The Explorers: A Story of Fearless Outcasts, Blundering Geniuses, and Impossible Success

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9781451677577: The Explorers: A Story of Fearless Outcasts, Blundering Geniuses, and Impossible Success

Unlock your inner explorer in this riveting account of one of history’s greatest adventures—and a study of the seven character traits all great explorers share.

In 1856, two intrepid adventurers, Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke, set off to unravel a geographical unknown: the location of the Nile River’s source. They traveled deep into a forbidding and uncharted African wilderness together before arriving at two different solutions to the mystery and parting ways as sworn enemies. The feud became an international sensation upon their return to England, and a public debate was scheduled to decide whose theory was correct. What followed was a massive spectacle with an outcome no one could have ever foreseen.

In The Explorers, New York Times bestselling author Martin Dugard tells the rich saga of the Burton and Speke expedition. To better understand their motivations and ultimate success, Dugard guides readers through the seven vital traits that Burton and Speke, as well as history’s most legendary explorers, called upon to see their impossible journeys through to the end: curiosity, hope, passion, courage, independence, self-discipline, and perseverance. In doing so, Dugard demonstrates that we are all explorers and that these traits have a most practical application in everyday life.

Within some of us beats the heart of a mountain climber; within others, that of a budding entrepreneur. Just like the explorers, life will present us with great unknowns: the diagnosis of cancer, the call to help a troubled friend, the need to move forward after great tragedy. As professionals we will attempt to chart paths that have never been mapped. And however modest our lives may appear on the outside, there will be times requiring the same deep moral decisions and complex tactical judgments explorers faced in strange lands, thousands of miles from home.

The Explorers is a book about courage and survival. It is also a book about stepping into the darkness with confidence and grace, aware on some profound level—as were Burton and Speke—that the Promised Land we are searching for is not some lost corner of the world, but a place within ourselves.

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About the Author:

Martin Dugard is the New York Times bestselling author of Into Africa, The Training Ground, Last Voyage of Columbus, and The Explorers. He is also the coauthor, with political commentator Bill O’Reilly, of Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus, and Killing Patton. He lives in Southern California with his wife and three sons.

From Booklist:

Author of titles about Christopher Columbus, James Cook, and David Livingston, Dugard here delves into the explorer as a personality type. Acknowledging a debt to a similar inquiry, mountaineer Wilfrid Noyce’s The Springs of Adventure (1959), Dugard structures his title around a famous expedition, Richard Burton and John Speke’s 1857–58 quest to discover the source of the Nile. Using seven traits to illustrate their characters as explorers, Dugard discusses the events of their journey in terms of each man’s—as the book’s chapters are headed—curiosity, hope, passion, courage, independence, self-discipline, and perseverance. As Burton and Speke encounter problems typical in discovery annals—daunting terrain, illness, privation, and mutual acrimony—Dugard develops the seven traits along several tracks, including psychology, physiology, and other adventurers who exemplified the trait under discussion. Thus, his narrative can jump from introversion to dopamine, and from Burton-Speke to Ernest Shackleton’s courageous perseverance to rescue his crew from Antarctica in 1914–16. Such a varied shuffling of subjects should keep the exploration audience locked into Dugard’s portrait of the discoverer archetype. --Gilbert Taylor

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