Blog posts of '2014' 'September'

Dolman Travel Book Award Winner
The Dolman Travel Book Award is Britain’s prize for the best travel book of the year. Last year the prize was split between Kathleen Jamie’s Sightlines and Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways. This year the French author Sylvain Tesson, author of The Consolations of the Forest, took home the prize, or will do so as soon as he has recovered fully from his latest adventure.
Words of Mercury
Kindly contributed by Darrel Schoeling, Longitude Books co-founder and Patrick Leigh Fermor aficionado.
Patrick Leigh Fermor’s biographer and friend Artemis Cooper pulled together this inspired sampler of  excerpts, letters, potted portraits of friends and other uncategorizable miscellany, including the great man’s own account of the abduction of General Kreipe, German commander of the Nazi occupation forces in Crete. First published in 2003, this wondrous anthology, Words of Mercury, is a terrific introduction to not just Paddy’s inimitable prose of but also his passions (Greece, books, walking, serendipity).
Wrangel Island
Kindly contributed by Hampton Sides, award-winning editor of Outside magazine and author of Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West, Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission and the recently released In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette.
Fortunes of Africa
In writing a history book that clocks in at over 700 pages and seems as vast as the continent itself, African expert Martin Meredith (The Fate of Africa, Born in Africa) has somehow crafted an inviting -- even exciting -- read with his new book The Fortunes of Africa. It’s hard to imagine a book being more complete in scope, moving from the pharaohs of ancient Egypt through the last millennium.
Fall Travel Titles
Autumn is the ideal time for reading. With the crisp weather, our minds begin to clear. Here are the top ten travel books we are looking forward to curling up with this fall. Check here for more forthcoming travel titles!
Pera, Istanbul
Kindly contributed by Charles King, author of Midnight at the Pera Palace, a twentieth-century history of the Near East through the prism of one of its greatest cities, Istanbul. King sets the reader in a world of intrigue, jazz, feminism, Trotskyism, violence, sex and espionage, at the center of which stood the wondrous, decaying Pera Palace Hotel. His backdrop is the multi-ethnic Turkish republic at the point when it became global crossroads.
Blue Hope
National Geographic Explorer-in Residence, Time magazine’s first Hero of the Planet and a Library of Congress Living Legend, Sylvia Earle, dubbed "Her Deepness" by the New Yorker, is an international advocate, ambassador and champion of all things ocean. Her current efforts are galvanized behind the Mission Blue movement, a massive campaign to ignite support to save the world’s oceans through a network of marine protected areas called “Hope Spots.” In her informative and graceful large-format book, Blue Hope, the deep-sea crusader pays tribute to the necessity and mystique of the ocean.
Secret Lives of the Tsars
Why suffer through dry political policies and unbearably long winters when you can delve right into the scandals with Michael Farquhar’s Secret Lives of the Tsars, a crash course in Russian history that reads like a sophisticated and educated gossip magazine? Farquhar outlines his goal with his subtitle: “three centuries of autocracy, debauchery, betrayal, murder and madness from Romanov Russia,” and he delivers admirably.
An Interview with Alison Singh Gee
An interview with award-winning Chinese-American journalist Alison Singh Gee, who discusses her glittering expatriate memoir about finding love and navigating the difficulties of an Indian royal family, Where the Peacocks Sing. In the "swish, fragrant existence" of Hong Kong glitterati, the young writer meets her future husband Ajay and dives into his world: a hundred-room palace outside New Delhi. We asked Alison to tell us how her extensive international travel shaped her book, which was named a National Geographic Book of the Month.
In the Kingdom of Ice

Most of us, once we are past the age of five or so, relinquish the fantasy of Santa and his workshops to the reality of a cold, watery and inhospitable North Pole. But in the late 19th century so little was known about the earth's northern-most regions that Santa may as well have set up shop there. Even the leading polar experts and top-notch cartographers believed in fantastical theories -- that the pole was a warm tropical sea, for example. An obsession to know the truth grasped many would-be explorers, among them Naval officer George Washington De Long and the prominent newspaperman James Gordon Bennett Jr., who would agree to back De Long's 1879 expedition to find the "Polar Grail."