Too Close to the Sun: The Audacious Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton


Sara Wheeler - 2006
    A champion of Africa, legendary for his good looks, his charm, and his prowess as a soldier, lover, and hunter, Finch Hatton inspired Karen Blixen to write the unforgettable stories in Out of Africa. Now esteemed British biographer Sara Wheeler tells the truth about this extraordinarily charismatic adventurer.Born to an old aristocratic family that had gambled away most of its fortune, Finch Hatton grew up in a world of effortless elegance and boundless power. Tall and graceful, with the soul of a poet and an athlete’s relaxed masculinity, he became a hero without trying at Eton and Oxford. In 1910, searching for novelty and danger, Finch Hatton arrived in British East Africa and fell in love–with a continent, with a landscape, with a way of life that was about to change forever.Wheeler brilliantly conjures the mystical beauty of Kenya at a time when teeming herds of wild animals roamed unmolested across pristine savannah. No one was more deeply attuned to this beauty than Finch Hatton–and no one more bitterly mourned its passing when the outbreak of World War I engulfed the region in a protracted, bloody guerrilla conflict. Finch Hatton was serving as a captain in the Allied forces when he met Karen Blixen in Nairobi and embarked on one of the great love affairs of the twentieth century.With delicacy and grace, Wheeler teases out truth from fiction in the liaison that Blixen herself immortalized in Out of Africa. Intellectual equals, bound by their love for the continent and their inimitable sense of style, Finch Hatton and Blixen were genuine pioneers in a land that was quickly being transformed by violence, greed, and bigotry.Ever restless, Finch Hatton wandered into a career as a big-game hunter and became an expert bush pilot; his passion that led to his affair with the notoriously unconventional aviatrix Beryl Markham. But Markham was no more able to hold him than Blixen had been. Mesmerized all his life by the allure of freedom and danger, Finch Hatton was, writes Wheeler, “the open road made flesh.”In painting a portrait of an irresistible man, Sara Wheeler has beautifully captured the heady glamour of the vanished paradise of colonial East Africa. In Too Close to the Sun she has crafted a book that is as ravishing as its subject.

Great Heart: The History of a Labrador Adventure


James West Davidson - 1988
    Joined by his best friend, Dillon Wallace, and a Scots-Cree guide, George Elson, Hubbard hoped to make a name for himself as an adventurer. But plagued by poor judgment and bad luck, his party turned back and Hubbard died of starvation just thirty miles from camp. Two years later, Hubbard's widow, Mina, and Wallace returned to Labrador, leading rival expeditions to complete the original trek and fix blame for the earlier failure. Their race made headlines from New York to Nova Scotia-and it makes fascinating reading today in this widely acclaimed reconstruction of the epic saga. The authors draw on contemporary accounts and their own journeys in Labrador to evoke the intense drama to men and women pushed beyond the limits of endurance in one of the great true adventures of our century.

The 8:55 to Baghdad


Andrew Eames - 2004
    With her marriage to her first husband, Archie Christie, over, she decided to take a much-needed holiday; the Caribbean had been her intended destination, but a conversation at a dinner party with a couple who had just returned from Iraq changed her mind

Across the Empty Quarter


Wilfred Thesiger - 2007
    The result was a monument both to his resilience and to the Bedu who guided him and who emerge as the book's real heroes.An extract of 'Arabian Sands, 1959.

Adventures in the Rocky Mountains


Isabella Lucy Bird - 1879
    Each beautifully packaged volume offers a way to see the world anew, to rediscover great civilizations and legends, vast deserts and unspoiled mountain ranges, unusual flora and strange new creatures, and much more.

Facing the Congo: A Modern-Day Journey into the Heart of Darkness


Jeffrey Tayler - 2000
    He would leave behind his mundane existence in Moscow to re-create the legendary British explorer Henry Stanley’s trip down the Congo in a dugout canoe, stocked with food, medicine, and even a gun-toting guide. But once his tiny boat pushed off the banks of this mysterious river, Tayler realized he was in a place where maps and supplies would have no bearing on his survival. As Tayler navigates this immense waterway, he encounters a land of smothering heat and intense rains, wary villagers, corrupt officials and dead-eyed soldiers demanding bribes, jungle animals, mosquitoes, and, surprisingly, breathtaking natural beauty. Filled with honesty and rich description, Facing the Congo is a sophisticated depiction of today’s Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country brought to its knees by a succession of despotic leaders. But most mportant, Tayler’s stunning narrative is a deeply satisfying personal journey of fear and awakening, with a message that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt compelled, whether in life or in fantasy, to truly explore and experience our world.

The Sound of Wings: the Life of Amelia Earhart


Mary S. Lovell - 1989
    Putnam to her consuming quest for avaiation fame.

In a Far Country: The True Story of a Mission, a Marriage, a Murder, and the Remarkable Reindeer Rescue of 1898


John Taliaferro - 2006
    Without relief, two hundred whalers would starve to death by winter's end. Mercifully, an extraordinary missionary, Tom Lopp, and seven Eskimo herders embarked on a harrowing journey to save the whalers, driving four hundred reindeer more than seven hundred untracked miles. At the heart of the rescue expedition lies another, in some ways more compelling, journey. In a Far Country is the personal odyssey of Tom and his wife Ellen Lopp -- their commitment to the natives and the rugged but happy life they built for themselves amid a treeless tundra at the top of the world. The Lopps pulled through on grit and wits, on humility and humor, on trust and love, and by the grace of God. Their accomplishment would surely have received broader acclaim had it not been eclipsed by two simultaneous events: the Spanish- American War and the Alaska gold rush. The United States and its territories were transformed abruptly and irrevocably by these fits of expansionist fever, and despite the thoughtful, determined guidance of the Lopps, the natives of the North were soon overwhelmed by a force mightier than the fiercest Arctic winter: the twentieth century.

Ladies of the Field: Early Women Archaeologists and Their Search for Adventure


Amanda Adams - 2010
    In a time when ladies dressed in ruffled petticoats, these women were sporting work trousers, smoking men's pipes, and riding camels through uncharted Middle Eastern deserts. They were adventurous, smart, and fearless—they were the first women archaeologists. What drew these pioneering ladies into a male-dominated field that was then a very young science? What drove them to travel to far-flung sites where the well water was filled with bugs, danger was daily, and the sun was so hot it could bake through leather boots? Each woman found archaeology to be an irresistible passion. And as they pursued their dreams, they helped to bury ideas about feminine nature as something intrinsically soft and submissive. Ladies of the Field excavates the stories of women who sought adventure in the burgeoning new field of archaelogy and who continue to inspire us today, including Amelia Edwards, Jane Dieulafoy, Zelia Nuttall, Gertrude Bell, Harriet Boyd-Hawes, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy Garrod.

Come, Tell Me How You Live


Agatha Christie Mallowan - 1946
    She also gave us Come, Tell Me How You Live, a charming, fascinating, and wonderfully witty nonfiction account of her days on an archaeological dig in Syria with her husband, renowned archeologist Max Mallowan. Something completely different from arguably the best-selling author of all time, Come, Tell Me How You Live is an evocative journey to the fascinating Middle East of the 1930s that is sure to delight Dame Agatha’s millions of fans, as well as aficionados of Elizabeth Peters’s Amelia Peabody mysteries and eager armchair travelers everywhere.

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time


Mark Adams - 2011
    For on that rainy morning, the young Yale professor Hiram Bingham III climbed into the Andes Mountains of Peru and encountered an ancient city in the clouds: the now famous citadel of Machu Picchu. Nearly a century later, news reports have recast the hero explorer as a villain who smuggled out priceless artifacts and stole credit for finding one of the world's greatest archaeological sites. Mark Adams has spent his career editing adventure and travel magazines, so his plan to investigate the allegations against Bingham by retracing the explorer's perilous path to Machu Picchu isn't completely far- fetched, even if it does require him to sleep in a tent for the first time. With a crusty, antisocial Australian survivalist and several Quechua-speaking, coca-chewing mule tenders as his guides, Adams takes readers through some of the most gorgeous and historic landscapes in Peru, from the ancient Inca capital of Cusco to the enigmatic ruins of Vitcos and Vilcabamba. Along the way he finds a still-undiscovered country populated with brilliant and eccentric characters, as well as an answer to the question that has nagged scientists since Hiram Bingham's time: Just what was Machu Picchu?

The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng: The Autobiographical Writings of a Crown Princess of Eighteenth-Century Korea


Lady Hyegyeong - 1985
    From 1795 until 1805 Lady Hyegyong composed this masterpiece, which depicts a court life whose drama and pathos is of Shakespearean proportions. Presented in its social, cultural, and historical contexts, this complete English translation opens a door into a world teeming with conflicting passions, political intrigue, and the daily preoccupations of a deeply intelligent and articulate woman.JaHyun Kim Haboush's accurate, fluid translation captures the intimate and expressive voice of this consummate storyteller. The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong is a unique exploration of Korean selfhood and of how the genre of autobiography fared in premodern times.

No Hurry to Get Home: The Memoir of the New Yorker Writer Whose Unconventional Life and Adventures Spanned the Century


Emily Hahn - 2000
    Born in St. Louis in 1905, she crashed the all-male precincts of the University of Wisconsin geology department as an undergraduate, traveled alone to the Belgian Congo at age 25, was the concubine of a Chinese poet in Shanghai, bore the child of the head of the British Secret Service before World War II, and finally returned to New York to live and write in Greenwich Village. In this memoir, first published as essays in The New Yorker, Hahn writes vividly and amusingly about the people and places she came to know and love -- with an eye for the curious and a heart for the exotic.

A Splendid Savage: The Restless Life of Frederick Russell Burnham


Steve Kemper - 2016
    One of the few people who could turn his garrulous friend Theodore Roosevelt into a listener, Burnham was once world-famous as “the American scout.” His expertise in woodcraft, learned from frontiersmen and Indians, helped inspire another friend, Robert Baden-Powell, to found the Boy Scouts. His adventures encompassed Apache wars and range feuds, booms and busts in mining camps around the globe, explorations in remote regions of Africa, and death-defying military feats that brought him renown and high honors. His skills led to his unusual appointment, as an American, to be Chief of Scouts for the British during the Boer War, where his daring exploits earned him the Distinguished Service Order from King Edward VII.After a lifetime pursuing golden prospects from the deserts of Mexico and Africa to the tundra of the Klondike, Burnham found wealth, in his sixties, near his childhood home in southern California. Other men of his era had a few such adventures, but Burnham had them all. His friend H. Rider Haggard, author of many best-selling exotic tales, remarked, “In real life he is more interesting than any of my heroes of romance.”Among other well-known individuals who figure in Burnham’s story are Cecil Rhodes and William Howard Taft, as well as some of the wealthiest men of the day, including John Hays Hammond, E. H. Harriman, Henry Payne Whitney, and the Guggenheim brothers.Failure and tragedy streaked his life as well, but he was endlessly willing to set off into the unknown, where the future felt up for grabs and values worth dying for were at stake. Steve Kemper brings a quintessential American story to vivid life in this gripping biography.

Farthest North


Fridtjof Nansen - 1897
    Experts said such a ship couldn't be built and that the voyage was tantamount to suicide. This brilliant first-person account, originally published in 1897, marks the beginning of the modern age of exploration. Nansen vividly describes the dangerous voyage and his 15-month-long dash to the North Pole by sledge. An unforgettable tale and a must-read for any armchair explorer.