Unlock your inner explorer in this riveting account of one of history’s greatest adventures—and a study of the seven character traits all great explorers share.
In 1856, two intrepid adventurers, Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke, set off to unravel a geographical unknown: the location of the Nile River’s source. They traveled deep into a forbidding and uncharted African wilderness together before arriving at two different solutions to the mystery and parting ways as sworn enemies. The feud became an international sensation upon their return to England, and a public debate was scheduled to decide whose theory was correct. What followed was a massive spectacle with an outcome no one could have ever foreseen.
In The Explorers, New York Times bestselling author Martin Dugard tells the rich saga of the Burton and Speke expedition. To better understand their motivations and ultimate success, Dugard guides readers through the seven vital traits that Burton and Speke, as well as history’s most legendary explorers, called upon to see their impossible journeys through to the end: curiosity, hope, passion, courage, independence, self-discipline, and perseverance. In doing so, Dugard demonstrates that we are all explorers and that these traits have a most practical application in everyday life.
Within some of us beats the heart of a mountain climber; within others, that of a budding entrepreneur. Just like the explorers, life will present us with great unknowns: the diagnosis of cancer, the call to help a troubled friend, the need to move forward after great tragedy. As professionals we will attempt to chart paths that have never been mapped. And however modest our lives may appear on the outside, there will be times requiring the same deep moral decisions and complex tactical judgments explorers faced in strange lands, thousands of miles from home.
The Explorers is a book about courage and survival. It is also a book about stepping into the darkness with confidence and grace, aware on some profound level—as were Burton and Speke—that the Promised Land we are searching for is not some lost corner of the world, but a place within ourselves.
Martin Dugard is the New York Times bestselling author of Into Africa, The Training Ground, Last Voyage of Columbus, and The Explorers. He is also the coauthor, with political commentator Bill O’Reilly, of Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus, and Killing Patton. He lives in Southern California with his wife and three sons.
“Using his usual brilliant research, Martin Dugard takes the reader on a thrill ride to some of the most dangerous places on earth. Can you handle it?"
– Bill O'Reilly
“This is an exciting and uplifting book, with inspiration on every page. You don’t have to be in search of the source of the Nile to benefit from understanding the seven habits of fearless explorers.”
– Seth Godin, author of The Icarus Deception
“Martin Dugard has written bestselling histories with Bill O’Reilly, and with me, but with The Explorers, he shows that he does his best work as a solo performer. The Explorers has a distinctive voice and the drama never flags from beginning to end.”
– James Patterson
"Dugard uses Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke’s quest to find the Nile’s source as a framing device to craft a fascinating examination of the seven key traits of history’s most famous explorers. . . . In lesser hands, this exercise could come off as pedantic or pedestrian, but Dugard’s infusions of insight and enthusiasm carry the reader and drive his points home."