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Publisher's Summary

As the 18th century approached its midpoint, commercial and military competition between the European states became fierce. And whoever obtained accurate information about distant lands would hold an advantage. Were there continental landmasses in the Pacific? Was there a Northwest Passage to Japan and China? What lay in the interior of Africa? Was it possible to cross the Sahara? Where did the rivers Nile and Congo originate?

The concluding volume of The Great Age of Discovery follows the explorations that mapped the vast Pacific ocean and the menacing interior of Africa. The names of three men figure prominently in this saga: Captain James Cook, David Livingstone, and Henry Morton Stanley. But there were many equally brave men who are not so well known and whose incredible achievements deserve recognition. Author Paul Herrmann gives them their due with grace and vigor.

There have never been explorers like these, and probably never will be again. Through frightening storms at sea, vast wastelands of sand, and dark, impenetrable jungle, these men carried the light of knowledge so that all who followed after could see.

Have you listened to Volume 1 yet?
©2005 Audio Connoisseur

What members say

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  • Overall

Entertaining and moving

The two volumes in this series are written with panache and an enthusiasm for the subject that is extremely refreshing. As one reviewer has pointed out, the book was written in the fifties and there are a few places, mainly in regard to Polynesia, that are not up to date. But so what? Ninety nine percent of the book is factual and any mistakes were honest ones. What will they say in another fifty years about books written in 2005? The author has done an incredible job of tying together a lot of disparate academic disciplines, and in so doing he has produced a masterpiece. As for the narrator, all you need to do is listen to the sample and hear him for yourself, and then decide. In my book, he is by far the best narrator on Audible. Unless you are a snooty English language snob, you will enjoy this recording. Highly recommended!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gnarly1
  • Sacramento, CA USA
  • 05-12-05

A good listen, but beware of some hypotheses

This (and the companion first volume) are good listening and provide a wealth of detail about numerous explorers - many you have heard of and several you have not. (Did you know that a Scotsman named Mungo Parks was one of the first great African explorers?)
The narrator has a wonderful British accent which , naturally, makes the text sound very authoritative.
The book was written in 1958. Consequently, some of the hypotheses advanced by Herrmann are no longer viable. For example, recent DNA analysis has disproved the theory of migration from the Americas west to Polynesia [the "Kon-Tiki theory"].
Setting that aside, the book is fun and brings some real insight into larger than life figures like Columbus and Magellan, while introducing a number of explorers history barely remembers.
The final problem with listening to any book involving many geographical references is that the listener does not have the benefit of any maps that the printed version may contain. So have an atlas handy.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


Both Volume 1 and 2 make for interesting listening, but I agree with the other reviewers that the book's original publication date of 1958 should have been disclosed. In addition to the antiquated notions on the origins of Polynesian culture, the book's near-giddy tone about the "modernization" of Africa rings particularly bizarre after decades of AIDS and the ravages of ethnic cleansing. I thought the narration, aside from the malaprops, was quite tolerable (if a little chuffy). The chronological skipping around sometimes caught me off guard, but overall, I enjoyed both volumes.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Interesting but dated

Both Volume 1 and 2 are interesting books but some of the information presented seemed out of date to me. Audible indicates these titles were published in 2004 and 2005 yet when I looked them up on Amazon I found a publication date of 1974. The books were obviously translated from the original German and I concluded that 1974 must be the date of the English translation because there was a reference in volume 2 to a dam in Africa that was expected to be completed in 1960. The books thus must have been written about 50 years ago which explains why some of the information is incorrect based on subsequent research and discoveries. The discussion of the origin of the Polynesians is a case in point. I would have appreciated Audible disclosing the original publication date. Both books are interesting and worth listening to as long as the listener understands the shortcomings. Of the two, I enjoyed Volume 1 more than Voluime 2.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Howard
  • Springfield, OR, USA
  • 03-16-05


Just as good as volume I which I will assume you have listend to. If you have not, you should. I liked the background music added in selected sections while the narration was going on. His discussion on the origins of the Polynesian culture is fascinating and the adventures of the early
African explorers are more than worthy of Indiana Jones tales. It is too bad the are no additional volumes. This is a great listening experience.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

The history of discovery in the Pacific and Africa

Where does The Great Age of Discovery, Volume 2 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It is one of the very best history books i have ever listened to. I knew very little about the discoveries that happened in the Pacific and Africa, and Hermann give it all to us in vivid detail.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Great Age of Discovery, Volume 2?

The descriptions of the European explorers of the African Continent were amazing to me because i had never read anything about them before. What bravery, strength, determination these men had. There are none like them on the earth today.

Which scene was your favorite?

Stanley going down the upper regions of the Congo surrounded on both sides of river by man eating savages playing drums, shooting poisonous arrows, shouting that they promise to eat the white men soon! Can you imagine!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Courage beyond belief!

Any additional comments?

Great book, thank you for providing it to us in the audio format.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Beautiful prose, fascinating content

This is a well-written book. The content is fascinating. Though most anthropologists would not support the author's theory of Incan settlement of Polynesia.

The narration was pretty good.

I was interested throughout, even though this can be a hefty tome.

During the initial minutes of each chapter, I would have to pay particular attention because the opening lines of each new account only slowly revealed info about the historical players, and the accounts do not read like wickipedia enries but unroll inductively instead of a summary of the main details being given first followed by finer details. In some places I had trouble tracking who was who.

My picture of history was greatly enlarged. Non-western discoverers were not covered; but this was still a great book on western exploration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Age of Exploration also Age of Human Development

Fascinating take on a world built on darkness giving way to commerce and the Gospel

  • Overall
  • Edward
  • Framingham, MA, United States
  • 07-19-11

More great stuff from Herrman and Griffin

See my review about Volume 1. Volume 1 was fascinating, and Volume 2, which I expected to be boring, turned out to be even better.

  • Overall
  • Stuart
  • MortlakeAustralia
  • 05-06-05

Dated and poorly narrated

This book was originally published in 1958 and this is revealed constantly in the writing style, the constant statement of so-called 'facts' (which aren't facts now and weren't then either) and the generally out-of-date information (it refers to zippers first appearing 25 years ago at one point). It is also long-winded and moves very slowly for anyone who has even a scant knowledge of the subject.
Despite this it could still be interesting (especially if there was a way of speeding it up - 13 hours is at least twice as long as it needs to be) except for the strange narration. I assume the narrator is an American trying to speak like an Englishman - but it is like no English accent ever heard in real life. About one word in every hundred, which is a lot, is such a bizarre pronunciation that you cannot understand at first what is trying to be said. Why not just narrate in his normal voice? The narrator also often just misstates words such as "ingenious" when it is obviously "ingenuous" that is meant. The latter mispronunciation also occurred in the narration of Somerset Maugham's short stories (vol 2 or 3) and I see that it is the same narrator who is responsible for that and also for a total of 44 books currently in Audible!! You need to be far more tolerant than me to tolerate either this 'book' or this narrator.

11 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • David
  • 02-14-10

Great voyage of discovery

I listened to this two book series whilst doing gym training on a morning whilst serving in IRAQ last year. The inspiration that listening to these books gave me is still with me today. I was more than impressed with all of the detail included although some of the pronunciation was very dubious!! All in all I was massively impressed with the fortitude that came through from all of the subjects of the book. Particularly impressive for me was the hardships that Stanley overcame. All in all a great listen

3 of 3 people found this review helpful