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The Great Horizon: 50 Tales of Exploration Hardcover – 16 Nov 2017
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"An inherently fascinating and impressively informative read from first page to last, The Great Horizon will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library collections." -- James A. Cox "Library Bookwatch"
About the Author
Jo Woolf was born in Shropshire, and now lives with her husband in West Lothian. She has always had a passion for writing, along with a lively fascination for history and the natural world. In 2014 she began digging into the archives of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, in a mission to bring to light some half-forgotten figures in the field of exploration.
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The Germans have another descriptive word for the Anglicized word wanderlust: Fernweh, or the pain of the distant. In this context, I would interpret pain as more of a yearning, an ache. These days, traveling to most places is a relatively painless process, with the availability of the Internet and flights to even remote locations. Centuries ago, it was different. Explorers braved hunger, disease, frostbite or dehydration and hostile natives to fulfill their longing for distant places.
Books about explorers are like epic fantasy adventures without the magic and machinations. Most explorers had to learn from necessity to be team players, though some definitely leaned towards the limelight. A new work by Jo Woolf, The Great Horizon, features a varied palette of them, including some women. Amidst portraits of the well-known explorers, such as Sir Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic explorer, and Sir Edmund Hillary, who summited Everest along with Tenzing Norgay, a host of lesser explorers are introduced, such as Dame Freya Madeleine Stark, who explored the Middle East, beginning in 1928 and was still traveling when she was in her eighties.
The Great Horizon was published in association with the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, which enabled Jo to use their archival material, including photographs, as well as travel journals and letters. We find out that Borge Ousland always packs an almond cake as a special treat for his solitary explorations of the polar regions. While we read an excerpt of a letter Himalayan explorer and plant collector Frank Kingdon Ward wrote, we can treat ourselves to a photograph of the Tsangpo Gorge that he reached and partially mapped back in 1924. And the photo of Fanny Bullock Workman on the Karakoram Siachen Glacier in 1912, holding a sign for the suffragette movement, is priceless.