In 1856, two intrepid adventurers, Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke, set off to unravel a geographical unknown: the location of the Nile River s source. Read more...
In 1856, two intrepid adventurers, Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke, set off to unravel a geographical unknown: the location of the Nile River s source. They traveled deep into a forbidding and uncharted African wilderness together before arriving at two different solutions to the mystery and parting ways as sworn enemies. The feud became an international sensation upon their return to England, and a public debate was scheduled to decide whose theory was correct. What followed was a massive spectacle with an outcome no one could have ever foreseen.
In "The Explorers," "New York Times" bestselling author Martin Dugard tells the rich saga of the Burton and Speke expedition. To better understand their motivations and ultimate success, Dugard guides readers through the seven vital traits that Burton and Speke, as well as history s most legendary explorers, called upon to see their impossible journeys through to the end: curiosity, hope, passion, courage, independence, self-discipline, and perseverance. In doing so, Dugard demonstrates that we are all explorers and that these traits have a most practical application in everyday life.
Within some of us beats the heart of a mountain climber; within others, that of a budding entrepreneur. Just like the explorers, life will present us with great unknowns: the diagnosis of cancer, the call to help a troubled friend, the need to move forward after great tragedy. As professionals we will attempt to chart paths that have never been mapped. And however modest our lives may appear on the outside, there will be times requiring the same deep moral decisions and complex tactical judgments explorers faced in strange lands, thousands of miles from home.
"The Explorers" is a book about courage and survival. It is also a book about stepping into the darkness with confidence and grace, aware on some profound level as were Burton and Speke that the Promised Land we are searching for is not some lost corner of the world, but a place within ourselves."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-03-31
- Reviewer: Staff
Dugard (The Training Ground) uses Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke’s quest to find the Nile’s source as a framing device to craft a fascinating examination of the seven key traits of history’s most famous explorers. Curiosity, hope, passion, courage, independence, self-discipline, and perseverance, Dugard says, are crucial traits explorers must possess in order to achieve their goals: “Take away one... and an expedition was doomed to failure.” He expands on this premise with examples of explorers who embodied (or lacked) those traits including Edmund Hillary’s exploration of Everest, Columbus’s quest for a new path to Asia, and Robert Falcon Scott’s trek to the South Pole. Detailed accounts of vicious attacks (including cannibalism), blindness from extreme exposure, and the constant threat of severe illness demonstrate the pitfalls many explorers encountered. Even when they did reach their goal, it rarely resulted in material wealth—Columbus, for example, was “considered a failure in his day.” The ultimate prize was immortality. In lesser hands, this exercise could come off as pedantic or pedestrian, but Dugard’s infusions of insight and enthusiasm carry the reader and drive his points home. Agent: Eric Simonoff, William Morris Endeavor. (June)