Monday, December 19, 2011

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

Let this wonderful book be your introduction to Captain Cook and the culture of love and vitriol surrounding him, even today. Cook was not an American, of course, and so there is nothing absolutely great he could have accomplished in the way of daring and understanding and prudence when exploring both poles and every latitude between on three unprecedented voyages. However, for an Englishman he did pretty well. He charted previously uncharted waters with a thoroughness and precision unmatched until the 20th century. He made friends with most of Polynesia, and opened lands as far-spread as Australia and Alaska to further European exploration, for better or worse. His story deserves to be better known, and what better time than the current age of historical counter-revisionism to know it. And who better than Tony Horwitz to tell it. Horwitz is such an engaging writer and storyteller it's a toss up whether his retelling of Cook's story, or his own modern travelogue and search for the real Cook, is more entertaining. Readers can't lose either way.

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