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Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before Paperback – August 1, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Horwitz pays Cook his due, pointing out the sheer difficulty and hardship of his navigations, and meanders around the Pacific in his steps, talking to all sorts of characters that he meets along the way, both about Cook, the past, and the present state of Pacific affairs. And for comic relief he brings along, quite by accident he tells us but one can't imagine making the trip without him, his Falstaffian pal Roger, with a bottle in both hands,and a jaundiced eye and bawdy quip when things threaten to get too serious. Fans of Horwitz, Cook, travel writing, or a yen for the Pacific isles will not be disappointed.
The book alternates back and forth between Cook's 18th century experience and Mr. Horwitz's modern day travels. Horwitz does an excellent job of interpreting the various sources available and giving an account that the historical layperson can relate to. Key characters include the author, Cook, the colorful Joseph Banks (the Endevour's Botanist) and Horowitz's even more colorful traveling companion Roger Williamson. Horwitz paints a picture of Cook as an austere, yet fair man-seemingly driven to the edges of the earth. As driven as Cook is to explore the world, Banks is driven to explore the anatomies of females from different Polynesian cultures. Roger is mainly content to explore the bottle and make wisecracks about Horwitz's adventure. If you think Blue Latitudes sounds like a dry historical piece, you're sorely mistaken. Any potential dryness is quickly quenched by Horwitz's wit, Banks's "botanizing" and Roger's boozing.
Much to my wife's amusement I found myself laughing out loud many times while reading Blue Latitudes. Despite that, I found myself strangely moved after reading the account of Cook's death. While the consequences of Cook's voyages are complex, you cannot help but feel a great admiration for this man who started with so little yet went so far. Great book, highly recommended.
Horwitz starts his journey by sailing on a replica of Cook's first ship Endurance to get a feel for 18th Century shipboard life. He then spends most of the remaining time traipsing around the Pacific with his Australian friend Roger, who provides the same kind of narrative counterpoint as Robert Lee Hodge did in "Attic." Horwitz documents the changes that have occurred in Oceania because of Cook's "discoveries" and interviews numerous islanders to find out how they feel about Cook's legacy. The results are often surprising and enlighteneing.
Having said all of that, "Blue Latitudes" is not a classic on the order of "Attic." The narrative is a lengthy at nearly 450 pages and is sluggish at times. Companion Roger is not nearly as interesting a character as was Hodge and the moments of uproarious humor that made "Attic" so entertaining are mostly missing this time out. Nevertheless, "Blue Latitudes" is still a well-written and worthwhile read for those with an interest in the subject matter.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent read. Like A Walk in the Woods but in the historic Pacific. Entertaining and well researched.Published 10 days ago by Wayne
I re-read this book every year since it came out. A wonderful travel book; I highly recommend you take the time to read this.Published 25 days ago by Temeneos
Wish I'd known of this book before our trip to Australia and the South Pacific! Detailed, quirky, information about a man who changed the world.Published 28 days ago by Linda
This book combines historical accounts of Cook and his travels interspersed with the author and his sidekicks journey to retrace Cooks steps. Read morePublished 2 months ago by JK
The author spends most of the book talking about his own travels and not Captain Cooks. There is a little bit of good information, so it wasn't all that bad. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Good Merican
An amusing and humorously told modern travelogue intertwined with an interesting summary of Captain Cook's travels, and some commentary on the impact of the meeting of cultures.Published 2 months ago by David Platt
Well researched, interesting, entertaining. While it may have lagged in spots (cut 50 pages from the 450? Read morePublished 2 months ago by los
One of the best books I've ever read. Well researched. Well written. I now feel like I knew Captain Cook, personally. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer