Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World

A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World
Tony Horowitz
Holt, Apr 29 2008, $27.50
ISBN: 9780805076035

Upon a visit to Massachusetts, Tony Horowitz is awed when he sees Plymouth Rock; not out of it being grand sort of an American Gibraltar, but to realize it is not much more than a pebble. As one child points out, the Pilgrims must have had small feet to land on that rock. Tony reflects on what he knows about American history only to draw major blanks for over a century and half; from Columbus until Jamestown. What frightens Tony is that he graduated with a history degree. Thus he vows to track the story of the European explorers who traveled American even before Columbus. Starting with the Vikings and following with the French and Spanish, Tony tracks those who came before Jamestown.

With a nod to Mr. Wuhl’s HBO special Assume The Position, Tony Horowitz goes on a reverent journey tracing the paths traveled by European explorers between 1492 and 1607. On his trek, Mr. Horowitz meets many people with a differing interpretation of events like the Spanish (St. Augustine was founded forty-two years earlier than the Plymouth Rock landing) came before the Pilgrims so America should celebrate Thanksgiving with Chili. This is a fun travelogue as Mr. Horowitz’ enthusiasm and energy add to the enjoyment; quoting Mr. Wuhl: "I shit you not".

Harriet Klausner

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