Casgliad o 39 traethawd yn dangos ôl ymchwil fanwl yn dathlu cyfraniad nifer o deithwyr a fforwyr arloesol ar dir, môr ac awyr, ynghyd â dyfeiswyr a gwŷr busnes hynod alluog yn ystod yr 19eg ganrif, gan deithiwr brwd a chyflwynydd difyr. 40 ffotograff du-a-gwyn.
A collection of 39 highly researched essays celebrating the contributions of various 19th century pioneering travellers and explorers on land, sea and air, genius inventors and entrepreneurs, by an enthusiastic traveller and entertaining presenter. 40 black-and-white photographs.
Trevor Fishlock has always been an excellent raconteur, and uses his material very effectively, and it almost goes without saying that the Victorian Age of Empire and the likes of the Scramble for Africa in the late 1800s are prime material for such recounting. One of the quotes which I particularly liked in this book was:
As Samuel Hearne demonstrated, a journey needed a journal. An explorer without words was merely a man with scratches and sore feet.
The accounts of expeditions and voyages of discovery are recounted by Trevor Fishlock, and brought to life in his inimitable style. Coupled to the journals are wonderful links to the inventers and entrepreneurs who made voyages of discovery, and adventures to new worlds possible. One such example tells the story of the coppering of the keels of boats to stop pernicious sea worms rotting them. This led to better boats, and more wondrous voyages of discovery. And in the process, this made a wealthy man of Thomas Williams, the Copper King of Holywell, North Wales.
There are many such stories (I shall stop short of calling them ripping yarns) linking Captain Cooke with the discovery of measuring latitude (Thomas Harrisons chronometer); Sir Joseph Banks (a botanist) leading voyages of discovery for new plants and food (and in the process recommending Botany Bay as a likely destination for felons). William Bligh (of Mutiny On The Bounty fame) was on a voyage to obtain breadfruit seeds from Tahiti at the time of the mutiny. In fact, the search for new foods was triggered by the need to supply slaves in different parts of the world with a cheap food source (breadfruit was tried, but the slaves would not eat it).
Communications, and the speed at which news travelled, was addressed in turn by the creation of the Royal Mail stage coaches, and the involvement of famous names such as Telford and Stephenson, where it was necessary to build better roads, bridges, and eventually steam engines for the faster conveyance of information, news and dispatches.
And so we make connections taking in all areas of the earth, the Arctic, the deserts, the jungles and of course sea travel. The names roll off the tongue (Telford, Marconi, Livingston, Stephenson, Brunel and Stanley, to name but a few), and the inexorable link between invention, innovation and discovery is revealed in a plethora of detail and research.
The book (hardback version) is well written and well researched, and whilst it captures the imagination and nurtures the wish to see it through to the end, it is written in easily digestible chapters. Each chapter reveals new connections between the inventors and the adventurers. The detail contained in each recounting is quite amazing. I have to admit that the subject matter interests me greatly, but I would commend this to anyone who likes reading good, solid, well analyzed historical recollections.
There are 444 pages and the book contains 16 pages of black and white photographs.
It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgement should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.
Gellir defnyddior adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatad Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.