Explorers: The Most Exciting Voyages of Discovery -- From the African Expeditions to the Lunar Landing
This photo- and fact-filled book, in which nearly every page is a generously illustrated double gatefold, lands on the table with an undeniable thud and details 58 expeditions from the past 150 years-from Robert Peary and Matthew Henson's trek to the North Pole in 1909 to Edmund Hillary's 1953 climb up Everest (called by Tibetans ""the mother goddess of the world"") to Neil Armstrong's ""one small step"" onto the moon in 1969. De Porti, a writer and editor for Charta and art director of Alumina, chose these stories for their ""cultural and scientific significance"" and combines often-unseen images (readers will find reproductions of pages from travel journals, maps and sketches among the hundreds of archival photos) with explorer biographies and travel narratives. De Porti recounts failed as well as successful expeditions, and it's the former that resonate most, notably the doomed adventure of Robert Falcon Scott, who, after reaching the South Pole, discovered Roald Amundsen had planted the Norwegian flag there barely a month prior. Scott died on the return journey. Though some explorers' intentions were more noble than others (expanding colonial interests played no small role in many expeditions), the creative way these journeys are presented will impress armchair adventurers.