Alexander von Humboldt: How the Most Famous Scientist of the Romantic Age Found the Soul of Nature

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Without airline advantage miles, advance booking, customs or security, Alexander Humboldt traveled from Europe to Central and South America, and later Russia. He climbed mountains, peered into volcano craters, measured all he could find to measure in an almost inaccessible natural world. When a sailing ship became available, whatever flag it flew, and whether or not to the planned destination, he and a colleague hopped on board. Burdened with an assortment of the best scientific equipment of the day he explored the unknown, apparently undaunted when shipwrecks took down so many collected specimens and notes. In the early nineteenth century, he became one of the most famous and admired scientists and explorers of his day.

Titled Alexander von Humboldt, the book skirts his scores of natural history accomplishments; it is about Humboldt himself, laced with memorable quotes and anecdotes.

As a socially well-placed German mining engineer, a darling of the intellectual, lively salons of the Romantic Age, he hankered for the faraway and followed his karma. Maren Meinhardt spices up the narrative with hints of Humboldt’s sexual proclivities. Earlier writers could focus on his young male colleagues and friends’ enthusiasm and energy, perhaps cultivating fraternal and later paternal affection. Whichever. Humboldt‘s light shone brightly.

Challenged by extremes in territory and climates, Humboldt mingled with European officials and missionaries. He stayed with tribes where a village feast could boast smoke-blackened monkeys and ground ants served as black-and-white speckled cakes.

The author shares her delight at Humboldt’s escapades, friendships, and adventures. While never seeking acclaim, Humboldt admitted ‘shouting is part of the writer’s craft,’ encouraging present-day admirers to read his works, guided by this compelling introduction.


Reviewed By:

Author Maren Meinhardt
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 272 pages
Publisher BlueBridge
Publish Date 2019-09-09
ISBN 9781629190198
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue September 2019
Category Biographies & Memoirs
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