"Many people think of adventure as a vacation, but they ignore the years of preparation spent by these adventurers."

There is no shortage of books about adventurers and explorers. However, what Tagliapietra does a little differently is that he doesn't focus wholly on just any one person or adventure. Here, he includes a collection of diverse people and their significant ventures into one globetrotting book. But these are not just any adventurers but great adventurers, ones who set out to achieve loftier goals than, say, your average rock climbing weekend. The result is a patchwork of absorbing chronicles that serve as both a call to adventure and inspiration for those seeking similar thrills.

This updated version includes the careful selection of international adventurers based on Taliapietra's new criteria. To be included in this book, Tagliapietra considers the following requirements: the adventurer achieves a notable goal; they have the odds stacked against them (such as facing possible death) and survive, there is no engine use of any kind; the adventure occurred sometime in the 20th century. Fresh names have been added to this edition, while others have been removed based on the new criteria. All this is covered in great detail in the Introduction.

Many of the adventurers (with some notable exceptions) will probably not be recognizable by most readers. But this doesn't matter as Tagliapietra becomes our trusted guide, weaving together these accounts of extraordinary adventures and the methods employed to execute them. He primarily examines events in well-known regions, such as the North or the South Pole, Mt. Everest, or the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Other areas include the Antarctic Peaks, the Amazon River, the Appalachian Trail, Mammoth Cave, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In these locations, adventurers dived, climbed, or trekked across terrains via dogsled, horse, watercraft, or balloon.

Tagliapietra, both experienced and an adventurer at heart, shares a common understanding that "adventurers need knowledge" and what these particular undertakings and accomplishments mean personally. He knows they require cognizance of history, geography, logic, and survival readiness along with speaking and writing competency to record their journey. Tagliapietra professes he has hiked or backpacked and explored more than one hundred waterfalls. In addition, he has engaged in snorkeling, caving, white water rafting, and sky-diving. His accomplishments include reaching the "5 highest summits in the lower 49 states," such as Mt. Whitney and Mt. Rainier, among other achievements.

To help readers, he provides an essential list of terminology with their meanings and derivations. These terms will likely be unfamiliar for most non-adventurers, such as snow blindness, col, or nunatak. Additionally, there are maps and charts peppered throughout to give visual representations of scale and comparison. At the book's end is a detailed chart that includes each adventurer and pertinent information such as birth and death dates, locations and dates of adventures, and the means with which that adventure was completed. It's a nice reference to help remember the key events and persons contained in this volume.

Overall, this is a fascinating read. It is meticulously researched and sourced, delving into the history of regions, people, and cultures. Tagliapietra's prose is also full of energy that's never boring as he recounts the various escapades found within these pages. At times, one nearly forgets one is reading nonfiction. His writing imparts a sense of drama and brushes with danger, as well as the passion and fun each person seeks from the thrill of their adventures.

The reader is immersed into the "lunatic" A.F. Tsciffely's quest to reach New York City from South America by horse, traveling "ten thousand miles across eleven nations on two continents." One will also marvel at Thor Heyerdahl's endeavor to prove that it is possible to raft across shark-infested waters of the Pacific Ocean. Readers will likely hold their breaths at John Wilcox and his team's spelunking attempts, crawling through dark, narrow tunnels to reach "the most distant-known spot in the world's longest cave" of the Flint Ridge Cave system. All of these and the other adventures included are exhilarating to read about.

Tagliapietra closes with a personal note regarding faith and good qualities that can be found in certain people. The incredible stories encompassed in this book make one appreciate the imposing efforts that have been made in the name of adventure. They give a sense of wonder and respect for the awesomeness of nature and the bravery it takes to go up against it. This book might even inspire the next great adventurer to successfully realize another substantial feat.

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