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Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration Hardcover – 28 Sep 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 446 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1st Edition edition (28 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199295905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199295906
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 2.6 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 839,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

A spectacular book. Fernandez-Armesto specialises in works of scrupulous scholarship and staggering breadth. (Angel Gurria-Quintana, Financial Times (FT Magazine) )

The fascination and charm of Pathfinders lie in the balance the book strikes between giving a broad overview and lingering on stories with documentary richness and narrative drive. As always in Fernandez-Armesto's work, the range of reference is wide, the writing felicitous and witty. (Ronald Wright, Times Literary Supplement )

Absorbing.... Pathfinders is a significant contribution to our knowledge of humankind's restless quest to explore and exploit Planet Earth. (Justin Marozzi, Literary Review )

Magisterial account....both concise and bold. (Hugh Thomson, The Independent )

Fernandez-Armesto takes us around the world in 428 fascinating pages. (Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times )

A meticulously researched account of centuries of ambition and world-spanning lunacy... Crisp, eloquent, written in consistently memorable prose. (Joanna Kavenna, New Statesman )

Fernandez-Armesto's human-centred story-telling and dazzling command of material convey the excitement of explorartion admirably (The Spectator, Andro Linklater )

His portraits are crisp and eloquent, written in consistently memorable prose. (Joanna Kavenna, New Statesman )

The temporal remit of Fernandez-Armesto's book is wonderfully broad. (Joanna Kavenna, New Statesman )

About the Author

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, the William P. Reynolds Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, is the author of Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration and Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States. He lives in South Bend, Indiana, and London. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Robertshaw on 28 April 2008
Format: Paperback
Felipe's Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration is a tremendous piece of writing, covering a vast topic in an eminently readable style. Whilst not claiming to be a sacrosanct text, Felipe presents some of the most commonly accepted explanations about aspects of this huge topic in a very pragmatic and reasonable way. Amongst the many topics covered are the following:

* A brief history of early human development and the dispersion of people around the globe
* How the natural environment around the Indian Ocean enabled a flourishing, ocean going trade system to develop many, many centuries ago
* Insights into how trade, romanticism and empire building inspired various European countries to start explorations around the globe
* How a desire to reach the Indo-Chinese trade routes led to the `discovery' of America: which was for a long time only seen as a barrier to the original goal
* A look at what is now left for the pathfinders of today and tomorrow

I started reading this book knowing that I knew very little of the history about how humanity had developed in different parts of the world, I have also found that my knowledge of the worlds geography was also limited and, as such, spent a lot of time referencing a small globe whilst reading. I would recommend this book for anyone with an interest in history or humanity or, as myself, the origins of world trade and commerce.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm taking a star away from my first review that I did when I hadn't finished reading it. I agree with another review that there aren't enough maps in the book and those that are in the book are not really clarifying the subject. I kept an atlas beside me to get a better picture of what the author was trying to say.

Further along in the book, the atlas wasn't the only thing I had beside me. My mother tongue is not English (it's Dutch), but I've been reading English books almost exclusively for over 10 years. I can't remember the last time I had to use a dictionary. While I was reading this book, I had to use it several times per page and even then, some sentences were just too poetic to allow for a smooth reading and they rarely added meaning to the overall picture. I suspect that this book doesn't read smoothely even for those who are natively speaking English.

No complaints about the delivery or state of the second-hand book, though.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dean Swift on 29 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
Fernandez Armesto has breathtaking ambition and scope. His history combines a fine sense for what makes a great yarn with sure-footed scholarship. He tells it with a flourish, and what an epic collection of tales he has to tell. This is what history should be, great entertainment, a welter of fasincating detail, and a grand perspective.
-Mick.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ventura Angelo on 9 July 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One cannot praise enough this book for its clarity and profoundity, when the author unravels the paths pursued by humanity in exploring the world and other cultures.Armesto's fine intuitions and great storitelling make this book a true masterpiece.
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