Cover Image: A Man of the World

A Man of the World

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Member Reviews

I remember as a young child grabbing National Geographic Magazine when it was available whether at my grandparents' house, the doctor's office or the library reading the same issues over and over. The author of this book Gilbert Grosvenor who when he became president of the National Geographic Society was the third Grosvenor and fifth person from the family to hold this position. Did you know that Alexander Graham Bell was a founding member of the Society? Throughout this book the growth of the magazine and the non-profit society is explored as to how it expanded and how it was the funding for many new explorers and researchers. Along the way various adventures are included with trips across the world, up in space and down in the ocean. This Society and magazine have had a down the middle non-political presentations over the many years while bringing it members articles and beautiful pictures. Give this book a read it should not disappoint.

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“Though his career path had been paved by four generations of his family before him, Gilbert M. Grosvenor left his own mark on the National Geographic Society, founded in 1888 and recognized the world over by its ubiquitous yellow border. In an unflinchingly honest memoir as big as the world and all that is in it, Grosvenor shows us what it was like to “grow up Geographic.””

Turns out, I’m one of those arseholes that starts their reviews with, “I really wanted to like this book, but….”.

I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t get into it. I wanted tales of high adventure to places I’ll likely never go. While there was some, it was mostly just the recounting of how GMG went from privileged child, from whose mouth “the family yacht” comes naturally, to a privileged adult.

Sour grapes? Probably. I also think The National Geographic’s long history of racism and exploitation needed more than a single sentence, conveying little more than a literary shoulder shrug.


Thanks to NetGalley and National Geographic for this ARC.

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DNF - I could not finish this book. I think the issue was misaligned expectations. Judging from the description I thought the book would be focused more on National Geographic: its history, adventurers and stories. Instead this was a somewhat self-indulgent autobiography from a relative of one of the founders of National Geographic. I was not engaged in the book as I am not interested in the author's family history. There was also a sentence in which the author appears to criticize those who have (correctly) identified the magazine's history of racism, which I found very problematic and a missed opportunity for some reflection of the magazine's spotted past.

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Grover Gardner with Destin to be great. His father and grandfather we’re both editors of National Geographic and helped adventurers reach the places on earth others don’t dare to go. Mr. Gardner has gone to places most people only dream to go from diving in Antarctica to the mountainous regions of New Delhi and so much more. His life has been not only adventurous but envious on so many levels. National geographic has been my favorite magazine since I was old enough to listen to my grandpa read it to me and it took me to places I probably will never get to go but thanks to National Geographic and Grover Gardner I know as much as I can about the experience. I love this book and highly recommend it it was fun reading about things that I read about in the magazine as they happen. I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

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