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Rounding the Horn: Being the Story of Williwaws and Windjammers, Drake, Darwin, Murdered Missionaries and Naked Natives--a Deck's-eye View of Cape Horn Paperback – May 25, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
The historical segments of this book are quite good, although far more information on Magellan and Drake is given than is needed to tell the history of Cape Horn. But by and large, the historical parts of this book work quite well and are satisfying to the reader. Much less interesting is Murphy's account of his wanderings through the archipelago. His 21st century experience is dull and uninteresting when juxtaposed against the rich history of Cape Horn.
In spite of this shortcoming, the book is certainly worth a read by those who are interested in learning more about this intriguing part of the world.
So I read the book.
Rounding the Horn is not a tale about Antarctica, although you will learn more about this continent, particularly the weather patterns associated with Cape Horn. It is a book about sailing in uncharted waters and troubled seas. It is a story of the destruction of indigenous peoples and cultures. You will be surprised at the number of famous explorers who challenged the Horn to ease access to the riches on the other side of the world. Charles Darwin himself visited, and was shaped, by his experiences in Tierra del Fuego.
This book was supposed to give the reader a greater understanding of the discovery (by the western world) of this area, of the dangers associated with crossing the Horn, of the natural and human history of the area, and how it affects a visitor's soul. It is about geography, physical and human. It is a travelogue. I think every reader will pick up on these issues, more or less. To me, it seemed that Dallas Murphy was trying to do too much with this book. There wasn't enough there to understand the native Yahgan people and their destruction. The maps, intended to keep the reader oriented with all the inlets and islands and bays, started blending in to one another, looking the same.Read more ›
Instead, the book is rich with insightful and entertaining descriptions of the early explorer's encounters with the climate, topography and indigenous people of that time. Covering everything from the earliest Spanish explorers to the present day territorial conflicts, he also includes wrongheaded missionaries and intriguing eyewitness accounts from clipper ship and windjammer voyages.
The history of the Yaghan natives such as the "adopted" Jemmy Button and "Fuegia Basket" was wonderfully detailed for the small amount of time spent on them. The author is a keen observer of things many of us would overlook or fail to appreciate properly. This book is definitely a page turner, as the author expertly seques from his present situations to wonderfully told sea stories.
Anyone who enjoys arcane history and anything to do with sailing or ocean adventures should enjoy this tremendously. Highly recommended.
The narrative alternates between the author's own short expedition through Tierra del Fuego and accounts of discovery, exploration, and feats of seafaring. Thankfully, the author doesn't try to overdramatize his own trip and as a result creates a nice contrast between his peaceful exploration of the area and the tumultuous history of natives, explorers and missionaries. I always feel that the danger of a book like this is that the author tries to take center stage and tell "his story," but that doesn't happen here. Instead, the author shares enough of his knowledge about Cape Horn and seafaring that the reader understands why he is so fascinated by seeing these places in person. The overall sense of balance to the book, and the wealth of information about an undernoticed area of the world, made this a very satisfying read.
I would recommend this book for those who liked Simon Winchester's Krakatoa, and vice versa.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this just after returning from Cape Horn. Excellent blend of history with the author's recent visit.Published 2 months ago by Robert M.
Within the first few pages, two things were clear. (1) The book was going to be a very interesting read. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Escéptico
Contemporary sailing around Cape Horn with some of the world's best sailors, combined with historical background on the Southern end of the Americas! Very interesting to read!Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
BOOK ARRIVED EARLIER THAN ANTICIPATED, IN CONDITION LISTED.
EVERYTHING COMPLETELY SATISFACTORY, THANK YOU.
Bit laborious at times but a great learning experience about a desolate place.Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
I read this while on a cruise around the horn. After reading about the ferocious winds and weather conditions, I realized just how lucky we were! Read morePublished 22 months ago by Gerald Maffeo