The title of The Explorers by Martin Dugard pretty much gives away what it is about – explorers. Specifically, Dugard looks at the seven qualities he believes have guided explorers through time and not just in the field of global exploration. These are curiosity, hope, passion, courage, independence, self-discipline, and perseverance. Dugard knows the topic well, as he has previously written books on Columbus, Stanley and Livingston, and Captain Cook.
The frame of Dugard’s exploration (yeah, that’s a pun) is Richard Burton‘s and John Speke‘s expedition into the heart of Africa to discover the source of the Nile. Their adventures are understood through the seven characteristics mentioned above and as exhibited in a host of other explorers from Shackleton to Captain Cook. Each chapter looks at one of the characteristics. This structure gives the book an almost self-help feel to it. Adopt these characteristics and you too could succeed at the impossible!
Who would like this book? Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason, and The Explorers is a book for Dads. It’s no coincidence that this is coming out right before Father’s Day. It fits the bill perfectly. It is also a great book for anyone who is interested in explorers in the general sense and does not want a detailed study of a single individual. Because Dugard bounces around from one explorer to the next as he looks at what makes them tick, the reader does not have to worry about getting too bogged down in minute details.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I always get kind of sucked in to non-fiction books about exploration and anthropology, so I have a sense that this one could work for me, even though I’m not a dad 😉
Anthropology and exploration are a weak spot for me too, but for some reason this book fell short. It felt self helpy and like Dugard just pieced together bits from his previous works. I think I would suggest one of his other books before this one.
I bet I would like this one. I’m a sucker for nonfiction for one thing 😀
This one sounds really fun! I love nonfiction adventure stories — this sounds like a bit of a meta version of that.
I may not be a dad, but this sounds right up my alley! I love adventure/expedition stories and am fascinated by what drives explorers.
I love reading about explorers & adventure, but this one sounds a bit too general for me. I might look up some of his other titles instead.
That was exactly my problem with it. It was too general. it was like survey of explorers. I think his other stuff would be great though.
The focus on particular characteristics of explorers sounds a bit hokey to me. I can enjoy a good self-help book as much as the next person, but only if it’s backed up by science and includes actionable advice. With the focus on a specific adventure, it doesn’t seem likely that it would also focus on giving advice well, while the focus on specific characters seems like an artificial framework which could take away from the story. I don’t think it would quite work for me either. From your earlier comment reply though, it sounds like some of the author’s other books could be really enjoyable 🙂
Thank you. I think you got what I was saying perfectly.
This sounds pretty interesting! I think I might like that it is a general overview. It’s like a jumping off point to find out more about the ones I find interesting!
Very true. It gives you lots to consider diving into in more depth.
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