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Month: July 2014

Canyons of the Colorado

Canyons of the Colorado by John Wesley Powell

Canyons of the Colorado by John Wesley Powell

John Wesley Powell was a pioneer American explorer, ethnologist, and geologist in the 19th Century. In 1869 he set out to explore the Colorado and the Grand Canyon. He gathered nine men, four boats and food for ten months and set out from Green River, Wyoming, on May 24. Passing through dangerous rapids, the group passed down the Green River to its confluence with the Colorado River (then also known as the Grand River upriver from the junction), near present-day Moab, Utah.

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Where Angels Fear to Tread

Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster

Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster

On a journey to Tuscany with her young friend and traveling companion Caroline Abbott, widowed Lilia Herriton falls in love with both Italy and a handsome Italian much younger than herself, and decides to stay. Furious, her dead husband’s family send Lilia’s brother-in-law to Italy to prevent a misalliance, but he arrives too late. Lilia marries the Italian and in due course becomes pregnant again. When she dies giving birth to her child, the Herritons consider it both their right and their duty to travel to Monteriano to obtain custody of the infant so that he can be raised as an Englishman.

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South! Shackleton’s Last Expedition

South! Shackleton's Last Expedition by Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton

South! Shackleton's Last Expedition by Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton

Shackleton’s most famous expedition was planned to be an attempt to cross Antarctica from the Weddell Sea south of the Atlantic, to the Ross Sea south of the Pacific, by way of the Pole. It set out from London on 1 August 1914, and reached the Weddell Sea on January 10, 1915, where the pack ice closed in on the Endurance. The ship was broken by the ice on 27 October 1915. The 28 crew members managed to flee to Elephant Island, bringing three small boats with them. Shackleton and five other men managed to reach the southern coast of South Georgia in one of the small boats (in a real epic journey). Shackleton managed to rescue all of the stranded crew from Elephant Island without loss in the Chilean’s navy seagoing steam tug Yelcho, on August 30, 1916, in the middle of the Antarctic winter. (Summary from Wikipedia)

As the last section is a short original recording by Ernest Shackleton about the expedition.

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History of Holland

History of Holland by George Edmundson

History of Holland by George Edmundson

The title, “History of Holland,” given to this volume is fully justified by the predominant part which the great maritime province of Holland took in the War of Independence and throughout the whole of the subsequent history of the Dutch state and people.

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Around the World on a Bicycle – Volume 2

Around the World on a Bicycle - Volume 2 by Thomas Stevens

Around the World on a Bicycle – Volume 2 by Thomas Stevens

Thomas Stevens was the first person to circle the globe by bicycle, a large-wheeled Ordinary. His journey started in April 1884 in San Francisco from where he cycled to Boston to take a steamer to England. Crossing England, France, Central Europe and Asia Minor before he was turned back at the borders of Afghanistan. He returned part of the way to take a ship to Karachi, from where he crossed India. Another steam ship brought him from Calcutta to Hong Kong, and from Shanghai he set over to Japan, finally ending his journey after actually cycling 13.500 miles in Yokohama, December 1886.

This is the second volume (of two) relating his travel experiences, detailing the part of the journey from Teheran to Yokohama.

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Green Mansions: a romance of the tropical forest

Green Mansions: a romance of the tropical forest by W. H. Hudson

Green Mansions: a romance of the tropical forest by W. H. Hudson

“Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest” is a narration of his life story by Abel, a Venezuelan, to a comrade. Once a wealthy young man, he meddled in politics to the extent of provoking a revolution… which failed.

Escaping into the tropical forests of Guyana Abel takes up gold hunting, then journal-writing, and fails at both. Now with no aim for his life, he drifts until he takes up residence with a remote Indian tribe. Soon he learns of a wood the Indians avoid, as it is inhabited by a dangerous Daughter of the Didi, who, they say, slew one of them with magic. The fellow was in fact hit with a poisoned dart by accident, but his dying belief that she had caught the dart and hurled it at him survived him.

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Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan, Vol. II.

Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan, Vol. II. by John L. Stephens

Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan, Vol. II. by John L. Stephens

The year is 1838. The scene is the dense Honduran forest along the Copán River. Two men, John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood, are about to rediscover Mayan civilization. Their guide, slashing through the rampant growth with his machete, leads them to a structure with steps up the side, shaped like a pyramid. Next they see a stone column, fourteen feet high, sculptured on the front with a portrait of a man, “solemn, stern and well fitted to excite terror,” covered on the sides with hieroglyphics, and with workmanship “equal to the finest monuments of the Egyptians.” Stephens records these discoveries and also his travels in Central America, where he had been sent by President Van Buren as special ambassador to the ill-fated Republic of Central America. The republic being engulfed in civil war when Stephens arrives in Guatemala, he finds himself dodging revolutionary armies while he hunts for a “legitimate government” to which to present his credentials. Catherwood, meanwhile, directs his immense artistic talent to illustrating views of Mayan architecture. Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan was a best seller in its day and has been called an “Indiana Jones” saga by modern reviewers.

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The Andes and the Amazon

The Andes and the Amazon by James Orton

The Andes and the Amazon by James Orton

This book, with the subtitle “Across the Continent of South America” describes the scientific expedition of 1867 to the equatorial Andes and the Amazon. The route was from Guayaquil to Quito, over the Cordillera, through the forest to Napo, and, finally, on the Rio Napo to Pebas on the Maranon.

Besides this record, the expedition – under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institute – collected samples of rocks and plants, and numerous specimen of animals. The scientists also compiled a vocabulary of local languages and produced a new map of equatorial America.

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The Spell of Egypt

The Spell of Egypt by Robert Smythe Hichens

The Spell of Egypt by Robert Smythe Hichens

The author, a British journalist and novelist, is interested in the feel of the places he visits. He describes at length a visit he has made to Egypt, with emphasis on the emotional response the places generate.

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