Golden Book of the Dutch Navigators
By: Hendrik van Loon (1882-1944)
This is a story of magnificent failures. The men who equipped the expeditions of which I shall tell you the story died in the poorhouse. The men who took part in these voyages sacrificed their lives as cheerfully as they lighted a new pipe or opened a fresh bottle. Some of them were drowned, and some of them died of thirst. A few were frozen to death, and many were killed by the heat of the scorching sun.
But what of it? It was all in the day's work. These excellent fellows took whatever came, be it good or bad, or indifferent, with perfect grace, and kept on smiling. They kept their powder dry, did whatever their hands found to do, and left the rest to the care of that mysterious Providence who probably knew more about the ultimate good of things than they did. - Summary from the preface