Amanda Bellows reads & signs The Explorers

A fascinating new history of America, told through the stories of a diverse cast of ten extraordinary—and often overlooked—adventurers, from Sacagawea to Matthew Henson to Sally Ride, who pushed the boundaries of discovery and determined our national destiny.

Please join us in welcoming author Amanda Bellows for her new book The Explorers: A New History of America in Ten Expeditions, Tuesday, July 30th at 5:30 PM at Off Square Books.

Can't make it? Reserve a signed first edition here. Personalization available. Can't make it? Tune in virtually via Facebook Live.

About the Book

The archetype of the American explorer, a rugged white man, has dominated our popular culture since the late eighteenth century, when Daniel Boone’s autobiography captivated readers with tales of treacherous journeys. But our commonly held ideas about American exploration do not tell the whole story—far from it.

The Explorers rediscovers a diverse group of Americans who went to the western frontier and beyond, traversing the farthest reaches of the globe and even penetrating outer space in their endeavor to find the unknown. Many escaped from lives circumscribed by racism, sexism, poverty, and discrimination as they took on great risk in unfamiliar territory. Born into slavery, James Beckwourth found freedom as a mountain man and became one of the great entrepreneurs of Gold Rush California. Matthew Henson, the son of African American sharecroppers, left rural Maryland behind to seek the North Pole. Women like Harriet Chalmers Adams ascended Peruvian mountains to gain geographic knowledge while Amelia Earhart and Sally Ride shattered glass ceilings by pushing the limits of flight.

In The Explorers, readers will travel across the vast Great Plains and into the heights of the Sierra Nevada mountains; they will traverse the frozen Arctic Ocean and descend into the jungles of South America; they will journey by canoe and horseback, train and dogsled, airplane and space shuttle. Readers will experience the exhilarating history of American exploration alongside the men and women who shared a deep drive to discover the unknown.

Across two centuries and many thousands of miles of terrain, Amanda Bellows offers an ode to our country’s most intrepid adventurers—and reveals the history of America in the process.

About the Author

Amanda Bellows is a historian of the United States and teaches undergraduates at the New School. She received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Bellows served as a Project Historian for the New-York Historical Society's major exhibit Black Citizenship in the Jim Crow Era, supported by a significant National Endowment for the Humanities grant, and has published writing in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She is the author of American Slavery and Russian Serfdom in the Post-Emancipation Imagination, published by UNC Press.

Praise for The Explorers

“An articulate, engaging study of the people of color and women who were in the front ranks of America’s explorers. . . . The author obviously has great affection and admiration for her subjects, and she knits together material from a wide range of primary and secondary sources. A diverse bunch, they were linked by a love of the far horizon, and the U.S. is better for it. Bellows expands our historical understanding by recovering and retelling colorful, important stories.” — Kirkus Reviews

“From Sacagawea and Laura Ingalls Wilder to Matthew Henson and Sally Ride, The Explorers is an engaging collective biography of the various men and women of diverse backgrounds who shared a passion to understand their world for themselves and future American explorers. In the process, Amanda Bellows compellingly shows how these adventurers tamed the wilderness of the frontier and shaped America’s destiny in the continental U.S., world, and outer space.”
Hilary N. Green, James B. Duke Professor of Africana Studies, Davidson College

“Amanda Bellows takes us on a captivating journey of the unlikely and the overlooked, breathing new life into the story of American exploration – and the human experience – that we thought we already knew. And like the discoveries of the incredible men and women she writes about, that is no small feat.” — Mark Lee Gardner, author of The Earth Is All That Lasts: Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and the Last Stand of the Great Sioux Nation

“Detailing America’s past through the lives of a diverse group of men and women, The Explorers deepens our understanding of the American soul as well as the human need to explore. From a bird watcher who helped sow the seeds of today’s environmental consciousness to America's first female astronaut, Amanda Bellows highlights the struggles and achievements of people whom history has sometimes overlooked, but don’t deserve to be. Their spirit and our country’s history come alive in these pages. Selective yet wide in overall scope, The Explorers is a pleasant read and an important exploration of American history.” — Jim Defelice, author of West Like Lightning and #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of American Sniper

The Explorers: A New History of America in Ten Expeditions By Amanda Bellows Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063227408
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - June 4th, 2024

A fascinating new history of America, told through the stories of a diverse cast of ten extraordinary—and often overlooked—adventurers, from Sacagawea to Matthew Henson to Sally Ride, who pushed the boundaries of discovery and determined our national destiny.

Event date: 
Tuesday, July 30, 2024 - 5:30pm
Off Square Books
129 Courthouse Square
Oxford, MS 38655
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