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The great explorers were the celebrities of their day - the romance and danger of their daring expeditions captured the public imagination and the world's headlines to an extraordinary degree. Not all of them lived to tell the tale, of course, but those who emerged triumphant from jungle, desert or polar wasteland were hailed as if returning from beyond the grave. Journalists vied for their stories and publishers rushed their first-hand accounts of exciting and dangerous journeys into print for a wide and voracious readership.

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