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The Explorer King: Adventure, Science, and the Great Diamond Hoax -- Clarence King in the Old West (Signed First Edition)


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ISBN 10: 0743260252 / ISBN 13: 9780743260251
Published by Scribner, 2006
New Condition: New Hardcover
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About this Item

New York: Scribner [2006]. First edition. First printing. Hardbound. New/New. SIGNED BY AUTHOR on title page. A perfect unread copy, opened only for the author to sign. Comes with archival-quality, acid-free dust jacket protector at no extra cost. A pristine signed copy! Smoke Free Shop. Shipped in sturdy box with bubble wrap. Synposis: Wilson, editor of the American Scholar, writes a colorful biography of the 19th-century explorer-scientist Clarence King. As the leader of extensive geological surveys of the West, King sought out adventure at every peak, but fell deeply into debt and despair. Bookseller Inventory # pp0206-26

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Explorer King: Adventure, Science, and ...

Publisher: Scribner

Publication Date: 2006

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition...

About this title


In this, one of the year's most compelling biographies, Robert Wilson paints a brilliant portrait of Clarence King -- a scientist-explorer whose mountain-scaling, desert-crossing, river-fording, blizzard-surviving adventures helped create the new West of the nineteenth century.A sort of Howard Hughes of the 1800s, Clarence King in his youth was an icon of the new America: a man of both action and intellect, who combined science and adventure with romanticism and charm. "The Explorer King vividly depicts King's amazing feats and also uncovers the reasons for the shocking decline he suffered after his days on the American frontier.The Yale-educated King went west in 1863 at age twenty-one as a geologist-explorer. During the next decade he scaled the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada, published a popular book now considered a classic of adventure literature, initiated a groundbreaking land survey of the American West, and ultimately uncovered one of the greatest frauds of the century -- the Great Diamond Hoax, a discovery that made him an international celebrity at a time when they were few and far between.Through King's own rollicking tales, some true, some embroidered, of scaling previously unclimbed mountain peaks, of surviving a monster blizzard near Yosemite, of escaping ambush and capture by Indians, of being chased on horseback for two days by angry bandits, Robert Wilson offers a powerful combination of adventure, history, and nature writing. He also provides the bigger picture of the West at this time, showing the ways in which the terrain of the western United States was measured and charted and mastered, and how science, politics, and business began to intersect andinfluence one another during this era. Ultimately, King himself would come to symbolize the collision of science and business, possibly the source of his downfall. Fascinating and extensive, "The Explorer King movingly portrays the America of the nineteenth century and the man who -- for better or worse -- typified the soul of the era.

From Publishers Weekly:

Clarence King (1842–1901) was the Indiana Jones of the 19th century. His dangerous 1864 passage across the Sierra Nevadas in California was hailed as ushering in "a new era in American mountaineering," during which his discovery of metamorphosed fossils helped determine the age of the Sierra Nevada gold belt—time-saving information for prospectors. In 1872, his debunking of fantastic claims of a "diamond field" in northwestern Colorado made him a national hero. King also wrote several landmark studies of mining, geology and mountaineering. American Scholar editor Wilson has produced an affectionate account of King's life that emphasizes the inevitable hardship of exploration as much as King's scientific achievements. King represented "a new paradigm of the western adventurer... the scientist-explorer, who seeks knowledge rather than territory or riches." Wilson judiciously sifts through the record of King's exploits. Almost as if he cannot bear to document his subject's long, slow decline, when he himself became obsessed with extracting riches from the earth, Wilson stops the story at King's uncovering of the Great Diamond Hoax. Wilson adds to our picture of the Wild West: one populated less by bloodthirsty bandits and ruthless ranchers than by earnest, upstanding men defined by their curiosity and courage. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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