A Voyage Long and Strange
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A Voyage Long and Strange

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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  4,518 ratings  ·  651 reviews
On a chance visit to Plymouth Rock, Tony Horwitz makes an unsettling discovery. A history buff since early childhood, expensively educated at university—a history major, no less!—he’s reached middle age with a third-grader’s grasp of early America. In fact, he’s mislaid more than a century of American history, the period separating Columbus’s landing in 1492 from the arriv...more
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Published April 29th 2008 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2008)
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Joshua
Every school kid is taught that Columbus "discovered" America in 1492 and that the Pilgrims stepped onto a rock in 1620, but what happened in between? To shed light on the American "Dark Ages," Tony Horwitz follows the trails, literally by car, blazed by the Vikings, Spanish, French and English explorers and exploiters. He is a very entertaining writer with a touch of sarcasm that is used to debunk the myths we were taught in school.

I liked how he hit the road and dug up folks along the sixteent...more
Mike
In this work Horwitz fills in the gaping chasm of knowledge we have regarding the exploration of North America by Europeans. Columbus' first landing on his first (of four) voyages WAS incredibly important. So were excursions by the Erikson family, de Leon, da Vaca, Coronado, de Soto and a host of others.

Any person with a shred of interest in American history MUST read this book. Like all Horwitz' work, it is carefully researched and winningly told. He employs his customary method of telling fir...more
Jim Mcclanahan
I couldn't resist this book after traversing Tony Horwitz' wonderful opus, Confederates in the Attic. Told in much the same way, i.e., interspersing dollops of grim and sometimes ridiculous historical events with interviews of current residents of the historical venues. Sometimes the current goings on are at least as crazy as the historical ones. But Horwitz' easy manner and ability to paint the historical picture with a jaundiced (if non-judgemental) eye serves the story well. Certainly the rea...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Sep 28, 2013 Susanna - Censored by GoodReads rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susanna - Censored by GoodReads by: my mother
Entertaining and knowledgeable.

For a further review: http://susannag.booklikes.com/post/45... .
Sandy D.
This is almost perfect mix of history (and history that is virtually unknown to most Americans, I think, despite the importance of this period) and modern storytelling. Horwitz looks at most of the major voyages of exploration and colonization before the Pilgrims came to Mass. in 1620: the Vikings in Newfoundland around 1000 AD; Columbus; then the Spanish in FL and the SE and the SW US (including Coronado going all the way up to Kansas in 1542, and Cabeza de Vaca's bizarre journey from FL all th...more
Jesse
Early America is weird. There are lots of lost people, lots of cannibalism, vanished expeditions, cities of gold, and a whole lot of maltreatment of natives. Horwitz's history-tourism stuff is always fun and entertaining, and he somehow manages to hook up with a good bunch of cranks and nutsos to track the story's ramifications to the present vividly. This probably works best in Confederates in the Attic, where he's tracking the resonances of the Civil War, and thus the story isn't even over yet...more
Jackson Burnett
This book needs a more manageable title. I never can remember it and if you read it, I suspect you'll have the same experience.

This is a travel/history book. The author visits historical locations of events that occurred between the first landing of Columbus and the settlement of Jamestown. Believe it or not, this was one of the richest periods in American history.

Horwitz tells those stories and of his travels with verve.

Now I just need of a way to remember this fine book's title.
Faithy Kingston
This was a really interesting book both historically and as a look at culture from 1400-1700 in America and abroad. I realised I am so clueless when it comes to the founding of our nation. The author handled this topic in a nice way, without romanticsing the facts and yet still keeping a human appeal. Dragged towards the end,but very enjoyable.
Alex
Nicely done. Horwitz isn't for everyone; he likes to combine pop history with his own travelogues, which turns some people off. But he's easy to read, and (from what I can gather) he gets his facts straight. For folks like me who need an easy introduction to one phase of history or another, he's pretty useful.
Rhonda
As others have mentioned in their reviews, Horwitz cannot decide whether he is writing a travel book or a history book. He does, however, explain exactly how he came to write the book and the real wonder is that the rest of us haven't done the same thing. While I didn't find any of the history truly eye-opening, it was sometimes more than interesting. Although, I disagreed with his absolute conclusions, one should ask oneself how, in any given history, certain things rise to the top to be rememb...more
James Mitchell
My wife picked this up as a quick read at an airport and tossed it at me when she got back saying "You might like this". A year later I finally pick it up looking for something lighter than the theoretical tome I just finished and boy, did I like it. This is one of my favorite styles of writing: historical facts blended with personal anecdotes and adventures. While he relates the various renditions on "who discovered America", he travels to those destinations to see how the modern residents deal...more
Liz
Tony Horwitz tells the story of the settling of North America with an eye trained on the oddities that make the ancient and current crop of Americans hilarious when viewed with a jaundiced eye. In a fit of pique, he refuses to start his story with the Pilgrims, instead following the adventures of the Vikings, the Spanish, the French and others who crossed the sea or traversed the southwestern desert and the Florida peninsula in search of gold. (The Vikings didn't seem to be as interested in gold...more
James (JD) Dittes
While I love traveling, I usually hate travelogues. I don't like writers who make fun of locals, or fit every sight into a personal agenda; I don't read to learn about writers--I want to learn about sites.

Tony Horwitz is one of the best writers at teaching. His trips fit into an agenda--usually an historical one--and his bibliography is incredible. In Voyage, Horwitz sets off to learn about America's pre-Pilgrim history--the reality before our founding myths of Thanksgiving and Indian brotherhoo...more
Rena
Jul 09, 2008 Rena rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Rena by: NPR
During the last few months I heard several NPR stories on Tony Horwitz and his newest book, "A Voyage Long and Strange." I decided that I must read the book and splurged on the hardback version at a small bookstore in Alpine, Texas called Front Street Books. The kindly woman working the counter suggested I also buy his "Blue Latitudes," which I did, and "Confederates in the Attic," which I did not... yet. I devoured "A Voyage Long and Strange" as my husband read "Blue Latitudes." We have now swa...more
Jennifer
One of the many aspects of Horowitz’s scholarship and basic inquisitive nature that I admire is his hands-on determination to investigate “common knowledge,” find out how much of it is “true,” and set his investigations within not only a realistic and good-humored account of documented history, but also a real-time narrative of his adventures concerning the folks he meets along his investigative way. Given how grounded he is, he is at his best with good fodder, such as in Confederates in the Att...more
Talia Carner
A Haunting Journey into the Past
Tony Horwitz's "A Voyage Long and Strange" is a wonderfully told mix of historical facts and myths revisited by a modern-day adventurer. As he explores the roots of America's discovery and colonization, he does so with engaging prose and lively descriptions that bring to life not only the many forgotten chapters of America's history, but also its today's physical landscape.

Challenged by his quest to reshape the historical narrative of the Vikings, Conquistadors,...more
Foster
I picked up this book on the recommendation of the wonderful folks at Distant Lands travel store in Pasadena, and it was amazing. I was intrigued by the book's premise: the author, bemused by the omission of a century and a half of history from his middle school education, sought to fill in the gap from Columbus' arrival in 1492 to the establishment of the Plymouth colony.

Horowitz unearths a trove of incredible stories, which have been forgotten, ignored, or purposefully left out of the "officia...more
Ken
After I read Tony Horwitz' previous book, Blue Latitudes, I loved it so much I read every Horwitz book I could get my hands on. Now, "A Voyage Long and Strange" is here, and it's one of his strongest books yet.

Horwitz is an author who writes in what I think of as a subgenre, the travel narrative combined with researched background information. (Bill Bryson is another author famous for this kind of writing). Here, Horwitz travels to locations in Canada, the US and Central America, and traces the...more
Joshua
Wildly swinging reviews--the one star of Philip Roth's The Humbling to the five star treatment for Tony Horwitz's A Voyage Long and Strange. I don't give very many ones or fives so this is kind of odd going back to back with these two.

I'd read Horwitz's Confederates In the Attic years and years ago and really loved it (all about Civil War re-enactors and their ilk) but hadn't seen any new books by him. What a mistake by me to not see what else he's written. This book has so much stuff I'm into i...more
Michael VanZandt
I came to this book full of expectations and intrigue, after Horwitz's phenomenal pop-historical jaunt through the weirdness of neo-Confederate headlines and Dixie locales in "Confederates in the Attic." The subject of public memory, as its predecessor, is also a topic near and dear to my heart. Reared on James Louwen's "Lies My Teacher Told Me", I was ready to embark full-hearted on a cross-country romp through the misstated facts of American civil mythology. Closing the book for the last time,...more
Katherine
I think it is the best history that I have EVER read. Horwitz traces the American explorers and settlers from the Vikings to the Puritans, with the intent of teaching the history other than "Columbus came in 1492 and then the Pilgrims landed on the rock in the 1620's". The book is exceptionally written, and a very enjoyable read. I learned quite a bit while reading. For example, did you know a group of French Huguenots (Protestants) settled near Jacksonville, Florida, in the mid 1500's to escape...more
Laurel
Jun 01, 2008 Laurel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all U.S. Citizens
Recommended to Laurel by: Heard about it on NPR...
Educational, well-researched and documented, but also FUN - makes you want to read out loud and share with whoever's in the room at the time! Discovering that, even with his college degree in history, he really had very little knowledge about America's early years...Horwitz not only delves into the archives, he actually follows the routes of early explorers, and talks to current inhabitants of the places along those routes. He is a delightful writer - it is, as one review put it, part history an...more
Jen
I love Tony Horowitz and this genre that I term "history travels", where he writes about a historical subject and travels the present-day locales in search of its legacy. Here he looks at the exploration and settlement of the US by Europeans, prior to the Pilgrims' 1620 arrival at Plymouth. As with Horowitz's other works, I enjoy his recounting of the history, how he fills in my sketchy knowledge of our continent's early explorers in a highly readable fashion. I also enjoy his accounts of his cu...more
Lateniteknitter
I really enjoyed this very readable overview of some of the early explorers of North America. While I'd heard of all of them, and knew a fair amount about several, there were still many surprises, and I kept grabbing my husband to say, "Did you have any idea that . . .?" and reading passages at him. I'm now left wanting to know more, and the lengthy source notes and bibliography at the back of the book are feeding my to-read list!

I also enjoyed the author's adventures in retracing the explorers'...more
Marcel
A wonderfully readable history of the exploration of the Americas with an emphasis on North America. The author must be friendly with the natives, for he somehow talked his way into numerous homes, offices, stores and occasions in search of a modern slant on each story of Spanish and English conquest. His story begins with the Vikings, ends with Plymouth Rock, and covers the major players in between. The ability of the author to meet up with present day locals who are knowledgeable with the vari...more
Kathy
When the author finds out that the Pilgrims were at the tail end of a long, long procession of Europeans who landed in North America and settled here well before them, he sets out to discover what actually happened in the years between 1492 (Columbus' supposed discovery of America) and 1620 (the date of the Pilgrims' landing.) I loved it! He travels the routes himself and the book goes back and forth from present day to the past. This book completely revised my opinion of US history books. So mu...more
Susan
Reading Tony Horwitz is a wonderful way to learn history. His research on his subject takes him to the most interesting and improbable people and places, and his easy style of writing with always a touch of humor keeps things lively. In this book, the second of his that I have read, he seeks out and follows the paths of those who "discovered" America. Finding that a large number of Americans confuse Columbus and the Mayflower, he sets out to find out what happened in the century between these mo...more
Dana
I enjoyed this book for its combination of history and present day travel adventures. It seems thoroughly researched and yet remains accessible to a large audience.

I am slightly disappointed that there are no citations within the text itself. There were many instances in which I would wonder where the author found his information because I was either interested in reading further or because I questioned his conclusion. He does list sources for further reading for each chapter, but in-text citat...more
Christina Gagliano
I love this author's approach to history and the way he explores people's perceptions of history, his writing style, and his choice of topics. This book was equally as interesting and engaging as Confederates in the Attic, which is one of my favorite books ever. As I told him at the Boston Book Festival two years ago, he and his wife (Geraldine Brooks) have given me the gift of many hours of happy reading.
J.R.
Franz Kafka wrote, “The history of the world, as it is written and handed down by word of mouth, often fails us completely; but man’s intuitive capacity, though it often misleads, does lead, does not ever abandon one.”

In seeking to pin down details of the settling of America, Tony Horwitz found a story that varies from place to place and person to person and finds its most commonly accepted versions relegated to myth, myth all too often only loosely based on truth.

You can read my full review on...more
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Date of Birth: 1958

Tony Horwitz is an American journalist and writer. His works include Blue Latitudes, One for the Road, Confederates In The Attic and Baghdad Without A Map. His most recent work, published in April 2008, is A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World, a history and travelogue dealing with the early European exploration of North America.
More about Tony Horwitz...
Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before Baghdad without a Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War One for the Road: An Outback Adventure

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“Finally, in the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November 1863 as Thanksgiving: a day to solemnly acknowledge the sacrifices made for the Union....Shopping was part of the American Dream, too. So in 1939, at the urging of merchants, FDR moved Thanksgiving ahead a week, to lengthen the Christmas shopping season. And there it has remained, a day of national gluttony, retail pageantry, TV football, and remembrance of the Pilgrims, a folk so austere that they regarded Christmas as a corrupt Papist holiday.” 5 likes
“The past was a consumable, subject to the national preference for familiar products. And history, in America, is a dish best served plain. The first course could include a dollop of Italian in 1492, but not Spanish spice or French sauce or too much Indian corn. Nothing too filling or fancy ahead of the turkey and pumpkin pie, just the way Grandma used to cook it.” 2 likes
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