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Worlds to Explore
(National Geographic) ISBN 978-1426200441 1426200447

Most of the 54 exciting travel stories, in this anthology, were published by the National Geographic Society over many decades. For armchair adventurers, these tales of exploration feats are stirring calls to travel, to explore and to dream of adventure.

Authors are notable travelers, many born in the 19th century, including Theodore Roosevelt and Sir Edmund Hillary. National Geographic published the stories in an age when the voyage itself was an adventure.

Adventure trips

Each essay describes the author's research, adventure and explorations of a different geographic location around the world. Even scientific reports include personal observations, glimpses into the trials of travel and the rewards of encountering other civilizations.

The 100 old maps and black-and-white photos that illustrate the stories are priceless archival images of adventure travel, the way it used to be.

Jenkins introduces readers to each author and travel tale, giving it context and a sense of place.

Climbing Everest

Who would have known that it took the combination of a soldier, a beekeeper and a yak herder to accomplish one of the greatest feats of exploration, the conquest of Everest? Sir John Hunt tells the story about his intrepid companions, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, and their Everest climb.

Bill Morden's adventure story, By Coolie and Caravan Across Central Asia, recounts his capture and torture by Mongol soldiers. His escape allowed him to lead other expeditions into Soviet Central Asia, far eastern Siberia and Africa.

National Geographic Worlds to Explore


  • Foreword by Simon Winchester
  • Introduction
  • Part One: The World of Africa
    • Wild Man & Wild Beast by Theodore Roosevelt
    • Elephant Hunting in Equatorial Africa by Carl Akeley
    • At the Tomb of Tutankhamen by Maynard Owen Williams
    • Adventures in Eastern Darfur by Maj. Edward Keith-Roach
    • Crossing the Libyan Desert by A.M. Hassanein Bey
    • Cairo to Cape Town, Overland by Felix Shay
    • Three-Wheeling through Africa by James C Wilson
  • Part Two: Remote Corners of the Russian Empire
    • An Island in the Sea of History: The Highlands of Daghestan by George Kennan
    • Life in the Great Desert of Central Asia by Ellsworth Huntington
    • The Afghan Borderland: The Persian Frontier by Ellsworth Huntington
    • With an Exile in Arctic Siberia by Vladimir Zenzinov
  • Part Three: The Middle East
    • Persian Caravan Sketches by Harold E. Weston
    • Crossing Asia Minor by Maj. Robert W. Imbrie
    • Into Burning Hadhramaut by Daniel Van Der Meulen
    • An Unbeliever Joins the Hadj by Owen Tweedy
    • Old and New in Persia by Mary Irene Curzon, Baroness Ravensdale
    • Back to Afghanistan by Maynard Owen Williams
  • Part Four: Along China's Turbulent Frontiers
    • The Land of the Yellow Lama by Joseph F. Rock
    • Experiences of a Lone Geographer by Joseph E. Rock
    • By Coolie and Caravan Across Central Asia by William J. Morden
    • The Desert Road to Turkestan by Owen Lattimore
    • From the Mediterranean to the Yellow Sea by Motor by Maynard Owen Williams
    • Explorations in the Gobi Desert by Roy Chapman Andrews
  • Part Five: The Himalayan Realm
    • Tiger-Hunting in India by Gen. William Mitchell
    • Across Tibet from India to China by Lt. Col. Ilia Tolstoy
    • Caught in the Assam-Tibet Earthquake by Frank Kingdon-Ward
    • Triumph on Everest by Sir John Hunt and Sir Edmund Hillary
  • Part Six: The Far East
    • The Recent Earthquake Wave on the Coast of Japan by Eliza Scidmore
    • Here in Manchuria by Lilian Grosvenor Coville
    • Among the Big Knot Lois of Hainan by Leonard Clark
  • Part Seven: The Malay Archipelago
    • By Motor through Sumatra by Melvin A. Hall
    • The Island of Nias, at the Edge of the World by Mabel Cook Cole
    • Keeping House in Borneo by Virginia Hamilton
  • Part Eight: Alaskan Adventures
    • A Narrative of the St. Elias Expedition of 1890 by Israel C. Russell
    • The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes by Robert F. Griggs
  • Part Nine: Along Old Spanish Roads
    • Along the Old Spanish Road in Mexico by Herbert Corey
    • Buenos Aires to Washington by Horse by Aimé-Félix Tschiffely
  • Part Ten: Lost Worlds of the Amazon and Orinoco
    • Exploring the Valley of the Amazon in a Hydroplane by Capt. Albert W. Stevens
    • A Journey by Jungle Rivers to the Home of the Cock-of-the-Rock by Ernest G. Holt
    • Jungle Journey to the World's Highest Waterfall by Ruth Robertson
  • Part Eleven: Seas and Islands
    • Rounding the Horn in a Windjammer by Alan J. Villiers
    • Sailing Forbidden Coasts by Ida Treat
    • Pearl Fishing in the Red Sea by Henri de Monfreid
    • Turning Back Time in the South Seas by Thor Heyerdahl
    • They Survived at Sea by Lt. Comdr. Samuel F. Harby
  • Part Twelve: New Worlds to Explore
    • From London to Australia by Aeroplane by Sir Ross Smith
    • The Conquest of Antarctica by Air by Rear Adm. Richard E. Byrd
    • Flying Around the North Atlantic by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
    • A Round Trip to Davy Jones's Locker by William Beebe
    • A Half Mile Down by William Beebe
    • Exploring the Stratosphere by Capt. Albert W. Stevens
    • Man's Farthest Aloft by Capt. Albert W. Stevens
    • Camera under the Sea by Luis Marden
    • I Found the Bones of the Bounty by Luis Marden
  • Index


Mark Jenkins is a historian in the National Geographic Society's archives. He is author of High Adventure, a history of the National Geographic Society.

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