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Fleming, Fergus. Off the map; tales of endurance and exploration.

FLEMING, Fergus. Off the map; tales of endurance and exploration. Grove Press. 518p. illus. bibliog. index. c2004. 0-8021-4272-9. $16.00. SA *

Narrative historian Fergus Fleming offers 45 stories, beginning with Marco Polo's foray into China in 1271 and ending with Umberto Nobile's journey to the North Pole by airship in 1928. The time between is divided into three ages: reconnaissance, from 1271-1687; inquiry, from 1725-1859; and endeavor, from 1860-1928. Stories are limited to geographical discovery and not just exciting tales, so there are omissions. However, familiar names are here, such as Magellan, Columbus, Henry Hudson, Rene La Salle, Lewis and Clark, James Cook, Vitus Bering, Robert Peary, Ernest Shackleton, David Livingston, and Roald Amundsen. These explorers are mostly white male Europeans, though Fleming includes the wanderings of Ibn Battuta, who went on the hajj to Mecca in 1325. The stories contain details about cannibalism, a polar bear attack, alcohol poisoning, a record temperature of 90 below during the search for the Northwest Passage, disease, slavery and starvation, and the "seamier aspects" of colonization. A primary source bibliography and lengthy index as well as illustrations are included in this eminently readable volume. Janet Julian, English Teacher (retired), Grafton, MA

S--Recommend for senior high school students.

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*--The asterisk highlights exceptional books.
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Author:Julian, Janet
Publication:Kliatt
Date:Nov 1, 2006
Words:243
Previous Article:Smith, Sidonie & Watson, Julia, eds. Before they could vote; American women's autobiographical writing, 1819-1919.
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