I'll admit it - I'm not the most adventuresome person around. I like to be comfortable as opposed to doing things like snow camping with the Boy Scouts. Even my hobbies, like reading and gardening, aren't anything close to "living on the edge." About the nearest I come to doing something really adventurous is backpacking, which I've done the last two summers (but even then, my friend makes it relatively easy for the rest of us). Nonetheless, I can admire the great adventurers of history, like Lewis & Clark, who've set out into the unknown. But I don't need to copy their adventures - I'm perfectly content to read about them.
Brandt makes this period of history come alive with vivid descriptions of the elements, the explorers and the expeditions. He places the motivations in perspective, and makes it all more interesting than I had anticipated. The book is detailed and might be more information than some readers will want (nearly 400 fairly dense pages in the advance copy I received from Amazon Vine), and suffers from repetition sometimes but is highly readable. It started kind of slowly for me but really picked up, and I finished the last 60-70 pages at a run. It's the kind of book that can best be enjoyed from the seat of a nice comfortable chair, especially if you've got a plate of snacks handy that don't taste like shoe leather.