The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science

496pp ILLUS 2016 LIST PRICE: £10.99 (P) N139



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Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was a Prussian polymath, geographer, naturalist, explorer and proponent of Romantic philosophy and science. More things are named after him than anyone else: towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current along the South American coast and the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, ‘the greatest man since the Deluge’. This book follows him from his travels through Europe as a young man to his extensive journeys through Latin America and his return to Europe. The author makes the case that Humboldt synthesised knowledge from many different fields to form a vision of nature as one interconnected system. He predicted human-induced climate change as early as 1800 and his ideas continue to shape science, conservation, nature writing, politics and art.

Full of vivid renditions of his feats, the narrow mountain paths he trod, the rapid rivers in which he almost drowned, and the exotic ailments from which he suffered. LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS

A magnificent work of resurrection. SUNDAY TIMES