The Journal of San Diego History
Winter 2000, Volume 46, Number 1
Gregg Hennessey, Editor

Book Notes

The Atlas of North American Exploration From the Norse Voyages to the Race to the Pole

By William H. Goetzmann and Glyndwr Williams.

New York: Swanston Publishing Limited; Reprint Edition, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998. 224 Pp., maps, illustrations, bibliography, acknowledgments, index. $25.95 Paper.

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The University of Oklahoma Press has done the world a great favor by bringing out a relatively inexpensive edition of this fine history/atlas of exploration in North America. It begins with an excellent short introduction to the subject by distinguished specialist in the field, David Beers Quinn, and then proceeds to cover exploration from the John Cabot voyages in 1497 through early twentieth century expeditions to the North Pole. Some of the chapters are on actual explorations; others are on efforts to establish settlements in the area. An average entry includes a large page of text and illustration accompanied by a page of an excellent map or maps. A well-chosen bibliography will enable readers to pursue any of the book’s topics in more depth.

Readers of the Journal of San Diego History will most likely be drawn to the excellent chapters on Spanish explorations in the area (Cabrillo, Vizcano, expeditions into Upper California, and in the Southwest) and early American trips through the region by mountainmen like Jedediah Smith and James O. Pattie.

Although the entries are too short to add much for the academic scholar, the book is a boon for teachers and students, and for a general public interested in the topic. The Atlas of North American Exploration is both informative and beautiful.