Frank Vorpahl

The World Explorer. In Search of Georg Forster

Der Welterkunder

The World Explorer. In Search of Georg Forster

ITB Buch Awards 2019

An astute study of one of the most fascinating figures in German intellectual history.

Georg Forster was a revolutionary, freethinker, naturalist and philosopher who sailed around the globe. His life was as dramatic as it was rich; already as a young man, he traveled with James Cook, joined in proclaiming the Republic of Mainz as a revolutionary and was forced to flee from the besieged city. It’s no wonder that, against the background of these experiences, he saw the world differently in many ways than his contemporaries did. He died young in Paris – hollowed out by illness, while the terror of the guillotines raged around him.

Frank Vorpahl has been studying Georg Forster intensively for 20 years. He researched in archives around the world and traveled systematically to the places where Forster went. He met with travel researchers such as Thor Heyerdahl, history and political buffs such as Klaus Harpprecht, biologists, ecologists, linguists, as well as fishermen on Easter Island, organic drug dealers on Tonga and the allegedly last remaining cannibals on Tanna. With a curiosity inspired by his role model, Vorpahl went to all these places in search of traces of Forster, discovering some astonishing things in the process: previously unknown archival material, relics of Cook’s expedition, forgotten texts, newly discovered drawings. With precise detail, he records how various parts of the world have changed since Forster’s day.

“Georg Forster – a radical, fiery spirit who really fascinated Humboldt.” Hans Magnus Enzensberger in conversation with Frank Vorpahl, 2007



ISBN: 978-3-86971-149-2
release: 12. April 2018
544 pages, gebunden mit SU


32,00 €
0,00 sFr
32,90 €

About the Author

Frank Vorpahl is a journalist for the ZDF TV-show “aspekte”. He has been travelling around the world in Georg Forster’s footsteps for over 20 years and has done several documentaries on him. He initiated and wrote the afterword for the publication Georg Forster: Reise um die Welt (“Georg Forster: Journey Around the World”). He also published Georg Forster: James Cook der Entdecker (“Georg Forster: James Cook the Explorer”) including original, previously unknown drawings by Forster.