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A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 29, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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
Horwitz set out to explore all the points in the New World "discovered" and described by early explorers. Focusing on the three categories (that frequently, in reality, overlapped) of discovery, conquest, and settlement, Horwitz narrates the history of, for example, Coronado's search for the Cities of Gold (pp. 134-164) or the settlement of Roanoke's "lost colony" (pp. 293-325), and interweaves in the narration accounts of his own travels over Coronado's route and his exploration of the Carolina peninsula where the lost colony once flourished. The mixture makes for exciting reading, lending a contemporary vitality to the historical descriptions.
I was especially intrigued by Horwitz's account of the Spanish exploration of the New World (chapters 5-9). It's as good a short account of the conquest of the southeastern coastal regions, the southwestern deserts, and the plains west of the Mississippi, as any I know. Chapter 9, which deals with de Soto's rather aimless trek north of what today is Louisiana into Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas--which Horwitz describes as "wandering blind, deaf, and mute in the middle of the continent" (p.Read more ›
"A Voyage Long and Strange" covers the murky epoch between the original "discovery" of America and the 1620 Plymouth settlement, when men like Hernando de Soto and Cabeza de Vaca were wandering lost and starving through America, looking for gold and shooting everything else. Fascinating stuff.
While our public schools continue their relentless rewriting of history to fit the agenda of special interest groups (such as the criminal protection lobby's removal of firearms from image of Washington crossing the Delaware), it's good to come across a book based on open-minded research. Turning the conventional pattern completely backwards, Horwitz seeks information and then forms conclusions. That approach made this book a "keeper." In fact, Horwitz deftly defrocks a long list of myths, half-truths, and utter fabrications that are almost canonical today.
He defies another convention by staying on topic. If you've been offended by books the author uses to segue into political side issues, you'll be pleased at Horwitz's not doing that.
Tony Horwitz follows the centuries-long European discovery of the new world. This discovery didn't, as popular myth holds, start at Plymouth Rock. Nor, as we are told during Thanksgiving each year, did European settlement begin with the Pilgrims. In fact, those folks didn't call themselves Pilgrims--that's a label fabricated for them in much later times.
The discovery, exploration, and settlement occurred in fits and starts. It was more stumbling and bumbling than it was heroic conquest. And it was more often brutal than it was noble.
While reading this, I frequently laughed aloud. Horwitz has a knack for keeping things lively with quips, barbs, and acerbic wit. His own adventures while visiting the many places discussed in the book sometimes produced situations that were farcical enough for a few chuckles. At other times, the people he ran across were, themselves, hilarious.Read more ›
The book explores the lusty, violent period in American history between Columbus and Jamestown. Horwitz embarks on a journey of his own, exploring the modern-day places where our country began. Along the way he uncovers some strange truths -- Columbus never saw or set foot on any land that became U.S. soil; Pocahontas was only 10 years old when she met John Smith and they were never romantic; Ponce de Leon was looking not for the Fountain of Youth but rather gold, just like so many others. The overall picture is cruel, hilarious, messy, unfair and always fascinating.
Over a dozen maps and many historical black and white illustrations are scattered through the book.
Here's the chapter list:
Part 1: Discovery
1. Vinland: First contact
2. 1492: The hidden half of the globe
3. Santo Domingo: The Columbus jinx
4. Dominican Republic: You think there are still Indians?
Part II: Conquest
5. The Gulf Coast: Naked in the New World
6. The Southwest: To the Seven Cities of Stone
7. The Plains: Sea of grass
8. The South: De Soto does Dixie
9. The Mississippi: Conquistador's last stand
Part III: Settlement
10. Florida: Fountain of youth, river of blood
11. Roanoke: Lost in the lost colony
12. Jamestown: The captain and the naturals
13. Plymouth: A tale of two rocks
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting and informative book about little known and less appreciated exploration and settlements of North America long before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
Very well researched, bringing life to many of the people involved in discovering the North American continent. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Peigi
Although he is not a "licensed" historian, Horwitz brings his enquiring mind to report what happened in the USA between 1492 and 1607. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jay
This book was at times hard to read because Horwitz does not gloss over the cruel and ruthless acts of the conquistadors and other European arrivals to America What was taught in... Read morePublished 4 months ago by ReedOn
Tony Horwitz at his most enchanting......... He uncovers intriguing details about some of the lost (on purpose? Read morePublished 4 months ago by Russ Rothman
Horwitz' style of combining historical fact with present day travel writing is wonderful. This is the second book I've read by Horizons.Published 4 months ago by A. Frazer