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Tony Horwitz : Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before
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Author: Tony Horwitz
Title: Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before
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Published in: English
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 496
Date: 2003-08-01
ISBN: 0312422601
Publisher: Picador
Weight: 0.9 pounds
Size: 5.75 x 0.94 x 8.27 inches
Edition: 0
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Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before

Two centuries after James Cook's epic voyages of discovery, Tony Horwitz takes readers on a wild ride across hemispheres and centuries to recapture the Captain’s adventures and explore his embattled legacy in today’s Pacific. Horwitz, a Pulitzer Prize-winner and author of Confederates in the Attic, works as a sailor aboard a replica of Cook’s ship, meets island kings and beauty queens, and carouses the South Seas with a hilarious and disgraceful travel companion, an Aussie named Roger. He also creates a brilliant portrait of Cook: an impoverished farmboy who became the greatest navigator in British history and forever changed the lands he touched. Poignant, probing, antic, and exhilarating, Blue Latitudes brings to life a man who helped create the global village we inhabit today.


Amazon.com Review
Captain James Cook's three epic 18th-century explorations of the Pacific Ocean were the last of their kind, literally completing the map of the world. Yet despite his monumental discoveries, principally in the South Pacific, Cook the man has remained an enigma. In retracing key legs of the circumnavigator's journey, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz chronicles the cultural and environmental havoc wrought by the captain's opening of the unspoiled Pacific to the West, as well as the alternately indifferent and passionate reactions Cook's name evokes during the writer's journeys through Polynesia, Australia, the Aleutians, and the explorer's native England. Horwitz skillfully weaves a biography and travel narrative with warm humor that is natural and human-scale, and his restless inquisitiveness quickly infects the reader. While striking dichotomies abound throughout that journey--Maori toughs who adopt Nazi imagery to symbolize their own fight against white domination, millennia-old Polynesian sexual mores that would shame the Reeperbahn, a sense that Christianity decimated native cultures at least as effectively as Western venereal diseases did--few are more poignant than the ones that abound in Cook's own life. This fine work is an adventurous reminder that answers to historical riddles are elusive at best--and seldom as compelling as the myriad new questions they pose. --Jerry McCulley

Reviews: Marianne (Australia) (2012/05/29):
Blue Latitudes is the 4th book by Pulitzer prize-winning American journalist and writer, Tony Horwitz. It has been described as part-travelogue, part-history and in it, Horwitz follows, to some extent, the three Pacific voyages of British explorer, navigator and cartographer, James Cook. Horwitz compares points of interest from Cook’s journals with their current day state and comments on contrasts and similarities. Observations from Cook’s diary of the peoples and lands he discovered, which might have made for dry reading, are made more interesting when related to Horwitz’s own present-day experiences in those places. Horwitz admits that it is difficult for him to faithfully follow Cook’s travels when he is not doing so in a wooden ship sailing to inaccessible, inhospitable and antisocial places like Antarctica, which he expediently omits. Horwitz starts his experience with a short stint on HMS Bark Endeavour, to give him a taste of a sailor’s life in the 18th century. He then travels on, by more modern means, to Tahiti and Bora Bora, New Zealand, Australia, Niue and Tonga, Yorkshire and London, Alaska and, finally, to the scene of Cook’s death at Kealakekua Bay on the island of Hawaii. His companion is cynical, drinking, swearing, Aussie (ex-Yorkshire) Roger, whose wry reflections add plenty of humour. Horwitz comments on the changes wrought to peoples first discovered by Cook, because of that discovery, and the impossibility of Cook’s missions: terra australis and the North West Passage. If the eyes begin to glaze over in the Tonga chapter, the mention of Cook’s descendants soon remedies this. Amid the dearth of authentic Cook relics in Yorkshire, Horwitz finds a clue to Cook’s character in an unlikely place. It was interesting to learn of the derivation from Polynesian of certain words and expressions now in common usage in the English language, among them tattoo and taboo. Bougainvillea and kangaroo also had surprising origins. An interesting and informative read.





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