Winner of the Costa Biography Award 2015. Winner of the LA Times Book Prize 2015 (Science and Technology). Shortlisted for the Independent Book Week Award 2016.
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast; there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon.
His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy's Own story: Humboldt explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world's highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolívar's revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne's Captain Nemo owned all his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, 'the greatest man since the Deluge'.
"Brilliant." ( Sunday Express)
"Extraordinary and gripping." ( New Scientist)
"A superb biography." ( The Economist)
"An exhilarating armchair voyage." (Giles Milton, Mail on Sunday)
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Good. But unecessary chapters on other biographies