Points Unknown

Points Unknown: A Century of Great Exploration. Edited by David Roberts. New York: W.W. Norton, 2000.

This is a thrilling anthology of all the early adventurers right up to modern daredevils. These are the men and women who more than dared, they did. Dared to be first and were, dared to be more than the average traveler and were. Taken straight from diaries, journals, letters, and books written by the explorers themselves there was little David Roberts needed to add to the collection. He let the expeditions come alive through the words of the men and women experiencing them. But, don’t think Roberts sat back and let this book happen without a little craftiness. He had enough sense to cut short the narratives right when the story was about to get interesting. He leaves you with cliff hangers (literally). Did they get out alive? Did they find their friends? You find yourself asking “What happened next?!” and jotting down the original story title just so you can go back and get the rest of the adventure in its entirety.
An aside – Robert Falcon Scott (don’t you just love that dramatic name?) reported temperatures at -27 degrees Fahrenheit at the South Pole. Betram Thomas, traversing the Sahara, complains about the night temps falling to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, “I found it necessary to sleep in all my clothes plus three blankets” (p 87).

Favorite lines, “Humility was the first jungle skill I acquired” (p 280), “Exploding bat shit I was prepared for” (p 380), and “He seems to be a man who has long since lost the need to prove things to anyone” (p 474).

Reason read: June is adventure month. This is the nonfiction selection for the occasion.
Author Editor fact: DAvid Roberts also writes.

Book trivia: There are absolutely no photographs in this book. Such a shame.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Adventure By the Book” (p 9).

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