The Explorers by Martin Dugard

the explorersThe 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.


  1. 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 🙂

  2. Pingback: June Round Up | 52 books or bust

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