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A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  8,256 ratings  ·  952 reviews

The bestselling author of Blue Latitudes takes us on a thrilling and eye-opening voyage to pre-Mayflower America

On a chance visit to Plymouth Rock, Tony Horwitz realizes he’s mislaid more than a century of American history, from Columbus’s sail in 1492 to Jamestown’s founding in 16-oh-something. Did nothing happen in between? Determined to find out, he embarks on a jou

Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2008)
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Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Horwitz's past work has a wonderful knack for combining travel, history, and current culture into a satisfying blend that leaves the reader interested and informed. "A Voyage Long and Strange" is not as good as his past efforts, but it is a delightful and informative read none the less.
I guess my education was not as bad as the ones lamented by Horwitz in this text because I had a passing familiarity with most of the explorers, conquistadors, etc. that he mentioned. Still, Horwitz developed
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
First, I'd really rate this a 3.5 star book, and perhaps even a four-star. I admit a bias about Tony Horwitz's writing, which perhaps reflects more on my unrealistic expectations of a travel writer than on Tony Horwitz, or perhaps a rush to judgment on my part. The jury is still out, and I will work my way through Horwitz's oeuvre to reach a more nuanced conclusion. Let me say, for now, that based on my previous reading of Horwitz (Confederates in the Attic), I found his writing style bland and ...more

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
Kath ❅
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
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World gets 4 Stars, not for being enjoyable but for being a good read. Horwitz is on a mission to destroy founding myths and rub your nose in the sometimes cruel facts. He succeeds. The focus of the book is from Columbus to the 1620 landing of the Pilgrims. Much of the book is therefore about the Spanish, some French, a couple Portuguese and then the English at the end of the story.

When someone bemoans the terrible impact of the “Europeans” on Na
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like many Americans, I was raised on the traditional stories of the Pilgrims and other myths about our nations’ origins. Horwitz evidently received the same sort of education, and after an unintended visit to Plymouth Rock, he was inspired to fill in the gaps in his knowledge. Accordingly, he sets off on a journey across North America, venturing to Canada, the Caribbean, and most regions of the United States.

Horwitz relates to the reader the stories of the various European expeditions to the New
Aug 30, 2008 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
Jim Mcclanahan
Jul 09, 2013 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
Jul 02, 2008 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
Jul 30, 2008 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
This book has some bright spots, but is terribly difficult to get through in others. He's rambling about local joints and what he's doing and absurd conversations when I want to know about the dealings of Columbus, Coronado, De Soto, Cortez and others. Oh, and leave your bullshit liberal tendencies at home or wherever it is that dumbasses follow that drivel of thought. I almost quit the book at "Gluttony and guilt: constant bedfellows in the Bible Belt South". Completely unnecessary.

He talks vag
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Feb 23, 2010 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: .
Mar 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: colonial-america
While a tourist at Plymouth Rock, Tony Horwitz realized that, for him, the years between Columbus' landing in 1492 and the Pilgrim's Mayflower voyage in 1620 were a complete void. He decides to embark on a journey back in time, exploring sites in the Americas pertinent to European colonization before 1620. In his travels, he explores the Dominican Republic, where Columbus landed in 1492, retraces the path of Hernando de Soto through what is now the southeastern US, and visits sites in the Southw ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a long voyage alright. Took me well over a year, if I am being honest. This would have made a great serial in a magazine, one chapter published each month or quarter. That’s just how I read it - one chapter at a time, pausing (sometimes for months) to pick up other things. But it was a worthy read and I was reminded (in much greater detail than I probably ever knew) of pre-Pilgrim American discovery. Perhaps Horowitz assumed we as reader knew enough about the story of the Pilgrims to gl ...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
Sandy D.
This is an 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 ...more
Mar 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, exploration
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
Jun 04, 2008 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
Oct 05, 2008 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
Mar 03, 2016 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
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What happened in what is now the United States between 1492, when Columbus "discovered" America and 1620, when the "first" settlers came to America on the Mayflower?

Most Americans would be very unlikely to be able to give any kind of adequate answer to that question. Neither could the author of this book, Tony Horwitz, before he decided to research it himself.

The book is very easy to read and focuses only on some of the most intriguing and important events that took place during that time. More
Jun 29, 2016 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
Oct 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gave up about 1/3 through the book. Billed as the history of the discovery of the new world, the book was actually almost entirely about the experiences of the author in traveling around to research the history of the new world. I found zero interest in the experiences of the author.
Further, a lot of the "history" the author recounts is obviously just folk tales about the history that he came across in his travels. Again, of no real scholarly interest.
If I had thought to check I would have learn
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.
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. ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
March pick for non-fiction! This was supposed to be a break from military history and war leaders that I’ve been picking up to read. And… it was. At one level. At another it was probably entirely infinitely more fucking depressing than the exploits of the Mongols and Crusaders.

This was good and very educating, because the author set out to educate himself on the exact same period of history I’ve been looking to learn more about too – that early “Age of Discovery”. A rather narrower view, looking
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an easy read and would do well as preliminary reading for any History 101 class. Even though Horwitz is honing on the period European colonisation of the US, it demonstrates the somewhat, fluidity, of historical accounts and what ‘actually’ took place. I think most people realise that Columbus never sighted what is now any US landform, but the deception of the history goes much deeper.

He begins his story with the Vikings and confirmed settlements on US soil as early as 1000 CE follo
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book, A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World by Tony Horwitz, after a visit to Plymouth Rock, the author decides to go looking for what he calls missing American history between Columbus in 1492 to Jamestown in the 1600s. To him it seemed like there was a gap that was generally left blank and unexplained as if nothing of note had occurred. He decided to search out this missing history by going on a journey to explore the events and people that filled in this gap before th ...more
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Date of Birth: 1958

Tony Horwitz was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author whose books include Blue Latitudes, Confederates In The Attic and Baghdad Without A Map. His most recent work, published in May 2019, is Spying on the South, which follows Frederick Law Olmsted's travels from the Potomac to the Rio Grande as an undercover correspondent in the 1850s.
Tony was also president of the S

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