The Last Secrets - The Final Mysteries of Exploration John Buchan

ISBN: 9781406728613

Published: March 1st 2007


344 pages


The Last Secrets - The Final Mysteries of Exploration  by  John Buchan

The Last Secrets - The Final Mysteries of Exploration by John Buchan
March 1st 2007 | Paperback | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, ZIP | 344 pages | ISBN: 9781406728613 | 9.16 Mb

PREFACE THE first two decades of the twentieth century will rank as a most distinguished era in the history of exploration, for during them many of the great geographical riddles of the world have been solved.

This book contains a record of some of the main achievements. What Nansen said of Polar explora tion is true of all exploration its story is a mighty manifestation of the power of the Unknown over the mind of man. The Unknown, happily, will be always with us, for there are infinite secrets in a blade of grass, and an eddy of wind, and a grain of dust, and human knowledge will never attain that finality when the sense of wonder shall cease.

But to the ordinary man there is an appeal in large, bold, and obvious conundrums, which is lacking in the minutice of research. Thousands of square miles of the globe still await surveying and mapping, but most of the exploration of the future will be the elucidation of details. The main lines of the earths architecture have been determined, and the task is now one of amplifying our knowledge of the groyning and but tresses and stone-work. There are no more unvisited forbidden cities, or unapproached high mountains, or unrecorded great rivers.

The world is disenchanted oversoon Must Europe send her spies through all the land. It is in a high degree improbable that many geograph ical problems remain, the solving of which will come upon the mind with the overwhelming romance of the unveilings we have been privileged to witness. The explorers will still be a noble trade, but it will be a filling up of gaps in a framework of knowledge which we already possess. The morning freshness has gone out of the business, and we are left with the ploddingduties of the afternoon. Some of the undertakings described in these pages have not been completed.

The foot of man has not yet stood on the last snows of Everest, or on the summit of Carstensz. One notablo discovery I have not dealt with the great Turfan Depression in the heart of Central Asia, far below the sea level, the existence of which was first established by the Russian, Roborowski, before the close of last century, and the details of which have been described by Sir Aurel Stein in his Ruins of Desert Cathay and Serindia.

But Sir AureFs interest was chiefly in the antiquities of the place, and the more strictly geographical results have not yet been given to the world. To day, if we survey the continents, we find nothing of which the main features have not been already expounded. Tho Amazon basin might be regarded as an exception, and only a little while ago men dreamed of discovering among the wilds of the Bo livian frontier the remains, perhaps even the survival, of an ancient civilization. It would appear that these dreams are baseless. The late President Eoosevelt did, indeed, succeed in putting upon the map a new river, the Rio Roosevelt, 1,500 kilometres long, of which the upper course was entirely unknown, and the lower course explored only by a few rubber col lectors a river which is the chief affluent of the Madeira, which is itself the chief affluent of the Amazon.

But now all the tributaries have been traced, and though there is much unexplored ground in the Amazon valley, it consists of forest tracts lying between the rivers, all more or less alike in their general character, and with nothing to repay the explorer except their flora and fauna. Africa is now an openbook, even though many parts have been little travelled...

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