National Geographic : 1963 Nov
ADVENTURE IN THE AIR. J. A. D. McCurdy lifts Silver Dart from the ice February 23, 1909-the first flight in Canada. ADVENTURE BY LAND. Afghan troops outside the walls of Farah in 1931 salute the Citroin-Haardt trans-Asia expedition. ADVENTURE IN THE SEA. Navy bathyscaph Trieste emerges from man's deepest dive-35,800 feet in the Mariana Trench. The editor and associate editor were busy; I was assigned to look after Lt. Comdr. Richard E. Byrd. He confided his plans: He wanted the Society's backing in attempts to explore the Arctic by airplane. The Society gave him its instant support and continued to back the gallant explorer for 32 years. We honor him now as "Admiral of the Ends of the Earth," conqueror of both Poles by air, leader of expedi tions north and south where no man had trod. When Admiral Byrd died, on March 11, 1957, he had just finished his last task-correcting proofs for his eighth GEOGRAPHIC article, "To the Men at South Pole Station." Exploits of many Americans ring through the pages of Great Ad ventures. Among them is the saga of Theodore Roosevelt, who-in his "last chance to be a boy"-canoed Brazil's uncharted River of Doubt (now Theodore Roosevelt River). I can never forget ex-President Roosevelt, his voice weakened by fever, standing before 5,000 members of the National Geographic Society only a week after landing in this country and exclaiming, "The maps are so preposterously wrong!" He recounts his harrowing expe riences anew in Great Adventures. The maps of Brazil available in T. R.'s day were ridiculous. But re cently I took from the transcript his determinations of latitude and longitude of the Roosevelt River's source and mouth and checked them out on the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S latest map of Brazil. They were surprisingly close to the mark! I remember another explorer who walked into the Society's offices looking for support. He was a little-known Frenchman named Jacques Yves Cousteau, co-inventor of a device he called the Aqua-Lung. His descriptions of the new "silent world" beneath the sea so excited your Society's Research Committee that we immediately agreed to back him in his work and became his first United States sponsors; we continue to support his undersea scientific triumphs. In our new book, too, E. Thomas Gilliard brings another kind of adventure to life. Perched on a shaky 40-foot tower in a New Guinea jungle, he recalls watching a bird of paradise: "Here I was, half a world away from my home in Manhattan, clinging to a flimsy rung high above a forest no white man had ever visited. Why? To see some birds. But what birds!" We, as readers of Great Adventures, can exclaim with Dr. Gilliard, "What birds!" and with Sir Edmund, "What a mountain!" But in the end, I think we must admiringly declare, "What men!" THE END Great Adventures With National Geographic, a unique chronicle of man's conquest of the unknown over the past 75 years, is available only by direct order from the Society; 504 pages, 583 illustrations, bound in buckram and chambray, $7.95 per copy. To reserve a first-edition copy, send orders promptly to the National Geographic Society, Dept. 133, Washington, D. C. 20036, requesting later billing if desired.