James (JD) Dittes's Reviews > A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists, and Other Adventurers in Early America

A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz
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Jul 30, 2011

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 brotherhood.

His travels take him to the Dominican Republic in search of Columbus, to Zuni Pueblo in the footsteps of Coronado, through Virginia's swampy tidewaters with descendants of Powhatan, and on a wild canoe ride across the Mississippi in the footsteps of Coronado.

I really enjoyed learning more about Columbus, and I was astonished at the breadth of destruction that DeSoto left on his terrorizing sojourn through America's Southeast from 1540 to 1542. For fans of Horwitz's Confederates in the Attic, he spends a day dressed as an iron-clad conquistador in Florida.

Again, the strength of this book is Horwitz's careful reading and reporting. He never fully dispels the Plymouth Myth, not should he. But the reader will leave with a better appreciation of the experiences of both European explorers and Native Americans.
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amaya one part of mr horwitz's writing i love is that, whilst his opinions peek through a bit, he does a great job of telling the facts in an engaging way without demeaning those that cross his path (however odd they may be at times, haha). his passion is clear, but he doesn't use his platform to ridicule or mock others' perspectives, no matter how different or quirky they may be. i like that about him; he lets the reader decide. (=

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