THE GREAT TRAVELERS by Milton-Ed. Rugoff


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This long and well-edited anthology consists of more than a hundred selections from first-hand accounts of travel to all parts of the world, from Herodotus, who tells of Egypt in 450 B.C., to Thor Heyerdahl's description of the statues on Easter Island in the 1950's. Marco Polo visits Persia in the 13th century; Richard Burton writes of Mecca in 1855; the intrepid Isabella Bird Bishop reaches the Upper Yangtze River in 1897. Here William Bligh gives his version of the Bounty mutiny; Stanley finds Livingstone; in 1865 Anna Leonownes writes of the Romance of the Harem in Siam, the book that became the charming Anna and the King of Siam. It is gratifying to find selections from Mary Kingsley's shamefully neglected Travels in West Africa (1895) and Rebecca West's Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, but one misses Dr. Johnson's encounter with the Hebrides and Mrs. Trollope's and Harriet Martineau's impressions of early 19th century America. As is inevitable in a collection of this scope there is a certain sameness to many of the accounts, partly due to translation, partly to similarity of subject, but this is a minor fault. An excellent ""family book"", this lengthy anthology is one for occasional reading over the years.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster