The Faber Book of Exploration, edited by Benedict Allen

Great start, the first post I publish is reviewing a book that wasn’t even on my recent list of books I’m reviewing around Christmas. But since it will be a while before I have a chance to start and finish any of them, I thought I had better review something worthwhile, not just the review equivalent to on-hold music that seems to make time pass more slowly.

The Faber Book of Exploration firstly looks nice on your shelf, which is always an immediate  if shallow, plus. My edition (there is another with a painting as the cover) is in a rich golden colour with a beautiful sepia compass photograph off center. The book itself is thick; around two and a half inches wide.

This book somehow describes the fair majority of adventurers and explorers known to man, from the ancient world to the modern, sea to land and mountains to desert (both hot and frozen), each explorer is introduced briefly, then four or so pages are devoted form an extract from either personal writings (be they diary entries or published articles) or an in-depth report of their trip.

It is fair to say that the information on any one explorer is far from comprehensive, however the book, in its own way, gets you to further explore this history. Many less-known adventurers with interesting stories feature in this book, alongside Columbus and other world-famous navigators. The book is also ideal if you would like to look at  exploration during a certain period of time: for the modern era at least, you are sure to find two, three or even four comparative explorers from the same era.

The sources also give accurate and interesting information, which would work well as supplied sources in a project or essay. It’s also the perfect book to bring with you on a holiday both for the sense of adventure it will hopefully invoke in you, but also for it’s ease of reading: you can dip in and out wherever you wish.


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