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Explorers' Botanical Notebook


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About the Author

Florence Thinard has a degree in history and international relations from the Institute of Political Studies in Paris. She worked in tourism in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, before becoming a journalist. She has written or co-authored more than 30 books, and lives in Toulouse, France. Yannick Fourie is a professional nature photographer. His images have appeared in more than 15 books. He lives in France.


This is a splendid tribute to the most famous plant explorers from the time of the Pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut in the 15th century B.C.E. to Francis Halle in 2010. The endeavors of over 80 adventurous, intrepid, persistent, and inquisitive naturalist and botanists are traced in this compilation. Each of the individuals discussed is honored with a full page photograph of a field-collected herbarium specimen. Maps, vintage images (including likenesses of each of the explorers), and their time lines illuminate the lives of these fearless botanical explorers. The book's design and layout are engagingly noteworthy, including the covers, which are photographs of an actual plant press -- the kind used by field collectors. The life history and experiences of each of the subjects are worthy of an action film, making the text almost impossible to put down. In this short but utterly charming book, one can glean a glimpse of the life of a plant explorer over time. The world of horticulture has been fabulously enriched by the work of these men and women represented within this great work. Recommended. All readers.-- (04/01/2017)
A fascinating account of explorers who traveled the world, from ancient Egyptians to contemporary researchers, and the plant specimens they catalogued. Thinard's writing experience--both as a journalist who writes about geopolitical issues and as an author of young adult novels--is evident, as in her account of how Scottish botanist Robert Fortune journeyed into China as a industrial spy for the East India Company to steal the secrets of growing tea. The book features 80 explorers and the botanists who traveled with them through the ages. Organized chronologically, explorers, their achievements, and annotated plant specimens are handsomely presented on adjacent facing pages. The achievement page contains a short biography, a map of the explorer's travel, and other related insets and photos. A detailed index and table of contents enables readers to access specific content readily. Enhanced by illustrations and Yannick Fourie's photographs, this attractive coffee-table book is designed to be leisurely perused, but it is also an encyclopedic resource that would be an excellent reference for students.--Publishers Weekly (11/21/2016)
Here is an engaging opportunity for herbalists and botanists to learn their history. Historian Thinard reviews the story of 80 pioneering botanists, both celebrated and obscure, who set out into the unknown throughout the world to collect thousands of unusual plants... Each explorer in this oversized book is artistically presented on a page with their portrait, accomplishments, related photos, and a map tracing their journey. The facing page displays a herbarium specimen, often one they collected, with notes in their own hand. I could not put the book down!-- (09/01/2017)
This beautiful, coffee-table sized book presents a history of botanists from around the world and the plants they collected... Explorers Botanical Notebook, opens a window into the importance of early plant collection and identification... This book would fit beautifully onto the shelf of a middle school or high school library, or in the homes of armchair explorers seeking a glimpse into the early days of botanical exploration.-- (06/01/2018)

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