One of the benefits of writing and hosting a history related blog is the frequent requests I receive to review books and films. I recently received one such request from Mr. John McFeely of the National Geographic Society. Mr. McFeely contacted me asking me to take a look at their new book, National Geographic Exploration Experience, by Beau Riffenburgh. Though not exactly on topic for my blog, I decided to accept the book and take a look at it. Wow! Am I glad I did!
Not only is the book very informative and a fascinating read, it has a beautifully designed hardcover with a very attractive hard slipcase as well. Loaded with illustrations, photos, fold out maps, inserts, and an interactive CD, this would make a great gift for anyone interested in the history of exploration. I love the title's reference to "heroic exploits" and this book is the type any man (or boy) would want to sit up with late at night, next to a roaring fire with a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate and relive the compelling stories recounted by the author. With an "Indiana Jones" feel and look to it, adventure and discoveries practically leap from every page. I think it would appeal especially to a teen-age boy interested in the subject of exploration and adventure, though it is certainly worthy of older readers as well.
"Throughout the book, more than 30 rare and newly reproduced removable documents put history directly into readers’ hands: Hernán Cortés’s hand-drawn map of Tenochtitlan, David Livingstone’s watercolor of Victoria Falls, a dinner menu featuring Ernest Shackleton’s sketch of his planned trip to Antarctica, and many more. A wealth of photographs, maps, artifacts, and portraits enhance Beau Riffenburgh’s fascinating text as it covers the exploration of all seven continents. Sidebars delve into everything from navigational instruments to terminology to biographies. The book’s organization invites readers to "dip in" to any page and find a fascinating story, or read from start to finish. With a handsome slipcase and more than 200 color photographs packed into 80 pages, Exploration Experience engages both the eye and the mind. An exploration in itself, this lavish book creates a unique history adventure for both armchair and "on-the-ground" explorers of every age." ~ Amazon
If you're looking for something truly unique to give as a gift this year and want to give something that will be treasured for a lifetime, then this book should be high atop your list.