Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2006 Issue

Travel Books from Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books

Travel2006

Travel 2006 from Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books
is prepared to take you for a trip around the world in their latest catalogue, Travel 2006. Offered are over 400 travel items, mostly from Europe, but the travelers spread from that continent to all over the world. For collectors with a wanderlust, this is an outstanding collection.

Shapero breaks their travels down to various sections of the catalogue based on the destination: Africa, Americas, Central Asia, Europe, Far East, Greece and Ottoman, India and South East Asia, Middle East, Russia, Pacific, Antarctic and Voyages. There is also a section on Mountaineering. So pack your bags and we'll take a brief tour of the travels and lands to which Shapero is ready to take you.

One of the major discoveries, at least for Europeans (some Africans always knew the answer), was locating the source of the Nile. Richard Burton was the foremost 19th century traveler seeking this answer, but the solution finally fell to his associate, John Speke. Burton did not believe Speke's assertions based on a journey they took together, but Speke would return to Africa without Burton and finally lay the dispute to rest. Speke provides the answer in his 1863 book, Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile. Priced at £950 (British pounds, or US equivalent of $1,742).

Burton was already the major inland explorer of Africa and the Middle East at the time, which led him to take a hiatus from these travels around 1860. Instead, he went to America. He published his travelogue in 1861, The City of the Saints and across the Rocky Mountains to California. This journey began in New Orleans, and reached California before it ended. However, perhaps the most notable part of Burton's observations concerned the Mormon colony and his meeting Brigham Young. His objective and relatively nonjudgmental views of a group still despised by a great many people brought Burton much criticism. Item 35. £900 (US $ 1,651).

By 1872, Burton must have been running out of traditional places to visit. This time, he accepted an offer to explore the sulfur mining potential of Iceland. Despite its name, Iceland is home to numerous sulfuric hot springs, and for many years, the condensed sulfur was mined. Burton extensively toured the island and reported his findings in 1875 in the two-volume set, Ultima Thule, or, a Summer in Iceland. Item 125. £1,000 (US $1,835).

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