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The Devil May Care: Fifty Intrepid Americans and Their Quest for the Unknown

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  61 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Stripped naked and pursued across cactus-studded plains by a band of armed Blackfoot Indians, John Colter escaped certain death to become the one of the most durable characters in western American history. But Colter's harrowing tale was not beyond the ordinary when compared to the adventures of other American explorers. In The Devil May Care, popular historian and travel ...more
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published October 16th 2003 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published September 1st 2003)
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Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a book !! Tony Horwitz poured over 18,000 mini-biographies from the 27 volumes of “American National Biography” to find 50 American adventurers overlooked for decades by standard history books.

Early day historians established heroes, and every historian who came along promoted the same heroes. Granted, they were heroes. But writing about them to the exclusion of others just doesn’t seem right. Take Simon Kenton. He did everything Dan’l Boone did, and he rescued Boone when he was attacked
I really like Horwitz's work, but this wasn't really what I expected. Sure, there are plenty of good mini-biographies of fascinating folk, but then you could have called the book Fifty Interesting Americans, except some of the people weren't even Americans. And often they really were not on quests. Surely there is no one in the book that doesn't deserve some attention, but I wonder really what was the purpose of this book. Now, if Horwitz had written the entries, and put his unusual spin on thin ...more
Jun 23, 2008 rated it liked it
A lot of interesting lives. Reading any given individual life described, amazing as they often are, I felt as if my sense of the world and of history and of America was expanded and enhanced. But they never really added up to anything here. There will always be thousands and thousands more fascinating American lives than we can know about or comprehend. Here are fifty. Was it worth the investment of time and attention? I don't know. Maybe.
Lou Soskin
I was disappointed. I found myself skipping through the book.
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Really ended up skippin gover lots of this...not that interesting to be honest. Horwitz is the editor, not the writer, so it has none of his humor.
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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...