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Fast in the Ice

Fast in the Ice by R. M. Ballantyne

Fast in the Ice by R. M. Ballantyne

At the age of 16 Ballantyne went to Canada and was six years in the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company. His rule in writing, being in every case, was to write as far as possible from personal knowledge of the scenes he described.

In this book he details the lives of the crew as they must overwinter in the frozen north including their meetings with Eskimos and bears and their struggles with disease. This is a realistic account of what life was like for the explorers of the Arctic.

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The Mariner of St. Malo

The Mariner of St. Malo by Stephen Leacock

The Mariner of St. Malo by Stephen Leacock

Jacques Cartier grew up as a sailor, married well and became an agent of exploration for King Francis I of France. In April, 1534, he sailed for the New World. Before sailing, his men took an oath that they would “behave themselves truly and faithfully in the service of the Most Christian King.” Jacques’ name was made immortal by the faithfulness with which he and his men carried out that oath.

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Diary of a U-Boat Commander

Diary of a U-Boat Commander by Sir Stephen King-Hall

Diary of a U-Boat Commander by Sir Stephen King-Hall

Captain Karl von Schenk of the Kaiser’s Navy is a stereotypical German nobleman – supremely self-confident, touchy about the divisions of class and any infringement on his place. He thinks he is handsome, has a suitably manly physique, an excellent singing voice, and a facility with writing. His wartime service related in his diary is a series of triumphs over harrowing circumstances, bringing his boat back in spite of the best efforts of the Royal Navy to stop him.

His one vulnerability is a young lady he meets on leave in Bruges, Belgium. Although she is the trophy girlfriend of a German colonel who could cause him much harm if he were to find out, von Schenk pursues his Zoe with Teutonic straightforwardness. And both he and the reader are entirely blind-sided by the unexpected thunderclap that puts an end to the sweet affair.

Stephen King-Hall, a Royal Navy officer during the war and writing as “Etienne”, penned this book as if he had simply discovered it on a surrendered submarine. In fact, some editions of the book list the author as “anonymous.” King-Hall’s knowledge of naval affairs lend authority to this yarn of men that go to the sea in ships that sink… on purpose.

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The Art of Travel

The Art of Travel by Sir Francis Galton

The Art of Travel by Sir Francis Galton

The Art of Travel is a handbook of practical advice for the adventure seeking Victorian. We hear how to organize all steps of a voyage, from the very beginnings (qualifications of a traveler, how to organize an expedition, the perfect outfit), to the actual trip (how to choose a bivouac, huts and tents, what game to shoot – and how, dealing with (hostile) savages), until the final, hopefully successful, return of the traveler (arranging memorandum).

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Little Lucy’s Wonderful Globe

Little Lucy's Wonderful Globe by Charlotte M. Yonge

Little Lucy's Wonderful Globe by Charlotte M. Yonge

Travel with Little Lucy around the globe and learn a little geography and small bits about other cultures.

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The Yosemite

The Yosemite by John Muir

The Yosemite by John Muir

John Muir’s adventure guide for the Yosemite Valley.

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The Englishwoman in America

The Englishwoman in America by Isabella L. Bird

The Englishwoman in America by Isabella L. Bird

Isabella Bird travels abroad in Canada and the United States in the 1850s. As an Englishwoman and a lone female, she travels as far as Chicago, Prince Edward Island, and Cincinnati. Her observations on the trials and tribulations of the journeys are astute, if formed by her place and time in history. Adventures with pickpockets, omnibuses, cholera, and rat invested hotels deter her not.

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A Little Swiss Sojourn

A Little Swiss Sojourn by William Dean Howells

A Little Swiss Sojourn by William Dean Howells

A charming brief account of a two months’ autumnal stay on the shores of the Lake of Geneva. Howells, who was there with his family traveling from England to Italy, has a sharp eye not only for scenery and architecture, but for people and customs, both Swiss and foreign.

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Letters on Sweden, Norway, and Denmark

Letters on Sweden, Norway, and Denmark by Mary Wollstonecraft

Letters on Sweden, Norway, and Denmark by Mary Wollstonecraft

Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark is a personal travel narrative by the eighteenth-century British feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft. The twenty-five letters cover a wide range of topics, from sociological reflections on Scandinavia and its peoples to philosophical questions regarding identity. Published by Wollstonecraft’s career-long publisher, Joseph Johnson, it was the last work issued during her lifetime.

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Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World

Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World by Mark Twain

Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World by Mark Twain

Following the Equator (American English title) or More Tramps Abroad (English title) is a non-fiction travelogue published by American author Mark Twain.

Twain was practically bankrupt in 1894 due to a failed investment into a “revolutionary” typesetting machine. In an attempt to extricate himself from debt of $100,000 (equivalent of about $2 million in 2005) he undertook a tour of the British Empire in 1895, a route chosen to provide numerous opportunities for lectures in the English language.

In Following the Equator, the author unmasks and criticizes racism, imperialism and missionary zeal in observations woven into the narrative with classical Twain wit.

Of particular interest, historically, are Twain’s references to Cecil Rhodes in Australia and South Africa, the in-depth description of “Thugs” and “Thuggee” in India and the Boer War period and diamonds in South Africa.

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