Across the centuries and from many lands, women have set forth on journeys of exploration. Visionaries, adventurers, artists, and scientists, these women challenged the limitations, both physical and social, of their times and, in the face of formidable challenges, expanded the world's body of knowledge.
Yet despite their extraordinary achievements, they have remained unknown and unsung for too long.
No longer. The stories of more than eighty extraordinary explorers and adventurers are vividly recounted and stunningly illustrated in Women of Discovery. Here for the first time are gathered the tales of early voyagers, such as the valiant tenth-century Viking adventurer Unn the Deep Minded and seventeenth-century Spanish conquistadora Catalina de Erauso. Intrepid explorers like Mary Kingsley in Africa, Alexandra David-Neel in Tibet, and Freya Stark in the Middle East traveled fearlessly into the blank spaces on the map. Artist explorers, including the great botanical painter Anna Maria Sibylla Merian in Surinam, writer Zora Neale Hurston in Haiti, and photographer Ruth Robertson in South America, captured in their art the beauty and mystery of exotic lands. Many brave women have ventured into extreme environments to bring back knowledge, whether they were aviators like Amelia Earhart, mountaineers like Annie Smith Peck, or Arctic explorers like Irina and Valentina Kuznetsova. And the annals of science would be far poorer without the work of such women as primatologists Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, ethnobotanist Nicole Maxwell, and ichthyologist Eugenie Clark.
This is truly a gathering of heroines, full of tales of courage, talent, intelligence, and sheer determination. With a foreword by renowned journalist Christiane Amanpour, Women of Discovery is a remarkable book, an achievement in its own right, and certain to thrill anyone captivated by the world-changing drama of exploration.
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Before graduating from Harvard in 1976, Milbry Polk journeyed through Greece, Turkey, Persia, Pakistan, and Japan, surveyed Arthurian sites in Wales, traveled with Bedouin tribesmen in Jordan and Egypt, and kayaked throughout Alaska's Prince William Sound. In 1979 Milbry led a camel expedition retracing the route of Alexander the Great across Egypt. Her photojournalistic work includes stories on sailing the Mediterranean, ancient rock carvings in the Saudi Arabian desert, and rafting above the Arctic Circle. Her previous book was Egyptian Mummies. She is a member of the Explorers Club and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. She lives outside of New York City with her husband and three daughters.
Designer and writer Mary Tiegreen has been exploring the art of books and book making for most of her life. She has had the opportunity to learn about diverse areas of interest, including the history of Hollywood (MGM: When the Lion Roared), cooking and magic (The Secrets of Pistoulet), fashion (A Passion for Shoes), sex (TarotSutra), and golf (Let the Big Dog Eat). Women of Discovery is her first foray into the world of exploration. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband, Hubert, and big dog, Daisy.
Adult/High School-"Celebration" is indeed the word for this exuberant assemblage of 84 amazing and outrageous individuals. Polk's vivid narratives capture the essence of each fascinating life and adventure, while Tiegreen's remarkable graphics create a sense of authenticity and immediacy, wrapping each account in a style that suits it perfectly. Readers feel they are witnesses to history thanks to well-chosen, first-person observations and ample visual contents such as contemporary maps, memorabilia, photos, and art. The "women of discovery" include aristocrats and paupers, ancient Vikings and modern scientists still in their prime. Some lives were more terrible than triumphant, but all "made comprehensible a part of the world that we didn't know, understand, or appreciate until they revealed it to us." The stories are loosely grouped into five freewheeling sections, each with a brief but thought-provoking introduction describing "Early Voyagers," "Intrepid Explorers," "Scientific Explorers," "Artist Explorers," and "Explorers on the Edge." Although a few of the names are well known (Maria Mitchell, Dian Fossey, Zora Neale Hurston), most will come as a complete surprise to readers, who will be wondering why they've never heard of these women before. This beautiful book is a browser's dream, but it should be equally attractive to students as a rich source of interesting research subjects. The authors hope that this book will guide anyone "[setting] forth on his or her own voyage of discovery."-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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