Saturday, November 03, 2007

Five best books on exploration

Laurence Bergreen, author of the recently published Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu, named a five best list of books on exploration for Opinion Journal.

One title from his list:

Travels With Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski (Knopf, 2007).

In his last work, Polish writer Ryszard Kapuscinski, who died earlier this year, contrasts his own curiously low-key and enigmatic travels through India, Africa and China in the 1960s and '70s with accounts left by the granddaddy of all travel writers and historians, Herodotus, who lived in the fifth century B.C. But Kapuscinski resists facile then-and-now comparisons. Pondering his first sight of the Nile in 1960, or witnessing a Louis Armstrong performance in the Sudan, he examines different worlds and historical periods through the prism of his own melancholy sensibility. Nothing in this multidimensional work is quite what it seems, because Kapuscinski writes like a reporter and thinks like a poet. He acts as if it were the most natural thing in the world to live one's entire life out of time and out of place.
Read about Number One on Bergreen's list.

--Marshal Zeringue