Thursday, August 12, 2010

Book Review: Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz

Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before by Tony Horwitz

After A Voyage Strange and True, I was SO looking forward to this book! I love Mr. Horwitz's writing AND topics, so what could be better, and it pretty much lived up to my expectations. In fact, in some ways it was even better. I really liked Mr. Horwitz's friend and travel companion Roger. Not only is it always better when your main character has someone to talk to as opposed to internal monologues, but Roger is hilarious: lazy, drunk, and laid-back. A perfect travel companion. While he does share Mr. Horwitz's fascination with Captain cook (to a point), he also has limits much more in line with the reader's (ie: sane.) He reminded me a bit of Stephen Katz, Bill Bryson's friend and occasional travel companion in A Walk in the Woods and Neither Here Nor There.

Tony Horwitz (and often Roger) retrace the 3 major exploration voyages of Captain Cook. He circumnavigated the world 3 times, got the closest to Antartica as anyone did for another 75 years, "discovered" scores of islands including New Zealand and Australia (although the natives and Aboriginals would argue that since they were already there, those places didn't need "discovering") and mapped thousands and thousands of miles of coastline, so accurately that some of his maps were being used until the 1990s. Mr. Horwitz sails in a replica Endeavor ship, travels all over the Pacific from New Zealand to Alaska (although he forgoes Antartica. Roger though goes, but there's only a couple of sentences about Roger's trip.)
Filled with fascinating trivia and often-forgotten history, I enjoyed traveling the Blue Latitudes with Tony and Roger. Armchair travel has rarely been so entertaining.

1 comment:

Carin said...

Wooo! I added this to my TBR pile on Shelfari after you commented on my Lost on Planet China post. This was the one that sounded most interesting to me so I thought I'd start with it. I'm really glad you liked it! It sounds fantastic!