Tales of Travel, an Art History Series, or Just a Good Biography More Than a Stocking Stuffer, a Book Can Span the World, Bring the Distant near, or Make the Exotic Familiar

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The Explorers: From the Ancient World to the Present

By Paolo Navaresio

Stewart, Tabori & Chang 312 pp., $60 Big Sky Country: The Best of Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Idaho By William Kittredge Photographs by Michael Melford Rizzoli, 176 pp., $50 Call of the River Edited by Page Stegner Harcourt Brace/ A Harvest Original 100 pp., $19.95 paperback Echoes From the Summit Edited by Paul Schullery Harcourt Brace/ A Harvest Original. 100 pp. $19.95 paperback Lure of the Sea Edited by Joseph E. Brown Harcourt Brace/ A Harvest Original. 100 pp., $19.95 paperback Oxford Mark Twain Edited by Shelley Fisher Fishkin Oxford University Press 29 volumes, $295, $16.95 to $25 per volume The Oxford Book of London Edited by Paul Bailey Oxford University Press 377 pp., $25 The Diary of Samuel Pepys Edited by R.C. Latham and W. Matthews, Harpercollins, 11 volumes, paperback $184 for the set $16 to $20 per volume The Dictionary of National Biography, 11th Supplement:1986-1990 Edited by C.S. Nicholls Oxford University Press 576 pp., $95 The Private World of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor By Hugo Vickers Abbeville 240 pp., $67.50 Masterworks in Berlin: A City's Paintings Reunited By Colin Eisler Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown 700 pp., $125 French Art: The Ancien Regime, 1620-1775 By Andre Chastel Flammarion 400 pp., $75 The Empress and the Architect: British Architecture and Gardens at the Court of Catherine the Great By Dimitri Shvidkovsky Yale University Press 273 pp., $60 Master of English Landscape By Laure Meyer Terrail 224 pp., $24.95 paperback What My Heart Has Seen: Tony Bennett Introduction by Ralph Sharon Rizzoli 152 pp., $40 Exchanging Hats: Paintings By Elizabeth Bishop Farrar Straus Giroux 106 pp., $40 The New York Musicals of Comden & Green: On the Town, Wonderful Town, Bells are Ringing By Betty Comden and Adolph Green Applause Books 287 pp., $35 The Complete Annotated Gilbert & Sullivan Introduced and edited by Ian Bradley Oxford University Press 1,197 pp., $35 Passion Flowers By John Vanderplank The MIT Press 224 pp., $40 For centuries, books have brought far-off times and places close to hand, allowing readers to explore a variety of worlds beyond the confines of their immediate surroundings. A book that commemorates the exploits of individuals who braved privation and peril to chart uncharted territory is The Explorers: From the Ancient World to the Present, by Paola Novaresio. Although by no means exhaustive, this engagingly illustrated survey makes use of color pictures, maps, and documentary letters, logs, and journals to tell the stories of venturesome souls from the ancient Egyptians and the seagoing Phoenicians (who seem to have circled the coast of Africa in the 7th century BC) to the modern-day astronauts who first set foot on the moon. Here are traders, missionaries, conquerors, adventurers, seekers of glory or of scientific knowledge; famous names such as Marco Polo, Columbus, Magellan, Lewis and Clark, Livingston, Peary and Scott, not to mention the enterprising 14th-century Moroccan Iba Battutah, who traversed most of Asia and much of North Africa, visiting 45 countries over 26 years before coming to the conclusion there was no place like home. For those who'd rather be home on the range, Big Sky Country: The Best of Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming and Idaho offers a poignantly evocative portrait of this spacious, breathtaking region of the North American continent. In 125 magnificent color photographs, Michael Melford captures the richly varied terrain, from the forests, lakes, mountains, hot springs, and geysers of Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks to the undulating fields of wheat and oats ripening under ever-changing skies. The book includes an eloquent introduction by William Kittredge and some brief and well-chosen excerpts from the writings of explorers, settlers, native Americans, and modern authors like A. …