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The Adventurer’s Handbook: Life Lessons from History's Great Explorers

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  123 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
What makes a good explorer? Adaptability, ambition, stamina, self-belief, doggedness, curiosity, optimism, authority, hardiness -- and fund-raising ability.

A powerful punch of self-help, how-to, popular history, and humor. In this celebration of the glory days of exploration, Mick Conefrey takes a new look at the larger-than-life tales of many famous American and European
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published February 28th 2006 by Smithsonian (first published October 3rd 2005)
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Jan 12, 2009 Karen rated it liked it
The raw material of this book is a fascinating (if occasionally grisly) collection of exploration stories, mostly centered around the 19th and 20th centuries. Everest, the North and South pole, and expeditions across Africa and Australia are covered, among others. The book had a good level of detail. My only real complaint is that the author tried to organize the book around "lessons" that can be learned. This meant that the stories tended to be broken up. For example, chapter one is called "Get ...more
May 03, 2011 Jesse rated it really liked it
I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. I expected it to be very objective and uninvolved. Instead, Conefrey provided interesting, narrative examples from various expeditions. He talked about the value of teamwork, good leadership, planning, knowing the native animals and peoples, quality equipment, transportation, etc. In each instance, he provided an example from an expedition to showcase his point.

While he drew from expeditions of Australia, north African desert, Canadian wildern
Sep 22, 2009 Oceana2602 rated it really liked it
This book was everything it promised to be, and more, because it contained a lot more historical information than I was prepared for - and that made me like it even better.

The authro focuses maybe a little bit too much on team-spirit and leadership, after all, that seems to be one thing you cannot learn by reading about it. But I guess it also makes for the more interesting stories, so he's forgiven.

Altogether, great fun! Everything you ever needed to know in order to survive your latest expedit
Nick Woodall
Lot's of interesting and esoteric stuff in this book.
Nov 27, 2007 Summer rated it liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs, mountaineers, and modern-day explorers
First-person accounts and diary excerpts, harrowing expeditions, nothing but the facts. When people see me reading this, they think it's one of those "Worst Case Scenario" or "Zombie Survival Guide" books. But it's not. It's a well-researched run-down on successful and tragically unsuccessful trips into unexplored lands over the past couple hundred years. So don't let the bargain-book cover fool you!
Jan 17, 2011 Nora rated it liked it
Shelves: 100bookyear
A curious mix of advice for explorers and tales of historical figures. Somehow, it works - I didn't pick it up looking for super-technical advice, and Conefrey has plenty of exciting stories to tell about successful and unsuccessful expeditions. Would be nicely accompanied with a few historical accounts of the expeditions mentioned in the book. Review at
Apr 08, 2010 Caro rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An overview of mostly English 19th- and 20th-century explorers, focusing on how you assemble a team, raise money, lead the team and make the often fatal decision to press on or turn back. A quick read and an enticing introduction to some books and explorers I had not known of, including Englishman Eric Shipton.
Alan Thomson
Sep 14, 2011 Alan Thomson rated it it was amazing
An Excellent book, the stories of Great Explorers of the 19th & 20th century.The book taught me a lot and inspired me in times of defeat when ever I was on an expedition .Over all good book to read
Jul 06, 2014 Ahmad rated it really liked it
Lots of intresting anecdotes, information and exploration advice. A good book.
Jan 07, 2013 Jean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice roundup of classic explorers. A bit repetitive though.
Nov 09, 2009 yengyeng rated it really liked it
How not to deal with an anaconda attack.
May 07, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Impulse buy today and I can't put it down.
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Mick Conefrey is the author of the award-winning Adventurer’s Handbook and How to Climb Mont Blanc in a Skirt. An internationally recognised filmmaker, he has produced several BBC documentaries on mountaineering and exploration, including The Race for Everest. He lives in north Oxford with his family.
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