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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.

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.

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Acclaim for

The Adventures

of

Alexander von Humboldt

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.
— Kirkus Reviews
The tale of adventure and discovery is well suited to the graphic format, and Wulf and Melcher do it proud. The informative, light-hearted text and inventive illustrations bring Humboldt’s rumbustious character to life as he drags his small posse of companions well beyond their comfort zones: up smouldering volcanoes, down treacherous mineshafts, along crocodile-filled rivers, through rainforests thick with mosquitoes.
— Nature Magazine
As for the physical book, it’s a hefty, beautiful volume. The cover features drawings of the flora and fauna von Humboldt and company came across in South America, with lettering and details in a wonderful, eye-catching gold. What I’m trying to say is that, if it’s too big for your bookshelf, no worries–it should be out on your coffee table.
— N3rdabl3
“Like her hero, Andrea Wulf dares to enter a new world: one of images. The result is stunning, and a delight for young and old readers alike”
— Tagesspiegel
Glorious … Humboldt would have loved to have written it
— The Bookseller
The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt are a visual delight and a treasure trove for everybody who is curious
— Denis Scheck in ARD
Gloriously illustrated. A Reading–Adventure!
— Deutsche Welle
Andrea Wulf’s fascination for the scientist jumps off every page and inspires the reader and viewer … the images are expressive and incredibly lively
— B5 Aktuell, Radio Bayern
A fantastic book. For the eye, the heart and the mind – very much in the Humboldtian spirit
— RBB Wissenswerte