrift in the frigid Hudson Bay.

You have no doubt heard of the British Captain Cook; perhaps not the French Captain, Jean de Surville.  In 1769, both captains set out in search of a missing continent.  Pair this one with Joan Druett's book about Cook's Polynesian navigator, Tupaia.

The Man Who Ate His Boots by Anthony Brandt
Recounts the 19th century British Navy's many futile attempts to find the fabled Northwest Passage.

The Zen brothers explored parts of the New World a century before Columbus and centuries later, ended up at the center of a fraud controversy. The book is due for release in May.

A major bestseller in 2010, Grann's book takes on the story of what happened to British explorer Percy Fawcett in his 1925 quest to find an ancient civilization known as El Dorado.  Reads like a thriller.

Champlain's Dream by David Hackett Fischer
If you have vacationed along the lake in Vermont, New York, or Quebec, you know his name.  But who, exactly, was Champlain?  A soldier, spy, master mariner, explorer, cartographer, artist and all around influential man...

Norway's Roald Amundsen and England's Robert Scott made simultaneous attempts to be the first to reach the South Pole between 1910 and 1912.  You may know their stories but MacPhee's book, complete with diary reproductions and a wealth of photographic detail, adds dimension to their place in history.