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The Resource The adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt, Andrea Wulf ; illustrated by Lillian Melcher

The adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt, Andrea Wulf ; illustrated by Lillian Melcher

Label
The adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt
Title
The adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt
Statement of responsibility
Andrea Wulf ; illustrated by Lillian Melcher
Creator
Contributor
Author
Illustrator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"From the New York Times bestselling author of The Invention of Nature, comes a breathtakingly illustrated and brilliantly evocative recounting of Alexander Von Humboldt's five year expedition in South America. Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, but his most revolutionary idea was a radical vision of nature as a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the use of humankind alone. His theories and ideas were profoundly influenced by a five-year exploration of South America. Now Andrea Wulf partners with artist Lillian Melcher to bring this daring expedition to life, complete with excerpts from Humboldt's own diaries, atlases, and publications. She gives us an intimate portrait of the man who predicted human-induced climate change, fashioned poetic narrative out of scientific observation, and influenced iconic figures such as Simón Bolívar, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Darwin, and John Muir. This gorgeous account of the expedition not only shows how Humboldt honed his groundbreaking understanding of the natural world but also illuminates the man and his passions"--
Writing style
Illustration
Review
  • In this successor to Wulf’s Alexander von Humboldt biography The Invention of Nature, Wulf and illustrator Melcher gloriously depict the explorer and polymath’s grueling five-year journey through the Americas, lionizing him along the way. Beginning in 1799 and ending in 1804, Humboldt’s expedition with botanist Aimé Bonpland led him through the jungles, volcanoes, and savannahs of South America and Mexico, eventually terminating in Washington, D.C. Humboldt’s work would go on to form the basis for much of modern environmental and conservation science, as Wulf points out in frequent allusions to his impact on figures such as Charles Darwin and Simón Bolívar. Though Melcher’s crowded layouts sometimes impede legibility, her use of pen, ink, and watercolors with collaged mixed media (including samples from Humboldt’s journals and sketches) lends a playful quality to the narrative, recalling Lauren Redniss’s Radioactive. Less successful is Wulf’s tendency to highlight Humboldt’s anticolonialist writing while only briefly disclaiming, for instance, his theft of sacred, buried skeletons. Wulf also makes an unfortunate choice to combine Humboldt’s many servants into an amalgam named only Jose, to whom Humboldt condescendingly explains Aztec history. Wulf and Melcher create an alluring narrative in dramatizing Humboldt’s adventures for a generation that has forgotten him, but they fail to unpack the baggage of his tangled legacy. (Apr.)
			 --Staff (Reviewed 03/18/2019) (Publishers Weekly, vol 266, issue 11, p)
  • Inheriting a small fortune following his mother's death and receiving special permission from the King of Spain, Prussian polymath, adventurer, and naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt (1769–1859) spent 1799–1804 exploring South America and Mexico. With botanist Aimé Boland at his side, von Humboldt investigated volcanoes, climbed Ecuador's Mt. Chimborazo (believed at the time to be the tallest mountain in the world), forged rivers, experimented with electric eels, waded through swamps, interacted with indigenous cultures, and made numerous important scientific discoveries that would later influence Thomas Jefferson, Charles Darwin, and Simón Bolivar. He is also reportedly the first person to predict that human behavior might result in global climate change. Artist Melcher uses a dazzling combination of illustration and collage technique spread across oversized pages that swirls with text, diagrams, and sketches in order to mimic the look of an explorer's notebook. VERDICT Drawing on von Humboldt's publications, diaries, and letters, Wulf (The Invention of Nature) brings her subject to life, cleverly allowing him to narrate his story in an affable if possibly anachronistic tone that makes the occasionally complicated scientific theory easily digestible. [See Prepub Alert, 10/29/18.] --Tom Batten (Reviewed 06/01/2019) (Library Journal, vol 144, issue 5, p98)
  • /* Starred Review */ A delightful recounting, in word and image, of the work of a pioneering scientist and world traveler. “Do you really remember all the plants you’ve ever seen?” “Of course!” So replied Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), the famed explorer and naturalist, to a colleague’s query, adding, “I can remember even the smallest detail for years—from the shape of a leaf to the color of soil, the layering of a rock or a temperature reading. Why wouldn’t I?” Humboldt wasn’t bragging unnecessarily. Neither does his biographer, Wulf (The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World, 2015, etc.), when she points out that he was the first naturalist to ask some of the critical questions that would later guide scientific investigations into plate tectonics, evolution, geomorphology, vulcanology, meteorology, and countless other fields—to say nothing of the fact that just about every continent bears names that honor his presence, intellectual or physical. In this “work of graphic nonfiction (for want of a better term),” Wulf teams with illustrator Melcher, whose work is whimsical, even a touch primitive—deliberately, one presumes, to fit the exploratory mood of the text. There are hidden depths in the artwork, however, for Melcher does wonders with collages and renderings that would do Joseph Cornell proud, making use of contemporary illustrations, modern photographs, and excerpts from Humboldt’s own handwritten manuscripts. (In one charming aside on a certain pelagic bird, Wulf notes, “I just wanted to note that Lillian Melcher didn’t draw the penguin...it looks very similar to her style, but I assure you that I sketched it in Callao.”) Readers new to Humboldt will surely find themselves fascinated by a man who went everywhere, saw everything, and spoke with the luminaries of his time, from Jefferson to Napoleon. And those who have already read and admired The Invention of Nature will enjoy this delightful graphic presentation. Alexander von Humboldt himself would doubtless have approved. A pleasure for students of science, art, and their intersections. (Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2019)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
Biography type
individual biography
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10759958
Cataloging source
LBSOR/DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Wulf, Andrea
Dewey number
  • 508.092
  • B
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
no index present
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
comics graphic novels
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
Melcher, Lillian
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Humboldt, Alexander von
  • Humboldt, Alexander von
  • Scientists
  • Scientific expeditions
  • Scientific expeditions
  • Scientists
  • Travel
  • Germany
  • South America
Label
The adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt, Andrea Wulf ; illustrated by Lillian Melcher
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
  • text
  • still image
Content type code
  • txt
  • sti
Content type MARC source
  • rdacontent
  • rdacontent
Control code
on1044689529
Edition
First edition.
Extent
1 volume.
Isbn
9781524747374
Lccn
2018032020
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1044689529
Label
The adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt, Andrea Wulf ; illustrated by Lillian Melcher
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
  • text
  • still image
Content type code
  • txt
  • sti
Content type MARC source
  • rdacontent
  • rdacontent
Control code
on1044689529
Edition
First edition.
Extent
1 volume.
Isbn
9781524747374
Lccn
2018032020
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1044689529

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