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Exploration: A Very Short Introduction

Stewart A. Weaver

12 March 2015

ISBN: 9780199946952

152 pages

Very Short Introductions

Price: £8.99



This clear, succinct, and elegant contribution to the Very Short Introduction series surveys the history of global exploration and assesses the motives, for good and ill, of those who undertook it. Stewart Weaver traces the history of exploration from the first explorers (including Polynesian and Micronesian peoples, the ancient Greeks, Marco Polo, and Ibn Battúta), to the European discover of America, the Enlightenment and exploration (focusing on James Cook),and the race to the north and south poles.

  • Places the explorer and the act of exploration in the context of the natural history of the earth itself
  • Makes an original argument that exploration happens at the intersection of nature and power
  • Surveys the history of exploration from the ancient to the modern periods

About the Author(s)

Stewart A. Weaver, Professor of History, University of Rochester

Stewart A. Weaver is a Professor of History, University of Rochester. He is the co-author (with Maurice Isserman) of Fallen Giants: A History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes, which won the National Outdoor Book Award for History and Biography and the Banff Mountain Festival Award for mountaineering history.

Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    1 What is (and is not) Exploration?
    2 The Peopling of the Earth
    3 First Forays
    4 The Age of Exploration
    5 Exploration and the Enlightenment
    6 Exploration and Empire
    7 The Ends of the Earth
    Epilogue: Final Frontiers?
    Further Reading


"In 35,000 words (130 pages) is it possible to give appropriate scope to the subject as a whole and still say something meaningful about he explorer, the subaltern, the contact zone or the encounter? In Stewart Weaver's hands, yes. Written with a deft touch, his account of exploration gives scope while still finding room for subjects that require special detail and analysis." - Studies in Travel Writing