Author(s): Mark Jenkins
This book is not about heroic tales of conquering poles and mountains; it is about the other side of exploration, the 'delightful mystery', or sense of wonder that has gripped explorers both celebrated and little known, from Marco Polo to Sir John Mandeville to Henry David Thoreau. Focusing on the era before mass travel and photography, Jenkins takes us to the poles when they were still known as 'mystic circles' because of the many strange, indeed marvelous phenomena witnessed there, from icebergs to the northern lights. Under Jenkins' erudite guidance, readers sail the South Seas with Captain Cook, trek an unexplored South America as described by Alexander Von Humboldt, and marvel at the wonders of western geography as observed by the first explorer of the Grand Canyon, John Wesley Powell, and dozens of places around the globe. Taking the literal meaning of geography - description of the earth - at its face value, like the gorgeous variety of mountains, islands, and terra incognita that populate this wonderful assembly, the charm of this book is in its scattered profusion.
Editor Mark Jenkins is chief historian of the National Geographic Society's archives. In addition to having read every story ever published in National Geographic magazine, he is co-author of High Adventure, an illustrated history of the Society, and editor of Worlds to Explore: Classic Tales of Travel and Adventure from National Geographic.