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The Explorers: A Story of Fearless Outcasts, Blundering Geniuses, and Impossible Success [Kindle Edition]

Martin Dugard
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $26.00
Kindle Price: $13.99
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Book Description

Unlock your inner explorer in this riveting account of one of history’s greatest adventures—and a study of the seven character traits all great explorers share.

In 1856, two intrepid adventurers, Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke, set off to unravel a geographical unknown: the location of the Nile River’s source. They traveled deep into a forbidding and uncharted African wilderness together before arriving at two different solutions to the mystery and parting ways as sworn enemies. The feud became an international sensation upon their return to England, and a public debate was scheduled to decide whose theory was correct. What followed was a massive spectacle with an outcome no one could have ever foreseen.

In The Explorers, New York Times bestselling author Martin Dugard tells the rich saga of the Burton and Speke expedition. To better understand their motivations and ultimate success, Dugard guides readers through the seven vital traits that Burton and Speke, as well as history’s most legendary explorers, called upon to see their impossible journeys through to the end: curiosity, hope, passion, courage, independence, self-discipline, and perseverance. In doing so, Dugard demonstrates that we are all explorers and that these traits have a most practical application in everyday life.

Within some of us beats the heart of a mountain climber; within others, that of a budding entrepreneur. Just like the explorers, life will present us with great unknowns: the diagnosis of cancer, the call to help a troubled friend, the need to move forward after great tragedy. As professionals we will attempt to chart paths that have never been mapped. And however modest our lives may appear on the outside, there will be times requiring the same deep moral decisions and complex tactical judgments explorers faced in strange lands, thousands of miles from home.

The Explorers is a book about courage and survival. It is also a book about stepping into the darkness with confidence and grace, aware on some profound level—as were Burton and Speke—that the Promised Land we are searching for is not some lost corner of the world, but a place within ourselves.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Author of titles about Christopher Columbus, James Cook, and David Livingston, Dugard here delves into the explorer as a personality type. Acknowledging a debt to a similar inquiry, mountaineer Wilfrid Noyce’s The Springs of Adventure (1959), Dugard structures his title around a famous expedition, Richard Burton and John Speke’s 1857–58 quest to discover the source of the Nile. Using seven traits to illustrate their characters as explorers, Dugard discusses the events of their journey in terms of each man’s—as the book’s chapters are headed—curiosity, hope, passion, courage, independence, self-discipline, and perseverance. As Burton and Speke encounter problems typical in discovery annals—daunting terrain, illness, privation, and mutual acrimony—Dugard develops the seven traits along several tracks, including psychology, physiology, and other adventurers who exemplified the trait under discussion. Thus, his narrative can jump from introversion to dopamine, and from Burton-Speke to Ernest Shackleton’s courageous perseverance to rescue his crew from Antarctica in 1914–16. Such a varied shuffling of subjects should keep the exploration audience locked into Dugard’s portrait of the discoverer archetype. --Gilbert Taylor


"Using his usual brilliant research, Martin Dugard takes the reader on a thrill ride to some of the most dangerous places on earth. Can you handle it?"

Bill O'Reilly
Fox News Channel

“Using his usual brilliant research, Martin Dugard takes the reader on a thrill ride to some of the most dangerous places on earth. Can you handle it?" (Bill O'Reilly)

“This is an exciting and uplifting book, with inspiration on every page. You don’t have to be in search of the source of the Nile to benefit from understanding the seven habits of fearless explorers.” (Seth Godin, author of The Icarus Deception)

“Martin Dugard has written bestselling histories with Bill O’Reilly, and with me, but with The Explorers, he shows that he does his best work as a solo performer. The Explorers has a distinctive voice and the drama never flags from beginning to end.” (James Patterson)

"Dugard uses Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke’s quest to find the Nile’s source as a framing device to craft a fascinating examination of the seven key traits of history’s most famous explorers. . . . In lesser hands, this exercise could come off as pedantic or pedestrian, but Dugard’s infusions of insight and enthusiasm carry the reader and drive his points home." (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

Product Details

  • File Size: 941 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385677820
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 3, 2014)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HB62MCU
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,199 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid Book June 4, 2014
I read Mr. Dugard's wonderful "Into Africa" a few years ago and was mesmerized by that book's recounting of the adventures of Livingstone and Stanley. Over the past decade my reading has been heavily tilted toward books by explorers and about explorers. This book, THE EXPLORERS, does exactly what I had always wished someone would do and that is to catalog the central traits of those who went boldly into the void. Were they courageous or crazy? Herein Mr. Dugard gives us a fast-paced read that contains all the explorational drama one could wish for, but he pauses now and then to discuss what all these men (and women) had in common. He decides that the traits are these: Curiosity, Hope, Passion, Courage, Independence, Self-Discipline and Perseverance. Each of the traits is meticulously illustrated by tales from the trail.

And there are stories herein that are new to me. I had never heard of the young man who walked from Capetown to Cairo to win a woman's hand in marriage. That is romantic!

Overall this is an inspirational read that will have you journeying through your own psyche as you assess the unique psychological nature of the explorers. Would you be up to the challenge had you lived in those times?

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very disappointing. In the author's own words, rather than telling the "Burton and Speke saga...I began to wonder about not just the emotional motivations to pursue a life of adventure, but the specific character traits that went into being a successful explorer." This results in meandering pop psychology ruminations about "lizard brain," the characteristics of introverts and extroverts, and other tedium. The journals and rather interesting story of Burton and Speke are given only synoptic attention, rather than being used as prism through which to study their character and motivations in vivid color. I would recommend a bona fide historian's endeavor over this book any day.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This book was a complete disappointment. From the perspective of the drive and psychology of explorers, it offers great promise. From the recurring theme of Burton & Speke's explorations, it trivializes Burton's work and lionizes Speke's. Up front, I am a Burton fan, having read most of his biographies and several of his works. That said, Speke was not ever the scientist and offered a conclusion that he sought, with Grant, to prove. Burton offered a hypothesis that he vigorously defended, offering to have it refuted when strong refutation was never supplied until much, much later. Instead, the author trivializes the corpus of Burton's work and expertise. The author presents what amounts to an argument that the establishment character is always right and the outcast is always wrong. Details of the tectonics aside, Burton was wrong for the right reasons and Speke was right by accident. Speke was blundering by sheer persistence, and Burton was an outcast by nature. The role of polar expeditions in defining "explorer" would have made for a better and more contemporary case study than Burton and Speke, yet this is only touched upon. As a result, this book was a great disappointment and I cannot recommend it to anyone, excepting anyone who has never dug into the history of the central theme of the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic and thoughtful. August 28, 2014
This was an unexpected pleasure. Nominally about the Speke/Burton battle over who found the source of the Nile, it uses their story as a framework for discussing the seven attributes Dugard considers essential to successful explorers: curiosity, hope, passion, courage, independence, self-discipline, and perseverance. Each is illustrated by numerous examples of explorers from the earliest age (out of Africa) through Saint Brendan, Cook, Shackleton, Scott and Oates, Ledyard, Stanley and Livingstone, Humboldt, and many others of more or less renown. Dugard is an unapologetic champion of Speke's character and efforts in the battle of personalities, and, of course, history knows who was right in the end (I'll not mention that in case a future reader is unaware, as I was). The result is a dramatic and thoughtful book, sure to be of interest to anyone who is intrigued with exploration, even if not of African in particular. My only regret is the lack of pictures and maps. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't finish it, i thought i had add ... August 4, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I couldn't finish it, i thought i had add reading it, he went off on some other tangent so many times i forgot who i was reading about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars July 26, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Not only good history but excellent insight into the psychology of most explorers; what drives and sustains them.....
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book June 17, 2014
By MGunz
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Since Stephen Ambrose passed away, Martin Dugard has become my favorite historical author. I'm not a Bill O'Reilly fan and haven't read any of the books that Martin Dugard did with him, but I have read: "Into Africa, The Training Ground and The Last Voyage of Columbus", as well as this book: "The Explorers." They are all outstanding. The thing with this book is that before I finished it I had purchased 4 other books about explorers that he hints about in this book. I read this book in a weekend and couldn't put it down. His narrative flow is outstanding, and he really paints a great personal picture of each of the explorers he speaks of. If you have any interest in the Golden Age of Exploration, and the men who made it so, buy this book. I highly recommend it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good winter read.............
Very informative and interesting. Would recommend to anyone.
Published 11 days ago by Karen Farr
1.0 out of 5 stars get Tim Jeal's book "Explorers of the Nile- The Triumph and Tragedy of...
DO NOT buy. SAVE YOUR MONEY..lousy scholarship, full of psycho-babble, opinion, self-help jargon. JUST AWFUL. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Pendelton Pike
2.0 out of 5 stars Pity read
I was thrilled to know that Dugard had out a new book. I have been so hungry to read him, but he has sold his soul to O'Reilly for millions of pieces of silver. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Judith
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
The story is interesting but it digresses too much and gets lost in all the background detail.
Published 1 month ago by Sherwyn L. Drucker
5.0 out of 5 stars ... the tale of the two protagonists in a very easy to follow manner
The story weaves in the history of exploration with the tale of the two protagonists in a very easy to follow manner. Must read.
Published 1 month ago by Richard Brown
2.0 out of 5 stars a disappointment
I have read other books by this author and they were excellent. Well written and informative. This delved into psychological dribble that seemed clearly beyond the authors... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ed Holsten
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting and Informative
Gave this book to my husband for Father's Day and he loves it. He describes it as riveting and informative.
Published 3 months ago by Valerie B.
2.0 out of 5 stars Stick to the Story Line, Please!
I have read all the Dugard/O'Reily books and thought I might like his solo works. The problem is, he starts to weave a good story, then digresses so much that the whole flow of... Read more
Published 3 months ago by RLSurfSandSun
3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK
Yeesh, courage from the Dark continent. Geographically enticing, the stage is set for the main players, wandering with the help porters looking for what can't be found. Read more
Published 3 months ago by T. G. Howe
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book on courage to move outside the box.
Mr. Dugard has written an excellent book. He is to be congratulated on excellence of the material. Be prepared to be challenged.
Published 3 months ago by anonymous
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More About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Martin Dugard is the co-author (with Bill O'Reilly) of Killing Jesus, Killing Kennedy, Killing Lincoln and Killing Patton. These four books have sold more than eight million copies.

In addition to history, Dugard specializes in chronicling the drive of great men to realize their potential. This can be seen in his trilogy on endurance sports: Surviving the Toughest Race on Earth (McGraw-Hill, 1998); Chasing Lance (Little, Brown; 2005), and To Be A Runner, is an inspiring and informational series of essays written from the viewpoint of Dugard's forty years as a distance runner.

Dugard's other books include The Murder of King Tut (co-written with bestselling author James Patterson), which saw Dugard travel to Egypt to unravel the centuries-old mystery of who murdered Tutankhamen, Egypt 's legendary boy king; The Training Ground (Little, Brown, 2008), the riveting saga of America's great Civil War generals during the Mexican War, when they were scared young lieutenants first learning the ways of war; The Last Voyage of Columbus (Little, Brown; 2005), Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone (Doubleday, 2003), Farther Than Any Man: The Rise and Fall of Captain James Cook (Pocket Books, 2001), and Knockdown (Pocket Books, 1999).

For the past eight years he has also put that knowledge to good use by spending his afternoons as the head cross-country and track coach at JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano, California. His teams have qualified for the California State Championships four years in a row, and his girls team won the state title in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

He has also co-written three books with Mark Burnett, creator of Survivor and The Apprentice.

Dugard recently wrote and produced A Warrior's Heart, a coming-of-age film based around the sport of lacrosse. A Warrior's Heart stars Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene.

An adventurer himself, Dugard regularly immerses himself in his research to understand characters and their motivations better. To better understand Columbus he traveled through Spain , the Caribbean, Central America, and sailed from Genoa to Spain aboard a tall ship in the manner of the great navigator. He followed Henry Morton Stanley's path across Tanzania while researching Into Africa (managing to get thrown into an African prison in the process), and swam in the tiger shark-infested waters of Hawaii 's Kealakekua Bay to recreate Captain James Cook's death for Farther Than Any Man.

Dugard competed in the Raid Gauloises endurance race three times, ran with the bulls in Pamplona on two occasions, and flew around the world at twice the speed of sound aboard an Air France Concorde. The time of 31 hours and 28 minutes set a world record for global circumnavigation. Dugard's magazine writing has appeared in Esquire, Outside, Sports Illustrated, and GQ, among others.

Martin Dugard lives in Orange County, California, with his wife and three sons.


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