Whether looking for the sources of the Nile, the Niger, or the Amazon, penetrating the Australian outback, or searching for the Northwest Passage, the Victorians were intrepid explorers, zealously expanding the limits of science and human knowledge. In Bright Paradise, Peter Raby describes brave voyages and gives us vivid and unforgettable portraits of the larger-than-life personalities of Charles Darwin, Alfred Wallace, and Henry Bates, glorious examples of Victorian energy and confidence. He also explores wider issues such as the growth of knowledge and the spread of the empire.
Witty, provocative, and exciting in the breadth of its research, this book charts an important period of scientific advance and transforms it into a compelling narrative.
"A thoroughly interesting, amusingly illustrated, and truly thought-stimulating tale."--John Fowles, Spectator
"Peter Raby's book follows a disparate crew of botanists, scientists, and collectors who tried to order the earthly paradise which unfolded around them. Entrepreneurs they may have been--many were dependent on selling their specimens to finance their trips--but they were also scrupulous and sensitive observers. . . . Raby finds some shimmering personalities. . . . His book is excellent."--Daily Telegraph
"Lucid . . . fast-moving . . . skillful. . . . Bright Paradise is good at conveying the overwhelming energy of the Victorian scientific traveller, but is also poignant in its suggestion that this energy was ultimately directed at its own extinction as a species."--Literary Review
"Well written, fascinating, and with wide appeal. . . . "--Library Journal
"Raby delights in detailing the many hardships these explorers endured--from predatory anacondas to hostile Tibetan tribesman--but never loses sight of their large achievements: the extent to which they changed our views of nature, of the interdependence of species, of indigenous cultures and of how life on earth evolved."--Francine Prose, The New York Times Book Review
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Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Peter Raby:
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