Even if you can persuade an eleven-year-old (for whom the text is written) to pick up a book of this size, he will be put off first by the inauspicious combination of oversized illustrations and extra small type, then by the minimal quality of the illustrations, finally by the skimpiness of the text itself. It's a mixed bag of Conquerors, Discoverers, Empire Builders and Modern Adventurers. At best there's no pretense about posterity's judgments: ""the majority were scarcely models of integrity and honour,"" but the sketchy (300-500 words) treatment precludes thoroughness and leads to instant swashbucklings. Many (Alexander, Caesar, Magellan, aviation pioneers, polar explorers) should be familiar from geography class but a few are relatively unknown: the privateer Jean Bart; Cervantes as a sailor ""torn between the rival attractions of the pen and the sword""; volcano investigator Tazieff; the conquerors of Everest and Annapurna, spelunking Martell and Casteret. Unfortunately the ""adventures"" are too short to be of much value.