Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Review : Into The Unknown : How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea and Air

Title : Into The Unknown

Author : Stewart Ross

Illustrator : Stephen Biesty

Publisher : Walker Books

Age : 8+ years

Air, Water, Land - The three most fundamental requisites of life. With evolution and the development of complex brain cells, the human beings continued climbing the hierarchy of needs step by step. Once the faculties to satisfy the basic needs were developed and honed, the eagerness to know the environment arose and this led many inquisitive minds to think, imagine and question beyond what they could see. Their undying curiosity led them to take the never travelled paths, their determination equipped them to surpass mighty hurdles on their ways and their indomitable spirits eventually made them pioneers. The names of these individuals qualified to be engraved in the annals of history among the mortals who became immortals. As the author puts it - "The courage and determination of the individual men and women in this book are why we know so much about the beauty, majesty and mystery of our world."

Besides being the most essential life creating and sustaining elements - Land, Air and Water also provide the conduits to the explorers in their quest to know the unknown.

The book begins with the adventure of Pytheas the Greek - who sailed to the Arctic Circle in 340 BC in a very primitive boat without even having the very basic compass for assistance, to the year 1969 when history was made by the crew of Apollo 11 which landed on moon. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay do not need any introduction, their names have almost become synonymous to the mighty Mt. Everest. Through the stories behind each adventure and the vivid details presented with the illustrations, the readers actually feel like - sailing with Christopher Columbus to the Caribbean, circumnavigating the world with Ferdinand Magellan, crossing the Indian Ocean with Admiral Zheng, experiencing putting the first foot on moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and many more such exhilarating highs.

The commendable of this book is how the content is arranged and depicted through illustrations. Each adventure comes with the zoomed in map of the specific region from where the journey began, the detailed route that the explorer took, the various navigation tools used on the way, the different gears used and the kind of boats/ships/airships/gondolas/rockets that took them closer to their dreams.

The cover page of the book is a complete delight. It is actually a folded world map and on opening it, you get a full view of all the significant explorations with exact paths charted out. A great book that gives detailed information about how the efforts of some of the adventurous minds help put the puzzle pieces of our world together for us to understand and savor.

Image Source : GoodReads

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