Andrew Frueh's Reviews > Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before

Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz
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Dec 24, 11

bookshelves: memoir, history
Read from December 19 to 24, 2011

An absolute pleasure to read. The very best type of history book. Much like David McCullough, he puts history (Captain Cook in this case), in very human terms. He doesn't focus simply on dates and events, but instead on the thoughts and motives of the people involved - faults and all. He tries to the best of his ability to help the reader understand Cook as a human being, not as a hero or devil.

But Horwitz even surpasses McCullough in the regard that he makes an effort to connect the past to the present. He frames the history of Cook around his own present day retracing of the Captain's three voyages. This works not only as a literary device, but also gives the history some modern context as well. Add to this the fact that Horwitz's writing is excellent; he has an unassuming, conversational tone and is often humorous to the point of being laugh-out-loud funny. His modern day adventures even take on a Hunter S. Thomson quality at times, with Horwitz's friend, Roger, filling the role of Dr. Gonzo. But a more apt comparison would probably be to the writing of Bill Bryson, of which there are many parallels.

Blue Latitudes is a wonderful, joy-ride of a book. It's so much fun to read that you don't even notice how much you're learning at the same time. Highly recommended to everyone.
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12/20/2011 page 107
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