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The Last Explorer: Hubert Wilkins, Hero of the Great Age of Polar Exploration
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The Last Explorer: Hubert Wilkins, Hero of the Great Age of Polar Exploration

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  175 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
This riveting biography recounts the life of the world's first truly modern explorer, a life of unrelenting adventure and the high drama of polar exploration. Hubert Wilkins was the most successful explorer in history: no one saw with his own eyes more undiscovered land and sea. Largely self-taught, he was a celebrated reporter, pilot, spy, war hero, scientist, and adventu ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 6th 2006 by Arcade Publishing (first published 2005)
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Aug 13, 2011 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Much like Gavin Menzies' 1421, I read the notes of The Last Explorer with relish. This book opens up the era of great exploration and its relationship to scientific study and the press in a refreshing way. Wilkins criticism of his native Australian government policy, but not its people, and his insights into war, weather and international cooperation are in themselves gifts to readers from down under and well beyond. We can still learn so much from this unsung hero and remarkable explorer. A tru ...more
Martin Gibbs
Jan 06, 2012 Martin Gibbs rated it really liked it
“True Adventure Thrills” Indeed!

Ever a fan of arctic and polar exploration, the first chapters of this book, while captivating, had me wondering when we’d get to the “good stuff”. Of course, the descriptions of Wilkins’ work as a war photographer were harrowing stories of the unique ability the man in escaping danger and staying alive.

But then we get to “Ultima Thule”, and my eyes rarely strayed from the pages of this book, which translated into one long sleepless night! Nasht skillfully describ
Fascinating look at one of history's most daring, courageous men - a man that the world has seemed to have forgotten over the years. I have never read or heard about a true story where the person encountered so many near-death experiences. From WWI to flying and crashing the first planes MULTIPLE times, to running out of gas while in the air over nothing but the Arctic Ocean, to being in a submarine deep in polar waters when all steering and diving controls are gone, to being shot at in a firing ...more
May 27, 2012 Janet rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Riveting history, through biography, of the 20th century: new insights, seemingly well researched. Well written: it flows. I really liked this book.
Colleen Sharpè
Jan 12, 2017 Colleen Sharpè rated it really liked it
Extremely interesting man and trail blazer. A true story worth knowing about
Jun 09, 2012 Cheree rated it really liked it
While reading The Last Explorer, it struck me that if you gravitate towards reading books on topics you love then I am a sucker for real-life adventure.

I found the historical account of Sir Hubert Wilkins to be fascinating. This man lived through so many near death experiences – from being on the front lines as a photographer during World War I to being in numerous plane crashes as a pioneer in aviation. He even walked out of the Arctic after a crash landing and was the first to lead a dive in a
Jun 08, 2012 HBalikov rated it really liked it
Very surprised and delighted by this book. The style is a bit breathy, but effective. I agree with Nasht that: "It was Wilkins' restless inquisitiveness about the weather that set him apart." His incredible exploration adventures were unknown to me. But, "it was a goal far more ambitious than the mere attainment of some meaningless geographic spot and it made him a very different to the better-know explorers.

One of the tributes to him states: "He was a great man, and quite unlike so many polar e
Sep 18, 2012 Kath rated it liked it
Having recently read several biographical and autobiographical accounts of Robert Byrd, it was surprising to discover that Hubert Wilkins was a far more satisfying and accomplished hero who for whatever reason time has nearly forgotten. This exhaustive account of his life was jam packed with detail, and Wilkins lived to a ripe old age, a rarity among polar explorers of this time period, so it became a very long book and a bit tedious.

However, I am interested in meteorology and tales of true adv
Jun 03, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Amazing story of an inspirational Australian. I am ashamed to not have known anything about Hubert Wilkins before reading this book. There was not even a hint of his expeditions, explorations, achievements and ambitions in my school education. Perhaps it is because he attempted missions that failed, or put his science before his country? This man survived more near death experiences than any make believe action hero in a Hollywood movie. Decorated war hero, polar explorer, news reporter, spy, av ...more
May 16, 2012 Cindy rated it liked it
Interesting account of the life of an amazingly courageous man, driven by his desire to set up meteorological stations to inform scientists about the causes of extreme weather conditions. In this quest, he ends up becoming a major explorer of both poles, including flying across both poles in the late 1920's and making a submarine voyage in the arctic in 1931 - risking his life as he attempted to use emerging technology for scientific gain.
Aug 19, 2013 Mrz9876 rated it liked it
The details of Wilkins' extraordinary career make great reading. The facts themselves - what he did, where he went - are astonishing. However, the author tends to fawn over his subject just a little too much; it seems almost as if Wilkins never felt fear, never had regrets, rarely made mistakes. The man comes across as a little too much of a super-hero to be real. I wonder if a different writer might have portrayed Wilkins as stubborn, foolish and lucky rather than brave and persistent.
Jul 18, 2012 Arian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a bit torn about this book. It has some amazing parts, it has quite a few really slow parts - I guess there is simply a lot less "adventure" in the book than I was expecting.

But, here is the thing. I have found myself thinking more about this book after reading it than many other books. It really paints a picture of what it takes to be an explorer, in any aspect of life. I find myself thinking about the book because it is full of life lessons without ever trying to be so.
Pete Aldin
Jan 26, 2016 Pete Aldin rated it it was amazing
Incredible. A smartly written biography: pacy, engaging, sympathetic. Wilkins is perhaps the most interesting unknown Historical Figure of the 20th C with a hand in everything from pioneering meteorology and air travel, to exploration, to conservation, espionage ... And even unwittingly the creation of Scientology!

An absolute Must Read.
Jan 30, 2008 Judy rated it really liked it
Well written history book. Good book for those interested in the 1900 to 1940s time period and arctic exploration. He crossed paths with well known explorers Amundsen, Shackleton, Byrd, Stefansson, and others.
Jun 17, 2012 Carly rated it liked it
A good story, and very interesting about a person who was so instrumental in history that is not well known. However, I think Nasht breezed over aspects that I would have liked to know more about. More in depth coverage would have been appreciated.
Apr 02, 2012 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely brilliant story about an Australian who led a brilliant and exciting life. Why don't we all know his name in this country? Very well written and enthralling biography
Jan 06, 2014 Melanie rated it it was amazing
An amazing man who achieved so much in his life. I'm amazed I hadn't heard of him before.

I thoroughly admired his adventures, tenacity & strong ethics.

Worth a read.
Butch Howard
Oct 31, 2012 Butch Howard rated it really liked it
Superb story of an unknown hero. Anyone interested in history should read; great ties to modern day submarining as well.
Nov 28, 2012 Tori rated it did not like it
For a dude who led such an exciting life, the book about him is not super exciting. I'm barely 100 pages and seven chapters in, and had to put it down.
Sep 15, 2016 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An incredible story of a remarkable man. The book is quite laborious in parts but if you were to make a movie based on Wilkins' real life adventures it would be more outrageous than a Bond film!!
Feb 03, 2015 Katariina marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Rekisteröin kirjan!
Curtis Nugent
Nov 12, 2013 Curtis Nugent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
A really good biography of an explorer that gets relatively little press. Wilkins seemed to be much more active exploring than Shackleton and Mawson. Very interesting read.
Simon Blue
Simon Blue rated it really liked it
Jun 26, 2014
Tom rated it it was amazing
Feb 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Aug 03, 2013
Bill Porter
Bill Porter rated it really liked it
Dec 23, 2012
En Passant
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Apr 01, 2013
Sam Stapleton
Sam Stapleton rated it it was amazing
Jan 11, 2016
Christopher Wakefield
Christopher Wakefield rated it it was amazing
Feb 25, 2016
Steve Rutledge
Steve Rutledge rated it liked it
Nov 22, 2013
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Simon Nasht is one of Australia’s most experienced history documentary filmmakers. He is a former political reporter and foreign correspondent for The Age and the ABC.

He is a regular contributor to ABC Radio National, The Australian, Sunday Age and other newspapers.

Currently, he is a producer at Real Pictures, and previously co-producer at Essential Media, partner at Gabriel Films New York and j
More about Simon Nasht...

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