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A Voyage Long and Strange

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3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,214 Ratings  ·  756 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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Howard
Tony Horwitz makes a rather startling confession in his introduction to "A Voyage Long and Strange." After viewing the famous rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts, he writes:

“I scanned the data stored in my own brain about America’s family of Europeans. ‘In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue’…John Smith and Jamestown…the Mayflower Compact…Pilgrims in funny hats…Of the Indians who met the English, I of course knew Pocahontas, Squanto, and … Hiawatha?

“…As far as dates, I’d
...more
Chris

This was an impulse buy. I was at the Smithsonian, the Native American, American Indian, museum, and this was in the bookstore. And since I get like 20% off because I’m a supporter and the cover was interesting, and the start sounded good.

And I had a really nice lunch.

So I figured what the hell.

And it was one of those times where it worked out. Go figure.
Horowitz travels to discover the discovery of America (at least discovery by white folks, but he’s honest about that part of it). Some of
...more
Dany Burns
Aug 28, 2016 Dany Burns rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be very enjoyable. I read this book as extra credit for one of my classes but liked it nonetheless. I really love learning about history but some academic history books can be very dry and boring to read so I like history books like this where it was written for a broad audience. There was a lot of stuff in this book I didn't know but also lots and lots of facts that I did know. This is probably partially because I'm in an American history class right now but some things tha ...more
Joshua
Sep 10, 2008 Joshua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jim Mcclanahan
Aug 18, 2013 Jim Mcclanahan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mike
Jul 30, 2008 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Judy
Jun 29, 2016 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a trip to Massachusetts, Tony Horwitz visited Plymouth Rock and realized that there was a huge gap in his understanding of American history--the period between Columbus's 1492 voyage to the New World and the founding of Jamestown in 1607. In an effort to fill in this period, he began studying early Viking, French, and Spanish exploration and colonization efforts in North America and visiting many of the actual locations involved. The result is an entertaining mix of the policies and personali ...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Sep 28, 2013 Susanna - Censored by GoodReads rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jun 04, 2008 Jesse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Gina
Jun 17, 2016 Gina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining survey of the European explorers of the Americas between Christopher Colombus and Plymouth Plantation. Entertainingly written, generally horrific in the details. This book would scare the pants off people worried about religions and cultures that foster violence and religious war. The Christian Europeans were generally unspeakably, unforgivably terrible. In league with anything I've read about ISIS, Nazis, Mongols, Japanese. Anyone. Among the absolute worst. Their greed stripped ...more
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
Mar 05, 2012 Rhonda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
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
Nov 14, 2010 James Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 04, 2009 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 it was amazing  ·  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
Lauren
Jul 15, 2009 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us-history
Tony Horwtiz's style really appeals to me - I like his "gung ho" approach of reporting. It totally worked in Confederates in the Attic and in Blue Latitudes.

I heard about this book before its release in 2007. I was visiting the Jamestown settlement in Virginia and overheard a conversation about how Horwitz had been there doing some research for his new book. I knew he was living in Virginia at the time, so it didn't come as a big surprise, and the timing was right, since Jamestown celebrated it
...more
Jennifer
Jul 24, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
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
Nov 01, 2011 Talia Carner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 16, 2009 Foster rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: exploration, history
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
Oct 05, 2008 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 27, 2010 Joshua rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
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
Jul 13, 2008 Katherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mas
Aug 07, 2016 Mas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable smashing of one of the main tenets of the American Mythology: that it is basically an English nation. Most of what is now the U.S. was explored by the Spanish Empire long before the English fairy tale of the Mayflower began. The Spanish had an equally large role in the slaughter and repression of Native Americans but also an enormous role in the development of our culture, a fact largely ignored by history texts.
Laurel
Jun 01, 2008 Laurel rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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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.
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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.” 7 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.” 5 likes
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