The Longitude holiday catalog is off to the printer (Hooray!), the first expedition ships have arrived this season in Antarctica and we are featuring this month, among other great places, Burma. We're leading with Russell Shorto's terrific Amsterdam and, by popular request, we're also including a few great books for kids.
Russell Shorto opens this delightful ode to an adopted city with his daily journey, by bike of course, through his neighborhood to drop off his toddler son. He spins a tale of a diverse city (178 nationalities, more than New York), wrestled collectively from the sea, its coffee shops, canals, personalities and politics with panache. It leads our 2013 Best Travel Books and it will both make you want to visit or revisit the city, and to have Shorto over for coffee. "Freer" he writes, "because you are not alone. That is the story that Amsterdam tells. Working together, we win land from the sea. Individually, we own it; individually we prosper, so that collectively we do." A nice sentiment indeed!
Challenging myths surrounding Mozart's health, religion and relationships, biographer Paul Johnson shows the great composer's lasting impact on the musical world with insight — and all in under 200 pages. A master of brevity, Johnson is also the author of Napolean and The Renaissance, A Short History.
Popular Harvard professor Gregory Nagy explores the Greek concept of what it means to be a hero in 24 insightful installments, illuminating the stalwart figures of classic literature — such as Achilles, Odysseus and Oedipus — by placing them in their original historical and religious contexts. Gregory Nagy is the Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, and is the Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington, DC. The Ancient Greek Hero, the book, is adapted from Professor Nagy's free, open access course offered through edX (www.edx.org), the online learning initiative founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
S. Frederick Starr brings to life medieval Central Asia's Golden Age, showing how — between the years 800 and 1200 — societies across the region, world leaders in trade, were also at the vanguard of great advances in mathematics, philosophy, history, geology, astronomy and science. From the Arab Conquest to Tamarlane, Starr argues, Central Asia was at the center of the world. Starr is founding chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, affiliated with the Johns Hopkins.
Photographer David Neilson has turned his six journeys to the Ice over the last 20 years, often with the Australian Antarctic Program (and sometimes lugging a 30-pound large format camera), into a coffee-table tribute to the continent and its wildlife. One hundred and thirty color and 100 rich black-and-white oversized photographs portray the drama and beauty of the Antarctic. With many gate-folds and double-page spreads, this is a beauty!
Like penguins? This book, featuring stunning photographs by Wayne Lynch and essays by Gerald Kooyman, has got them all. One in a series by Johns Hopkins University Press, this Animal Answer Guide covers the ecology, evolution, behavior and latest research on all 17 species. Jerry Kooyman, who worked in the Galapagos on the behavior and ecology of fur seals (that's where Darrel met him), is at Scripps & and probably en route to the Antarctic to continue his work on emperor penguins. Roving naturalist photographer Wayne Lynch is also the author of Planet Arctic, Penguins of the World and Polar Bears.
Designed for the shipboard traveler by veteran expedition leader Nigel Sitwell, this handy map covers the range of most Antarctic voyages from Tierra del Fuego, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Peninsula south to Marguerite Bay. It also includes detailed insets of South Georgia and the complex channels and islands of the Palmer Archipelago including Paradise Bay, the Lemaire and Neumeyer channels. The reverse shows the entire continent with photographs and mini-biographies of 30 polar explorers. It's one in a series that also includes the South Georgia (ANT179) and the Falklands (ANT180).
From his home in Cambridge to the chalk downs of England, Scotland's bird islands, Palestine and the sacred landscapes of Spain and the Himalayas, Robert Macfarlane meditates on the nature of walking, folding together natural history, cartography, geology, archaeology and literature. Macfarlane's exhilarating book won the 2013 Dolman Travel Book Award, which this year for the first time ever was split. After four hours of "ardent discussion and debate" Barnaby Rogerson and the judges split the award with Kathleen Jamie's Sightlines, a collection of 14 short meditations on wild places.
This latest in the bestselling series of Princeton Pocket Guides covers commonly encountered birds, mammals, reptiles and frogs across Australia, including 350 species of birds. Take it along! This compact field wildlife guide joins Galapagos, East Africa, South Africa, African Mammals and Birds of New Zealand.
Historian and food expert Darra Goldstein explores the food, traditions and geography of Georgia, as beautiful as it is bountiful, in this savory cultural history. With illustrations by delightful 19th-century primitivist Niko Pisosmani. A professor of Russian at Williams, Goldstein is the founding editor of Gastronomica and a popular study leader with Smithsonian Journeys and other programs. Georgian Feast won Julia Child Award for Cookbook of the Year. New edition.
A hymn to the Colorado River, including a thrilling account of rafting adventures in the Grand Canyon. Despite a century of human interference, Wade Davis writes, the splendor of the Colorado lives on in the river's remaining wild rapids, quiet pools, and sweeping canyons. He includes excellent quotes from his heroes Edward Abbey, Eliot Porter, Aldo Leopold and others.
Tim Flannery, the exuberant field-biologist author of Throwim Way Leg and other tales of his adventures, writes with verve of his time among the islands of the southwest Pacific in the 1980s and 1990s ("the best job in the world"). He may have been in search or rare bats and rats and such but his interests are wide, covering the history, politics and people of fabled places including the Trobriands, Bismarck Islands, the Solomons, Fiji and New Caledonia.
"The longest wooden teak bridge in the world, the Ubein Bridge links two villages 1.2 kilometers across Taungthaman Lake. It is one of the most breathtaking sights in all of Burma, especially at sunrise and sunset, when the low light gives the scene a moody and ethereal feeling. With the endless parade of monks, locals, bicyclists and now even travelers scampering across nonstop, the bridge is not just a passageway but also a social center. To me, it is one of the most beautiful spots in all of Burma to photograph.
My favorite way to photograph the bridge is from a longtail boat, out on the lake and usually at sunset. This gives you the best vantage point and at sunset, shooting right into the sun renders amazing sunsets but also breathtaking silhouettes. One of my images shown here, was taken right after sunset when young girls with lanterns walked across. The image, printed at 4' x 6', is on permanent display in the United Nations in Bangkok where they love showing the interaction of people all across the globe, but especially in Asia.
Whether you are alone or in a huge crowd, the amazing Ubein Bridge is as mesmerizing a place as anywhere that I've been on earth. From the shore, on a boat or even on the bridge itself, the photographic possibilities are endless."
A regular visitor to the country since 2001, Stulberg presents the teak and bamboo forests, temples and especially the people of Burma in hundreds of striking full-page color photographs in this illustrated journey. From the distinctive silhouettes of Ubein Bridge to the rock pagodas of Bagan to the saffron robes of Buddhist monks, Stulberg's photographs are a lens into Burma as it opens to the world.
An authoritative guide to the art and culture of the ancient Buddhist city on the Irrawaddy, organized by temple group and featuring 250 color photographs, site plans and maps. A professor of Art History at the University of Texas, Donald Stadtner specializes in Indian and Burmese art. New edition.
A culinary adventurer, Naomi Duguid presents the food, local markets, people and culture of Burma in this exceedingly informative (not to mention beautiful) cookbook and cultural guide. The 125 engaging recipes are interspersed with tales and photographs from her many travels in the region.
Crammed full of colorful photos and illustrations, this latest in Lonely Planets Not For Parents series book is designed to transport the young traveler into the wonders of the real world. Explore the darkest corners of the city of light in the catacombs of Paris, marvel at the technological mastery of the international space station and discover a robot restaurant in China. Packed with facts from the quirky to the fantastic, this book will surprise and delight the most imaginative of children.
Each page in this vibrant tour around the world opens to a new destination, allowing young readers to travel into global cultures. Spy in windows and step through doors by interacting with the flaps on each colorful spread. Perfect for helping young explorers distinguish between and appreciate diverse world cultures.
The talented Mizielinskis, Daniel and Aleksandra, festoon 52 hand-drawn maps to overflowing with colorful illustrations of recognizable icons and landmarks, typical wildlife, historic figures and modern personalities.
Alison Lester has transformed her journey by icebreaker to Antarctica's Mawson Station into a delightful fictional expedition told through the voice of nine-year-old Sophie Scott. Sophie's enthusiastic travel diary records her sightings in the natural world, from fantastically shaped icebergs to penguins, whales and the Southern Lights. With illustrations and photos from Lester's travels. The perfect expedition for young explorers aged 6-9.
E.H. Gombrich, the late author of the beloved Story of Art, relates in 40 short chapters, the history of our species from the Stone Age to the atomic bomb for ages 9-12. It also makes for a great read-aloud book. With the original woodcut illustrations, this new edition has been brought to the present in an epilogue.