Emerging from jungle, desert or ice-cap, explorers - the celebrities of their day - were hailed as if back from the dead. Journalists fought for their stories and publishers rushed their narratives to a voracious audience. John Keay, former editor of the Royal Geographical Society's History of World Exploration, has selected and introduced the original first-hand narratives of many of these heroes, including Ross's and Franklin's experiences in the Arctic, Huc's account of the "Forbidden City" of Lhasa, and the last poignant accounts of Wills in Australia and Scott in Antarctica. This collection makes gripping reading, enhanced by the recollections and "insider knowledge" of John Keay's observations.
John Keay is the former editor of the Royal Geographical Society's History of World Exploration but is best known today as a travel writer with special knowledge of South Asia. His most recent book A History of India was published in March this year, and he has written many more titles including Explorers of the Western Himalayas, 1820-1895 (1996), The Collins Encyclopedia of Scotland (1999 & 2000 editions)and The Great Arc (2000). When not travelling he lives in Argyll, Scotland.