'Scrupulous and absorbing.' * Times Literary Supplement *
'[A] captivating new biography of Alexander von Humboldt . . . dramatically drawn.'
'Evocative and perceptive . . . plenty of wit and insight to brighten the pages'.
'A Longing For Wide and Unknown Things is that . . . rare thing, a completely convincing biographical portrait of a highly complex individual, done in less than 250 pages . . [a] lovely, profound book.'
'[A] subtle biography . . . intriguing'.
'A Longing for Wide and Unknown Things is as entrancing as it is scholarly. Alexander von Humboldt leaps off the page, not just because he gave his name to more places and species than any other human being, but because he embodied the Romantic passion for nature which has captivated posterity. Maren Meinhardt's book is a delicious way to get to know this irresistible figure.' -- Ferdinand Mount, author of 'The Tears of the Rajas: Mutiny, Money and Marriage in India, 1805-1905'
'Even in that glory age of Romantic art and scientific and geographical discovery, Alexander von Humboldt stands out as a giant. This is a superb portrait worthy of its impressive subject, a picture of the great man and of his fascinating times written with concision, brio and infectious love.' -- A. N. Wilson
'Maren Meinhardt follows Alexander von Humboldt on his many personal and professional journeys, tracing the great naturalist's footsteps with precision and love. She shows how his longing for wide and unknown things extended beyond the geographical realm to permeate his whole personality. This is biography as it should be: wondrous, romantic and deeply intelligent.' -- Ruth Scurr, author of 'John Aubrey: My Own Life'
'The great scientific traveller Alexander von Humboldt comes to life in this knowledgeable and illuminating biography. Maren Meinhardt reveals, with wisdom and precision, how von Humboldt's remarkable life and far-sighted writing, rooted in German romanticism, set the stage for a more expansive and connected view of the natural world.' -- John Ryle, Legrand Ramsey Professor of Anthropology, Bard College, New York
'Humboldt's was a life before its time, and this beautifully attentive and deeply sympathetic book gives us not just its lineaments but something like its soul, catching with charm and insight more of the complexity and curiosity of its subject than ought to be possible in such a brief space.' -- Charlie Louth, Associate Professor of German, The Queen's College, University of Oxford