- Hardcover: 464 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (April 29, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805076034
- ISBN-13: 978-0805076035
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 198 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #697,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World Hardcover – April 29, 2008
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
SignatureReviewed by Robert Sullivan. As opposed to the Pilgrims, Tony Horwitz begins his journey at Plymouth Rock.Plymouth Rock is a myth. The Pilgrims—who, Horwitz notes, were on a mission that was based less on freedom and the schoolbook history ideas the president of the United States typically mentions when he pardons a turkey at the White House and more on finding a cure for syphilis—may or may not have noticed it. In about 1741, a church elder in Plymouth, winging it, pointed out a boulder that is now more like a not-at-all-precious stone. Three hundred years later, people push and shove to see it in summer tourist season, wearing T-shirts that say, America's Hometown. Which eventually leads an overstimulated (historically speaking) Horwitz to come close to starting a fight in a Plymouth bar. Not to Virginians it isn't, he writes. Or Hispanics or Indians.Forget all the others, his bar mate says loudly. This is the friggin' beginning of America!A Voyage Long and Strange is a history-fueled, self-imposed mission of rediscovery, a travelogue that sets out to explore the surprisingly long list of explorers who discovered America, and what discovered means anyway, starting with the Vikings in A.D. 1000, and ending up on the Mayflower. Horwitz (Blue Latitudes; Confederates in the Attic) even dons conquistador gear, making the narrative surprisingly fun and funny, even as he spends a lot of time describing just how badly Columbus and subsequently the Spanish treated people. (Highpoint: a trip to a Columbus battle site in the Dominican Republic, when Horwitz gets stuck with a nearly inoperable rental car in a Sargasso Sea of traffic.) In the course of tracing the routes of de Soto in, for instance, Tennessee, and the amazing Cabeza de Vaca (Daniel Day Lewis's next role?) in Tucson, Ariz., Horwitz drives off any given road to meet the back-to-the-land husband-and-wife team researching Coronado's expeditions through Mexico; or the Fed Ex guy who may be a link to the lost colonists of the Elizabethan Roanoke expedition.Horwitz can occasionally be smug about what constitutes custom—who's to say that a Canadian tribe's regular karaoke night isn't a community-building exercise as valid as the communal sweat that nearly kills Horwitz early on in his thousands of miles of adventures? But as a character himself, he is friendly and always working hard to listen and bear witness. I hate the whole Thanksgiving story, says a newspaper editor of Spanish descent, a man he meets along the trail of Coronado. We should be eating chili, not turkey. But no one wants to recognize the Spanish because it would mean admitting that they got here decades before the English.Robert Sullivan is the author of Cross Country, How Not to Get Rich and Rats .
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Horwitz has presented what could be described as a guide for those who are historically ignorant of the "lost century" between the first voyage of Columbus and the establishment of Jamestown in 1607. In this informative, whimsical, and thoroughly enjoyable account, Horwitz describes the exploits of various explorers and conquistadores and enriches the stories with his own experiences when visiting some of the lands they "discovered." Horwitz writes in a breezy, engaging style, so this combination of popular history and travelogue will be ideal for general readers.” ―Booklist (starred review)
“Irreverent, effervescent… accessible to all ages, hands-on and immensely readable, this book invites readers to search out America 's story for themselves.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“This readable and vastly entertaining history travelogue is highly recommended.” ―Library Journal (starred review)
“Funny and lively…popular history of the most accessible sort. The stories [Horwitz] tells are full of vivid characters and wild detail.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“A romp through the sixteenth century…. Horwitz has an ear for a good yarn and an instinct for the trail leading to an entertaining anecdote.” ―The Washington Post
“Honest, wonderfully written, and heroically researched…. Horwitz unearths whole chapters of American history that have been ignored.” ―Boston Globe
“Like travel writer Bill Bryson, Horwitz has a penchant for meeting colorful characters and getting himself into bizarre situations.” ―The Christian Science Monitor
“A sweeping history.… A fascinating story, filled with adventure, Vikings, French voyageurs and those Pilgrims.” ―The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Horwitz is a very funny writer.” ―Bloomberg News
“A winning and eye-opening read.… Horwitz's charm, smarts, impeccable research and curiosity make this a voyage worth taking.” ―The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
“By conveying our past so heartily, handsomely and winsomely, Tony Horwitz does America proud.” ―The Providence Journal
Top customer reviews
Ultimately Horwitz does have some very interesting thoughts and observations about the peoples we cut out of American History or whom we gloss over, as they truly do relate more to who we are as a society rather than some phony ideal. The Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock sound like a great story, coming here for religious freedom, but the true story is actually a bit different as are the stories of the Puritans who later settled in what is now Boston. Narratives for these disparate groups were used by Consensus Historians to help frame a narrative of American Exceptionalism that whitewashes and overlooks certain elements while emphasizing others. There were many reasons why colonists came to what became the United States, but religious freedom was only one of many reasons why. Omitting the other reasons doesn't do us any favors nor does it present a balanced or nuanced portrait of our country or our people and those who came before us. The result is a diminished and demeaned understanding of who we are and what shaped our country and society. Horwitz certainly likes to poke fun at local historians, heritage and genealogical societies, and other historical groups for the biases and agendas and while I certainly fall in some of those categories and am a member of some of those groups I don't take offense as I'm well aware of the extremists that are out there. My point is not everyone who takes an interest in these groups is necessarily a nut case or whack job; there are many people who genuinely care about accurately and completely representing history and historical events. Its fine to poke fun at these groups but my concern is that as membership in these groups slowly fades out generationally what will take their place? What will likely happen is a diminishment and decrease in historic preservation, historiographical debate, and the contesting of public spaces which will further erode our understanding of our history. From a personal perspective I'd love to have Horwitz come up with something forward looking and actionable on what he feels needs to be done about our sad state of understanding and relating to history. It's easy to be an armchair quarterback criticizing everyone and everything, but it's another to come up with how to make things better. And quite honestly myth is easier to explain to people without the messy and complicated nuances, balanced explanations, opposing and contrarion points of view and more. It's hard to boil complicated issues down to a small panel is a museum (trust me...I know!) and to that extent it's an easier shortcut to go with myth. Why do you think ghost tours are so popular? It's not authenticity, it's the goosebumps factor of the myths and legends. People can chose to believe what they wish to believe and ignore the rest. Or as it was put in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", "when legend becomes fact, print the legend."