The Spanish cleric Bartolomé de Las Casas is a key figure in the history of Spain’s conquest of the Americas. Las Casas condemned the torture and murder of natives by the conquistadores in reports to the Spanish royal court and in tracts such as A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies (1552). For his unrelenting denunciation of the colonialists’ atrocities, Las Casas has been revered as a noble protector of the Indians and as a pioneering anti-imperialist. He has become a larger-than-life figure invoked by generations of anticolonialists in Europe and Latin America.
Separating historical reality from myth, Daniel Castro provides a nuanced, revisionist assessment of the friar’s career, writings, and political activities. Castro argues that Las Casas was very much an imperialist. Intent on converting the Indians to Christianity, the religion of the colonizers, Las Casas simply offered the natives another face of empire: a paternalistic, ecclesiastical imperialism. Castro contends that while the friar was a skilled political manipulator, influential at what was arguably the world’s most powerful sixteenth-century imperial court, his advocacy on behalf of the natives had little impact on their lives. Analyzing Las Casas’s extensive writings, Castro points out that in his many years in the Americas, Las Casas spent very little time among the indigenous people he professed to love, and he made virtually no effort to learn their languages. He saw himself as an emissary from a superior culture with a divine mandate to impose a set of ideas and beliefs on the colonized. He differed from his compatriots primarily in his antipathy to violence as the means for achieving conversion.
Winner, 2020 J.G. Ragsdale Book Award from the Arkansas Historical Association
“I reckon stranger you have not been used much to traveling in the woods,” a hunter remarked to Henry Rowe Schoolcraft as he trekked through the Ozark backcountry in late 1818. The ensuing exchange is one of many compelling encounters between Arkansas travelers and settlers depicted in Arkansas Travelers: Geographies of Exploration and Perception, 1804–1834. This book is the first to integrate the stories of four travelers who explored Arkansas during the transformative period between the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and statehood in 1836: William Dunbar, Thomas Nuttall, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, and George William Featherstonhaugh.
In addition to gathering their tales of treacherous rivers, drunken scoundrels, and repulsive food, historian and geographer Andrew J. Milson explores the impact such travel narratives have had on geographical understandings of Arkansas places. Using the language in each traveler’s narrative, Milson suggests, and the book includes, new maps that trace these perceptions, illustrating not just the lands traversed, but the way travelers experienced and perceived place. By taking a geographical approach to the history of these spaces, Arkansas Travelers offers a deeper understanding—a deeper map—of Arkansas.
At the Moon's Inn
Andrew Lytle University of Alabama Press, 2009 Library of Congress PS3523.Y88A93 1990 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
At the Moon's Inn, first published in 1941, provides a fictional account of De Soto's famous Spanish expedition to La Florida and through the southeastern United States between 1539 and 1543. The novel begins in Spain in 1538, where De Soto and his chief lieutenants, veterans of the campaigns in South America, pledge themselves to a new enterprise to explore and exploit La Florida. The narrative follows them on their voyage to Cuba, where they rest and obtain additional supplies, then set sail for the area now known as Tampa Bay. Lytle's brilliant historical novel takes the readers with the conquistadores through the hot, humid land, where despite their advantage in military technology they found they must rely on the Indians for food. The author explores the cultural confrontation that seriously weakened the Indians, while the Spaniards' dreams of gold gradually turned to hopes of survival in the hostile environment.
Drawing his facts from the 1939 United States De Soto Commission Report and from the surviving historical chronicles of the expedition, Lytle weaves a fascinating tale that brings to life the history of Spanish efforts to establish a controlling presence in the New World during the first half of the 16th century.
In his introduction, Douglas Jones places At the Moon's Inn within the context of the documentary record, as well as within the framework of its distinguished author's career.
In The Baron in the Grand Canyon, Steven Rowan presents the first comprehensive look at the life of Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Egloffstein, mapmaker, artist, explorer, and inventor. Utilizing new German and American sources, Rowan clarifies many mysteries about the life of this major artist and cartographer of the American West.
This revealing account concentrates on Egloffstein’s activity in the American mountain West from 1853 to 1858. The early chapters cover his roots as a member of an imperial baronial family in Franconia, his service in the Prussian army, his arrival in the United States in 1846, and his links to his scandalous gothic-novelist cousin, Baron Ludwig von Reizenstein.
Egloffstein’s work as a cartographer in St. Louis in the 1840s led to his participation in John C. Frémont’s final expedition to the West in 1853 and 1854. He left Frémont for Salt Lake City where he joined the Gunnison Expedition under the leadership of Edward Beckwith. During this time, Egloffstein produced his most outstanding panoramas and views of the expedition, which were published in Pacific Railroad Reports.
Egloffstein also served along with Heinrich Balduin Möllhusen as one of the artists and as the chief cartographer of Joseph Christmas Ives’s expedition up the Colorado River. The two large maps produced by Egloffstein for the expedition report are regarded as classics of American art and cartography in the nineteenth century.
While with the Ives expedition, Egloffstein performed his revolutionary experiments in printing photographic images. He developed a procedure for working from photographs of plaster models of terrain, and that led him to invent “heliography,” a method of creating printing plates directly from photographs. He later went on to launch a company to exploit his photographic printing process, which closed after only a few years of operation.
Among the many images in this engaging narrative are photographs of the Egloffstein castle and of Egloffstein in 1865 and in his later years. Also include are illustrations that were published in the PRR, such as “View Showing the Formation of the Cañon of Grand River [today called the Gunnison River] / near the Mouth of Lake Fork with Indications of the Formidable Side Cañons” and Beckwith Map 1: “From the Valley of Green River to the Great Salt Lake.”
In the late 1800s, “Arctic Fever” swept across the nation as dozens of American expeditions sailed north to the Arctic to find a sea route to Asia and, ultimately, to stand at the North Pole. Few of these missions were successful, and many men lost their lives en route. Yet failure did little to dampen the enthusiasm of new explorers or the crowds at home that cheered them on. Arctic exploration, Michael F. Robinson argues, was an activity that unfolded in America as much as it did in the wintry hinterland. Paying particular attention to the perils facing explorers at home, The Coldest Crucible examines their struggles to build support for the expeditions before departure, defend their claims upon their return, and cast themselves as men worthy of the nation’s full attention. In so doing, this book paints a new portrait of polar voyagers, one that removes them from the icy backdrop of the Arctic and sets them within the tempests of American cultural life.
With chronological chapters featuring emblematic Arctic explorers—including Elisha Kent Kane, Charles Hall, and Robert Peary—The Coldest Crucible reveals why the North Pole, a region so geographically removed from Americans, became an iconic destination for discovery.
The current image of the Spanish conquest of America and of the conquistadores who carried it out is one of destruction and oppression. One conquistador does not fit that image, however. A life-changing adventure led Cabeza de Vaca to seek a different kind of conquest, one that would be just and humane, true to Spanish religion and law, but one that safeguarded liberty and justice for the Indians of the New World. His use of the skills learned from his experiences with the Indians of North America did not always help him in understanding and managing the Indians of South America, and too many of the Spanish settlers in the Rio de la Plata Province found that his policies threatened their own interests and relations with the Indians. Eventually many of those Spaniards joined a conspiracy that removed him from power and returned him to Spain in chains.
That Cabeza de Vaca was overthrown is not surprising. His ideas and policies opposed the self-interest of most of the first Spaniards who had come to America. What is amazing is that he was able to inspire and hold support among many others in America, who remained loyal to him during his time in prison and after his return to Spain.
"As my sense of the turpitude and guilt of sin was weakened, the vices of the natives appeared less odious and criminal. After a time, I was induced to yield to their allurements, to imitate their manners, and to join them in their sins . . . and it was not long ere I disencumbered myself of my European garment, and contented myself with the native dress. . . ."—from Narrative of the late George Vason, of Nottingham
As George Vason's anguished narrative shows, European encounters with Pacific peoples often proved as wrenching to the Europeans as to the natives. This anthology gathers some of the most vivid accounts of these cultural exchanges for the first time, placing the works of well-known figures such as Captain James Cook and Robert Louis Stevenson alongside the writings of lesser-known explorers, missionaries, beachcombers, and literary travelers who roamed the South Seas from the late seventeenth through the late nineteenth centuries.
Here we discover the stories of the British buccaneers and privateers who were lured to the Pacific by stories of fabulous wealth; of the scientists, cartographers, and natural historians who tried to fit the missing bits of terra incognita into a universal scheme of knowledge; and of the varied settlers who established a permanent European presence in Polynesia and Australia. Through their detailed commentary on each piece and their choice of selections, the editors—all respected scholars of the literature and cultures of the Pacific—emphasize the mutuality of impact of these colonial encounters and the continuity of Pacific cultures that still have the power to transform visitors today.
Volume fifteen of the Utah Historical Quarterly, originally published in 1947, was primarily devoted to Powell’s initial reconnaissance of the canyons of the Green and Colorado rivers, an expedition that would prove to be the last great exploration through unknown country in the continental United States. Powell and nine companions launched from Green River Station, Wyoming, on May 24, 1869, embarking on a journey that would become a race against starvation and death and grow tragic with the deaths of three of the party at the hands of the Shivwits (Paiute) Indians. The maps, field notes, and journals of this first exploration would guide Powell when he returned to the canyons in 1871 for a second expedition.
This volume contains the journals of Major John Wesley Powell, George Young Bradley, Walter Henry Powell, and J. C. Sumner. Also included are various letters and notes by the members of the first expedition, and the journal of Francis Marion Bishop from the second expedition. All of the writings offer vivid descriptions of both adventure and of able and energetic scientific field work, and are of enduring interest and importance.
Copublished with the Utah State Historical Society.
“Danger was all that thrilled him,” Dick Byrd’s mother once remarked, and from his first pioneering aviation adventures in Greenland in 1925, through his daring flights to the top and bottom of the world and across the Atlantic, Richard E. Byrd dominated the American consciousness during the tumultuous decades between the world wars. He was revered more than Charles Lindbergh, deliberately exploiting the public’s hunger for vicarious adventure. Yet some suspected him of being a poseur, and a handful reviled him as a charlatan who claimed great deeds he never really accomplished.
Then he overreached himself, foolishly choosing to endure a blizzard-lashed six-month polar night alone at an advance weather observation post more than one hundred long miles down a massive Antarctic ice shelf. His ordeal proved soul-shattering, his rescue one of the great epics of polar history. As his star began to wane, enemies grew bolder, and he struggled to maintain his popularity and political influence, while polar exploration became progressively bureaucratized and militarized. Yet he chose to return again and again to the beautiful, hateful, haunted secret land at the bottom of the earth, claiming, not without justification, that he was “Mayor of this place.”
Lisle A. Rose has delved into Byrd’s recently available papers together with those of his supporters and detractors to present the first complete, balanced biography of one of recent history’s most dynamic figures. Explorer covers the breadth of Byrd’s astonishing life, from the early days of naval aviation through his years of political activism to his final efforts to dominate Washington’s growing interest in Antarctica. Rose recounts with particular care Byrd’s two privately mounted South Polar expeditions, bringing to bear new research that adds considerable depth to what we already know. He offers views of Byrd’s adventures that challenge earlier criticism of him—including the controversy over his claim to being the first to have flown over the North Pole in 1926—and shows that the critics’ arguments do not always mesh with historical evidence.
Throughout this compelling narrative, Rose offers a balanced view of an ambitious individual who was willing to exaggerate but always adhered to his principles—a man with a vision of himself and the world that inspired others, who cultivated the rich and famous, and who used his notoriety to espouse causes such as world peace. Explorer paints a vivid picture of a brilliant but flawed egoist, offering the definitive biography of the man and armchair adventure of the highest order.
Explorers of the Amazon
Anthony Smith University of Chicago Press, 1993 Library of Congress F2546.S68 1994 | Dewey Decimal 981.1
Explorers of the Amazon vividly describes how European explorers such as Pedro Cabral, Francisco De Orellana, Lope de Aguirre, and Madame Godin encountered the vast wilderness of the Amazon basin; how they searched, exploited, and fought over its riches; and what they learned and failed to learn through four centuries of adventure. Anthony Smith not only enriches this history with fascinating geographical, political, and scientific details but also gives a strong warning to those who continue to exploit this great river's resources.
"The history of Amazonian exploration, wonderfully told by Anthony Smith, is awash with madness—an extravagant mixture of the malevolent and the miraculous."—Stephen Mills, Times Literary Supplement
In 1933 Antarctica was essentially unexplored. Admiral Richard Byrd launched his Second Expedition to chart the southernmost continent, primarily relying on the muscle power of dog teams and their drivers who skied or ran beside the loaded sledges as they traveled. The life-threatening challenges of moving glaciers, invisible crevasses, and horrific storms compounded the difficulties of isolation, darkness, and the unimaginable cold that defined the men’s lives.
Stuart Paine was a dog driver, radio operator, and navigator on the fifty-six-man expedition, the bold and complex venture that is now famous for Byrd’s dramatic rescue from Bolling Advance Weather Base located 115 miles inland. Paine’s diaries represent the only published contemporary account written by a member of the Second Expedition. They reveal a behind-the-scenes look at the contentiousness surrounding the planned winter rescue of Byrd and offer unprecedented insights into the expedition’s internal dynamics.
Equally riveting is Paine’s breathtaking narrative of the fall and summer field operations as the field parties depended on their own resources in the face of interminable uncertainty and peril. Undertaking the longest and most hazardous sledging journey of the expedition, Paine guided the first American party from the edge of the Ross Sea more than seven hundred miles up the Ross Ice Shelf and the massive Thorne (Scott) Glacier to approach the South Pole. He and two other men skied more than fourteen hundred miles in eighty-eight days to explore and map part of Antarctica for the first time.
Footsteps on the Ice reveals the daily struggles, extreme personalities, and the matter-of-fact bravery of early explorers who are now fading into history. Detailing the men’s frustrations, annoyances, and questioning of their leader, Paine’s entries provide rare insight into how Byrd conducted his expeditions. Paine exposes the stresses of living under the snow in Little America during the four-month-long winter night, trapped in dim, crowded huts and black tunnels, while the men uneasily mulled over their leader’s isolation at Advance Base. The fates of Paine’s dogs, which provided some of his most difficult and rewarding experiences, are also described—his relationship with Jack, his lead dog, is an entrancing story in itself.
Featuring previously unpublished photographs and illustrations, Footsteps on the Ice documents the period in Antarctic exploration that bridged the “heroic era” and the modern age of mechanized travel. Depicting almost incomprehensible mental and physical duress and unhesitating courage, Paine’s tale is one of the most compelling stories in polar history, surpassing other accounts with its immediacy and adventure as it captures the majesty and mystery of the untouched Antarctic.
Foreword by Richard Dillon. Between 1842 and 1853, John C. Fremont led five expeditions across the trans-Mississippi West. While the success of his early journeys gained him acclaim as a national hero, his later missions ended in tragedy and ultimately a court-martial. Historian Ferol Egan focuses on Fremont’s explorations, providing a vivid portrait of a courageous man in an emerging young nation.
A Green River Reader
Alan Blackstock University of Utah Press, 2005 Library of Congress F767.G7G74 2005 | Dewey Decimal 917.925
"There is something ominous about a swift river, and something thrilling about a river of any kind."—from Beyond the Hundredth Meridian by Wallace Stegner
Beginning above Flaming Gorge Dam in southwestern Wyoming, the Green River traverses the complete variety of terrain on the Colorado Plateau before joining the Colorado River above Cataract Canyon in southeastern Utah. Like its more famous cousin, the Colorado, the Green has captivated, capsized, and cajoled all types of characters with challenges and beauty to match its geologic variety.
In A Green River Reader editor Alan Blackstock brings this mysterious, magnificent, thrilling river to the reader with an interpretive guide that will inform both river novices and river veterans. Assembled here is every significant written testament to this "awesome ditch," from Domínguez-Escalante to Kit Carson and John C. Frémont; to contemporary American naturalists and writers including Wallace Stegner, Bernard DeVoto, David Brower, Ann Zwinger, Ellen Melloy, and Edward Abbey. Those with a story to tell—those who trapped the Green’s beavers, endured its wild rapids, were humbled by its imposing canyon walls, fought for its beautiful landscapes, or whose "pulse was hurried" by the "lofty chasms, walled in by precipices of red rock"—are collected here.
If you’re headed down the Green, make sure that your dry bag or ammo can has room for just one more thing, your copy of A Green River Reader.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, an epic race was underway in some of the most brutal stretches on the planet. Explorers from around the world hoped to stake their claim on the Arctic, with the North Pole being the ultimate prize. Those with the greatest success found that the fastest way to travel was on four legs—using a team of hardworking sledge dogs.
Harnessed to the Pole follows the adventures of eight American explorers and their dog teams, starting with Elisha Kent Kane and ending with Robert Peary, controversial claimant of the title of first to reach the North Pole. While history has long forgotten these “little camels of the north,” Sheila Nickerson reveals how critical dogs were to the Arctic conquest. Besides providing transportation in extreme conditions, sledge dogs protected against wolves and polar bears, helped in hunting, found their way through storms, and provided warmth in extreme cold. They also faced rough handling, starvation, and the possibility of being left behind as expeditions plunged ahead. Harnessed to the Pole is an extraordinary—and unflinching—look at the dogs that raced to the top of the world.
Though best remembered as an adventurer who entered Mecca in disguise and sought the source of the White Nile, Richard Burton contributed so forcefully to his generation that he provides us with a singularly panoramic perspective on the world of the Victorians. Engagingly written and vigorously argued, this book is an important contribution to our understanding of a remarkable man and a crucial era.
In 2009, 319 years after its publication, and following over a century of copious scholarly speculation about the work, José F. Buscaglia is the first scholar to furnish direct and irrefutable proof that the story contained in the Infortunios/Misfortunes is based on the life and times of a man certifiably named Alonso Ramírez, who was shipwrecked on Herradura Point in the Coast of Yucatán on Sunday September 18, 1689. This first bilingual edition of the Infortunios/Misfortunes reports the findings of almost two decades of sustained research in pursuit, on land and by sea, of a most elusive historical character who was, as we now can attest with all degree of certainty, the first American known to have circumnavigated the globe. Captured by pirates, shipwrecked, and eventually rescued and sent on his way, this is one man’s story of his unanticipated voyage around the Early Modern world. With transcription, translation, notes, maps, images, and critical essay by Jose F. Buscaglia-Salgado, this Rutgers edition is the most complete and authoritative study on a work that grants us privileged access to the intricacies of early American subjectivity.
Joseph Banks: A Life
Patrick O'Brian University of Chicago Press, 1997 Library of Congress QH31.B19O27 1997 | Dewey Decimal 508.42092
One of our greatest writers about the sea has written an engrossing story of one of history's most legendary maritime explorers. Patrick O'Brian's biography of naturalist, explorer and co-founder of Australia, Joseph Banks, is narrative history at its finest. Published to rave reviews, it reveals Banks to be a man of enduring importance, and establishes itself as a classic of exploration.
"It is in his description of that arduous three-year voyage [on the ship Endeavor] that Mr. O'Brian is at his most brilliant. . . . He makes us understand what life within this wooden world was like, with its 94 male souls, two dogs, a cat and a goat."—Linda Colley, New York Times
"An absorbing, finely written overview, meant for the general reader, of a major figure in the history of natural science."—Frank Stewart, Los Angeles Times
"[This book is] the definitive biography of an extraordinary subject."—Robert Taylor, Boston Globe
"His skill at narrative and his extensive knowledge of the maritime history . . . give him a definite leg up in telling this . . . story."—Tom Clark, San Francisco Chronicle
The first biography of an eighteenth-century Basque immigrant who became a silver miner, a cattle rancher, and commander of the cavalry in Sonora, Mexico. The name of Juan Bautista de Anza the younger is a fairly familiar one in the contemporary Southwest because of the various streets, schools, and other places that bear his name. Few people, however, are familiar with his father, the elder Juan Bautista de Anza, whose activities were crucial to the survival of the tenuous and far-flung settlements of Spain’s northernmost colonial frontier. For this first comprehensive biography of the elder Anza, Donald T. Garate spent more than ten years researching archives in Spain and the Americas. The result is a lively picture of the Spanish borderlands and the hardy, ambitious colonists who peopled them.
An early Spanish explorer’s account of American Indians.
This volume mines the Pardo documents to reveal a wealth of information pertaining to Pardo’s routes, his encounters and interactions with native peoples, the social, hierarchical, and political structures of the Indians, and clues to the ethnic identities of Indians known previously only through archaeology. The new afterword reveals recent archaeological evidence of Pardo’s Fort San Juan--the earliest site of sustained interaction between Europeans and Indians--demonstrating the accuracy of Hudson’s route reconstructions.
The challenge of opening Africa and Australia to British imperial influence fell to a coterie of proto-professional explorers who sought knowledge, adventure, and fame but often experienced confusion, fear, and failure. The Last Blank Spaces follows the arc of these explorations, from idea to practice, intention to outcome, myth to reality.
From the intense and brooding Magellan and the glamorous and dashing Sir Francis Drake; to Thomas Cavendish, who set off to plunder Spain’s American gold and the Dutch circumnavigators, whose numbers included pirates as well as explorers and merchants, Robert Silverberg captures the adventures and seafaring exploits of a bygone era.
Over the course of a century, European circumnavigators in small ships charted the coast of the New World and explored the Pacific Ocean. Characterized by fierce nationalism, competitiveness, and bloodshed, The Longest Voyage: Circumnavigators in the Age of Discovery captures the drama, danger, and personalities in the colorful story of the first voyages around the world. These accounts begin with Magellan’s unprecedented 1519–22 circumnavigation, providing an immediate, exciting, and intimate glimpse into that historic venture. The story includes frequent threats of mutiny; the nearly unendurable extremes of heat, cold, hunger, thirst, and fatigue; the fear, tedium, and moments of despair; the discoveries of exotic new peoples and strange new lands; and, finally, Magellan’s own dramatic death during a fanatical attempt to convert native Philippine islanders to Christianity.
Capturing the total context of political climate and historical change that made the Age of Discovery one of excitement and drama, Silverberg brings a motley crew of early ocean explorers vividly to life.
In 1870, Truman Everts visited what would two years later become Yellowstone National Park, traveling with an exploration party intent on mapping and investigating that mysterious region. Scattered reports of a mostly unexplored wilderness filled with natural wonders had caught the public’s attention and the fifty-four-year-old Everts, near-sighted and an inexperienced woodsman, had determined to join the expedition. He was soon separated from the rest of the party and from his horse, setting him on a grueling quest for survival. For over a month he wandered Yellowstone alone and injured, with little food, clothing, or other equipment. In “Thirty-seven Days of Peril” he recounted his experiences for the readers of Scribner’s Monthly.
In June 1996, Everts’s granddaughter arrived at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park to meet with park archivist Lee Whittlesey. She brought two documents that her father had kept hidden and both were handwritten by Everts. One was a brief autobiography that gave new insight into his early life. The other was a never-published alternative account of his confused 1870 journey through Yellowstone. Both have been added to this volume, further enhancing Everts’s unlikely tale of survival.
The history of Michigan is a fascinating story of breathtaking geography enriched by an abundant water supply, of bold fur traders and missionaries who developed settlements that grew into major cities, of ingenious entrepreneurs who established thriving industries, and of celebrated cultural icons like the Motown sound. It is also the story of the exploitation of Native Americans, racial discord that resulted in a devastating riot, and ongoing tensions between employers and unions. Michigan: A History of Explorers, Entrepreneurs, and Everyday People recounts this colorful past and the significant role the state has played in shaping the United States. Well-researched and engagingly written, the book spans from Michigan’s geologic formation to important 21st-century developments in a concise but detailed chronicle that will appeal to general readers, scholars, and students interested in Michigan’s past, present, and future.
For years, schoolchildren heard the story of Jean Nicolet’s arrival in Wisconsin. But the popularized image of the hapless explorer landing with billowing robe and guns blazing, supposedly believing himself to have found a passage to China, is based on scant evidence—a false narrative perpetuated by fanciful artists’ renditions and repetition.
In more recent decades, historians have pieced together a story that is not only more likely but more complicated and interesting. Patrick Jung synthesizes the research about Nicolet and his superior Samuel de Champlain, whose diplomatic goals in the region are crucial to understanding this much misunderstood journey across the Great Lakes. Additionally, historical details about Franco-Indian relations and the search for the Northwest Passage provide a framework for understanding Nicolet’s famed mission.
From Sir John Franklin's doomed 1845 search for the Northwest Passage to early twentieth-century sprints to the South Pole, polar expeditions produced an extravagant archive of documents that are as varied as they are engaging. As the polar ice sheets melt, fragments of this archive are newly emergent. In The News at the Ends of the Earth Hester Blum examines the rich, offbeat collection of printed ephemera created by polar explorers. Ranging from ship newspapers and messages left in bottles to menus and playbills, polar writing reveals the seamen wrestling with questions of time, space, community, and the environment. Whether chronicling weather patterns or satirically reporting on penguin mischief, this writing provided expedition members with a set of practices to help them survive the perpetual darkness and harshness of polar winters. The extreme climates these explorers experienced is continuous with climate change today. Polar exploration writing, Blum contends, offers strategies for confronting and reckoning with the extreme environment of the present.
"The Powell Expedition is a thought-provoking, nuanced work that reads at times like a detective story, and it should offer much fodder for historians."
—TheWall Street Journal
John Wesley Powell’s 1869 expedition down the Green and Colorado Rivers and through the Grand Canyon continues to be one of the most celebrated adventures in American history, ranking with the Lewis and Clark expedition and the Apollo landings on the moon. For nearly twenty years Lago has researched the Powell expedition from new angles, traveled to thirteen states, and looked into archives and other sources no one else has searched. He has come up with many important new documents that change and expand our basic understanding of the expedition by looking into Powell’s crewmembers, some of whom have been almost entirely ignored by Powell historians. Historians tended to assume that Powell was the whole story and that his crewmembers were irrelevant. More seriously, because several crew members made critical comments about Powell and his leadership, historians who admired Powell were eager to ignore and discredit them.
Lago offers a feast of new and important material about the river trip, and it will significantly rewrite the story of Powell’s famous expedition. This book is not only a major work on the Powell expedition, but on the history of American exploration of the West.
When William Beebe needed to know what was going on in the depths of the ocean, he had himself lowered a half-mile down in a four-foot steel sphere to see-five times deeper than anyone had ever gone in the 1930s. When he wanted to trace the evolution of pheasants in 1910, he trekked on foot through the mountains and jungles of the Far East to locate every species. To decipher the complex ecology of the tropics, he studied the interactions of every creature and plant in a small area from the top down, setting the emerging field of tropical ecology into dynamic motion.
William Beebe's curiosity about the natural world was insatiable, and he did nothing by halves. As the first biographer to see the letters and private journals Beebe kept from 1887 until his death in 1962, science writer Carol Grant Gould brings the life and times of this groundbreaking scientist and explorer compellingly to light.
From the Galapagos Islands to the jungles of British Guiana, from the Bronx Zoo to the deep seas, Beebe's biography is a riveting adventure. A best-selling author in his own time, Beebe was a fearless explorer and thoughtful scientist who put his life on the line in pursuit of knowledge. The unique glimpses he provided into the complex web of interactions that keeps the earth alive and breathing have inspired generations of conservationists and ecologists. This exciting biography of a great naturalist brings William Beebe at last to the recognition he deserves.
"This re-issued biography recounts [Kino's] work with loving detail and with an accuracy that has survived slight amendments. Its accompanying plates, maps, and bibliography enhance a text that should find a place in every serious library."—Religious Studies Review
"This is truly an epic work, an absolute standard for any Southwestern collection."—Book Talk
Select maps from the 1984 edition of Rim of Christendom are now available online through the UA Campus Repository.
Sand, Wind, and War records the work, travels and adventures of one of the last of the great British explorers, a man who served in both world wars and carved out a special niche in science through his studies of desert sands.
Ralph Alger Bagnold was born in 1896 into a military family and educated as an engineer. Posted to Egypt in 1926, he was one of a group of officers who adapted Model T Fords to desert travel and in 1932 made the first east-west crossing—6,000 miles—of the Libyan desert. Bagnold established such a name for himself that in World War II he was again posted to Egypt where he founded and trained the Long Range Desert Group that was to confound the German and Italian armies.
Bagnold’s fascination with the desert included curiosity over the formation of dunes, and beginning in 1935 he conducted wind tunnel experiments with sand that led to the book The Physics of Blown Sand and Desert Dunes. Eventually, he was to see his findings called on by NASA to interpret data on the sands of Mars. He devoted subsequent research to particle flow in fluids, and also served as a consultant to Middle Eastern governments concerned with the interference of sand flow in oil drilling. Sand, Wind, and War is the life story of a man who not only helped shape events in one part of the world but also contributed to our understanding of it. It is a significant benchmark not only in the history of science, but also in the annals of adventure.
John Wesley Powell was an American original. He was the last of the nation's great continental explorers and the first of a new breed of public servant: part scientist, part social reformer, part institution builder. His work and life reveal an enduringly valuable way of thinking about land, water, and society as parts of an interconnected whole; he was America's first great bioregional thinker.
Seeing Things Whole presents John Wesley Powell in the full diversity of his achievements and interests, bringing together in a single volume writings ranging from his gripping account of exploring the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon to his views on the evolution of civilization, along with the seminal writings in which he sets forth his ideas on western settlement and the allocation and management of western resources.
The centerpiece of Seeing Things Whole is a series of selections from the famous 1878 Report on the Lands of the Arid Region and related magazine articles in which Powell further develops the themes of the report. In those, he recommends organizing the Arid Lands into watershed commonwealths governed by resident citizens whose interlocking interests create the checks and balances essential to wise stewardship of the land. This was the central focus of John Wesley Powell's bioregional vision, and it remains a model for governance that many westerners see as a viable solution to the resource management conflicts that continue to bedevil the region.
Throughout the collection, award-winning writer and historian William deBuys brilliantly sets the historical context for Powell's work. Section introductions and extensive descriptive notes take the reader through the evolution of John Wesley Powell's interests and ideas from his role as an officer in the Civil War through his critique of Social Darwinism and landmark categorization of Indian languages, to the climatic yet ultimately futile battles he fought to win adoption of his land-use proposals.
Seeing Things Whole presents the essence of the extraordinary legacy that John Wesley Powell has left to the American people, and to people everywhere who strive to reconcile the demands of society with the imperatives of the land.
Eighteenth-century Danish explorer Vitus Bering led historic expeditions to the Russian Far East and Alaska under the patronage of Peter the Great, and his wife Anna Christina accompanied him on his expedition to Okhotsk in 1739. The sixteen letters that they wrote over the following year make up the core of this volume, which features facing-page translations from the original German. The documents offer an intimate look into eighteenth-century customs, as well as the explorer’s family life and daily routine. Also featured is an inventory of goods that Anna Christina brought back to Moscow after Bering’s death in 1742, revealing key insights into the types of goods available in Russia at the time. Until Death Do Us Part is a richly informative volume that will be essential for all those interested in European history and travel writing.
Strange as it may seem today, William Clark—best known as the American explorer who joined Meriwether Lewis in leading an overland expedition to the Pacific—has many more claims to fame than his legendary Voyage of Discovery, dramatic and daring though that venture may have been. Although studies have been published on virtually every aspect of the Lewis and Clark journey, Wilderness Journey is the first comprehensive account of Clark’s lengthy and multifaceted life.
Following Lewis and Clark’s great odyssey, Clark’s service as a soldier, Indian diplomat, and government official placed him at center stage in the national quest to possess and occupy North America’s vast western hinterland and prefigured U.S. policies in the region. In his personal life, Clark had to overcome challenges no less daunting than those he faced in the public arena. Foley pays careful attention to the family and business dimensions of Clark’s private world, adding richness to this well-rounded and revealing portrait of the man and his courageous life.
Coinciding with the bicentennial in 2004 of the departure of Lewis and Clark’s famed Corps of Discovery, Wilderness Journey fills a major gap in scholarship. Intended for the general reader, as well as for specialists in the field, this fascinating book provides a well-balanced and thorough account of one of America’s most significant frontiersmen.
William H. Emory: Soldier-Scientist
L. David Norris, James C. Milligan, and Odie B. Faulk University of Arizona Press, 1998 Library of Congress CT275.E496N67 1998 | Dewey Decimal 973.5092
Soldier and explorer William H. Emory traveled the length and breadth of the United States and participated in some of the most significant events of the nineteenth century. This first complete biography of Emory offers new insights into an often-overlooked military figure and provides an important view of an expanding America.
Born in Maryland in 1811, Emory was a West Point graduate who resigned his commission to become a civil engineer and join the newly formed Corps of Topographical Engineers. After working along the Canadian boundary, he was selected to accompany Stephen Watts Kearny and the Army of the West in their trek to California in 1846, and his map from that expedition helped guide Forty-Niners bound for the goldfields.
Emory worked for nine years on the new border between the United States and Mexico after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden Purchase and was responsible for the survey and marking of the boundary. When the Civil War broke out, Emory refused a commission in the Confederate Army, instead commanding a regiment defending Washington, D.C. Later he saw action at Manassas, in the Red River campaign, and in the Shenandoah Valley, where he served under Phil Sheridan.
This biography draws on Emory’s personal papers to reveal other significant episodes of his life. While commanding a cavalry unit in Indian Territory, he was the only officer to bring an entire command out of insurrectionary territory. In hostile action of a different kind, he was a major witness in the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson and offered testimony that helped save the president.
William H. Emory: Soldier-Scientist is an important resource for scholars of western expansion and the Civil War. More than that, it is a rousing story of an unsung but distinguished hero of his time.