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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Journeys of the Great Explorers: Columbus to Cook

I just finished listening to this very cool series of lectures, Journeys of the Great Explorers: Columbus to Cook, given by Glyndwr Williams of the University of London, produced by The Modern Scholar.

It begins with Marco Polo in the fourteenth century and concludes in the late eighteenth century with James Cook.  The lectures focus on the maritime explorers, tracing the perils and progress of these various explorers as they sought to explore and exploit new territories for personal and national economic gain.

I thought Dr. Williams provided a fair-handed as well as compelling portrait of the explorers, Columbus, Drake, Dampier, Bering, and Cook, to name a few, and the historical context of their voyages.  He also brought vividly to life a sense of the conditions in which they sailed, in all its brutality and daring.

Listening to the series made me want to learn more... Must be a sign of how much I enjoyed it, though I never would have guessed that I'd find maritime exploration so interesting.

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