09 October 2008

South America Called Them review by Denis Minev

South America called them;: Explorations of the great naturalists: La Condamine, Humboldt, Darwin, Spruce
by Victor Wolfgang Von Hagen
Edition: Unknown Binding
Availability: Out of Print--Limited Availability

 
3.0 out of 5 stars RARE TEXT ON CERTAIN NATURALISTS, OLD IDEALIZED VIEWJune 4, 2006
Humboldt and Darwin are both highly celebrated naturalists with many texts written on both, esp Darwin. However, the other two, Spruce and La Condamine are two very interesting and important characters who deserve to be remembered as important discoverers. 

This texts attempt to put together a short list of important explorers. However, picking only 4 is a hard job, and I am not sure the author picked the best 4 possible -- others that may merit such mention include Alfred Russel Wallace, Henry Walter Bates, among others. 

This book gives an idealized image of the explorers. They are portrayed as wholly good people and anyone they encounter that is against them is portrayed as bad people. Such shallow description of character simplifies the stories, but it does not help in knowing the truth. Given that accounts of La Condamine's trip and Spruce's collecting are not very easy to come by, this is useful as an additional source.
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