Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2008 Issue

Australian Bookseller Releases Massive Encyclopedia of Exploration

Encex

The Encyclopedia of Exploration, offered by Hordern House.


By Michael Stillman

Hordern House Rare Books of Sydney, Australia, has announced the publication of the fourth and final volume in their massive Encyclopedia of Exploration. The author is Ray Howgego, a one-time physics teacher who has spent the past 15 years working on this thorough reference. Mr. Howgego has traveled all over the world, many times retracing the footsteps of the early explorers, to access local sources of knowledge. The result is what Hordern describes as "a work unlike any other in its combination of historical, biographical and bibliographical data." For those in need of a thorough reference of travel and exploration, be it as a bookseller specializing in the field, or for any other reason, this is one you will want.

Volume I covers exploration to 1800. Here you can look for the voyages of Columbus and Magellan to the three of Cook, and many in between. Indeed, if you are assuming Columbus to be Christopher, he is, of course, in this encyclopedia, but so is Bartolomeo, Diego, Fernando, Giacomo, and Luis. This was certainly the golden age of exploration, as the world, at least to European eyes, grew from just Europe, northern Africa and western Asia, to encompass the full complement of continents known today. Meanwhile, an imagined massive southern continent was proved not to exist, and Atlantis never found. This is the largest volume in the series as it covers such a long period of time and the most spectacular discoveries.

Volume II covers 1800-1850, and this is the era of some of the most notable of American explorers. Naturally, Lewis and Clark head this list, but you will also find Zebulon Pike, John Charles Fremont, Henry Schoolcraft and Charles Wilkes. Polar exploration picked up speed as attempts to the find a Northwest Passage, or even a Northeast one, grew. Here we find John Ross (and James) and the ill-fated Sir John Franklin. This was also the major period of Australian exploration, and you will find the likes of Matthew Flinders and others.

Volume III runs from 1850 to 1940 for the Oceans, Islands, and Polar Regions. This will cover the final conquering of the Poles and the Northwest Passage, with Roald Amundsen and Robert Peary, and those who conquered them too late or not at all, Robert Falcon Scott, Frederick Cook, and Ernest Shackleton.

The just completed Volume IV also covers the years 1850-1940, but this time for Continental Exploration. This includes the period of some of the greatest explorations of the long dark continent of Africa, so you will read about Richard Burton and John Speke, Henry Stanley and David Livingstone.

All told, there are more than 3,500 articles, with over 15,000 indexed names of persons or ships. There are 10,000 cross-references within the articles, and almost 50,000 bibliographical citations. This set will almost surely afford the information you need about anyone and anything pertaining exploration, even Giacomo Columbus. Volumes one and four are priced at $295 Australian, volumes two and three $245. Better yet, for a limited time, you can buy all four for $950 Australian, or roughly $893 in U.S. dollars. Shipments are made worldwide. You may place your order on the internet at www.hordern.com/publications/explorers.htm.

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