Cover: The Travelers' World: Europe to the Pacific, from Harvard University PressCover: The Travelers' World in PAPERBACK

The Travelers' World

Europe to the Pacific

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Product Details


$33.50 • £26.95 • €30.00

ISBN 9780674027473

Publication Date: 03/31/2008


400 pages

5-1/4 x 8 inches

17 halftones, 2 maps


The exploration of the Pacific has now been cast as decisive in the emergence of modern science and in the entanglement of science and empire. Harry Liebersohn’s book provides a sweeping survey of five groups of people who were involved in travel and who created and reshaped the knowledge that emerged from the exploration of the Pacific.—Sujit Sivasundaram, Isis

The Travelers’ World offers an original perspective on how to assess the scope of the impact travel writing had on social and political thought during this period. It also responds to several of the inherent flaws in the scientific and anthropological project in which the 18th and 19th century voyagers participated. Finally, this text urges the reader to reinterpret the body of travel literature in a ‘cumulative’ context by considering each text in relation to others in the same tradition.—L. Olivia Grenvicz, AmeriQuests

Liebersohn displays an impressive command of his specialist areas, European intellectual history and German history, but also that rare combination of great breadth of vision with clarity of expression and explanation. He writes in a very readable, accessible style that breathes life into the characters discussed and elucidates his complex and nuanced argument.—Paul D’Arcy, International Journal of Maritime History

This book is timely, for it addresses, though not intentionally, aspects of globalization that invite the wringing of hands in many quarters… The history of that literary world of travelers has been ably portrayed here… It takes a central place in the growing literature. It is a great credit to author and publisher alike.—Barry Gough, Journal of American History

This book is well-written, interesting and creatively constructed and will serve as an important contribution for scholars interested in both colonialism and imperialism in addition to those working on travel, science, philosophy, Europeans abroad, non-Europeans in Europe and states’ relations to these phenomena… The maps nicely show the sites travelers visited and the illustrations sprinkled throughout the text lend texture and flavor to the already fascinating subject matter. Liebersohn ultimately succeeds in portraying the production and procession of travel narratives as a series of networks. Germany and Germans were only mercurial ideas in this transitional hundred-year period, but this uncertain vision contributes to further understanding of the instability of structures that were later imagined as fixed, permanent and static, such as nation-states, science, knowledge and European global power.—Nathaniel P. Weston, H-Net

This encyclopedic story tells us how encounters between Pacific natives and European strangers became scientific and cultural knowledge. Liebersohn brings alive the travelers and thinkers of the time; we get a new look at so many—Commerson, Forster, Humboldt, Cook, Diderot, and Kant, among others. And while many have confined their studies to British and French exploration, Liebersohn goes farther afield, to Germany, Russia, Spain. His comprehensive coverage is impressive.—Greg Dening, author of Mr. Bligh’s Bad Language

The Travelers’ World is a terrific book. Beautifully written, elegantly organized, and persuasive, this work is an innovative contribution to the history of travel, and should appeal not only to readers of discovery and exploration but to anyone interested in cultural and global history.—Suzanne Marchand, author of Down from Olympus

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