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The Devil May Care: Fifty Intrepid Americans and Their Quest for the Unknown
Synopses & 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 writer Tony Horwitz has culled through the American National Biography and selected fifty stirring biographies of adventurers who had no one's footsteps to follow in — and yet contributed enormously to our understanding of the world.
Horwitz introduces us to fascinating individuals such as John Ledyard, the first American to see what would become the Pacific Northwest, and Elisha Kent Kane, America's first arctic hero, who stumbled upon an extremely strange remedy for scurvy while icebound off of Ellesmere Island. Having set off into the unknown many times himself as a foreign correspondent, Horwitz brings a subtle sense of humor and a reporter's eye for detail to a collection that offers a glimpse inside the lives of historic American who brazenly challenged danger as they pursued their wanderlust to extreme climates and forbidding environments.
Beginning with a short essay, Horwitz seeks his own definition of exploration, drawing on some of his research into the voyages of Captain James Cook and considering its larger implications throughout history. Archival photographs as well as a lively and personal introduction to each story by Horwitz further enhance the appeal of a volume that winds its way through several centuries of American exploration, affirming that the best adventure stories are the true ones.
"Brave, flamboyant, and, in many cases, possibly nuts, these larger-than-life adventurers and heroes helped give America its flavor....It's about time somebody celebrated them." Booklist
"Horwitz has taken pains to include many women, minorities and non-native-born Americans....[T]hese brief but cogent portraits are written with humor, grace and a deep appreciation for the contributions of these largely unknown individuals." Publishers Weekly
"Presents a welcome chance to reflect on what motivated these eccentrics and pioneers, or what motivates any of us, really, to choose the lives we do." Washington Post Book World
Includes bibliographical references (p. 249-274) and index.
About the Author
Tony Horwitz is the best-selling author of Blue Latitudes, Confederates in the Attic, Baghdad Without a Map, and One for the Road. He is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has worked as a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and a staff writer for The New Yorker. He lives in Virginia with his wife, novelist Geraldine Brooks, and their son, Nathaniel.
Table of Contents
Alvar Nâuänez Cabeza de Vaca — John Smith — David Pietersen de Vries — Francesco Giuseppe Bressani — Hannah Duston — Sir Alexander Cuming — Ann Hennis Trotter Bailey — Jean Baptiste Point du Sable — Samuel Mason — John Ledyard — Simon Kenton — George Crowninshield, Jr. — Anne Newport Royall — John Colter — Giacomo Constantino Beltrami — Marie Dorion — Frances Wright — George Catlin — Samuel Patch — David Douglas — John August Sutter — James Bridger — Jacob Netsvetov — Eliza Hart Spalding — John Wise — Albert Pike — Grizzly Adams — Agoston Haraszthy de Mokcsa — John Charles Frâemont — Elisha Kent Kane — Edward Zane Carroll Judson — William Walker — California Joe — John Morrissey — Mary Ann Brown Patten — Buffalo Jones — Joshua Slocum — Agnes Elisabeth Winona Leclercq Joy Salm-Salm — Railroad Bill — Ishi — David Fagen — Belle Livingstone — Hiram Bingham — Duncan Hines — Annette Kellerman — Louise Arner Boyd — Duke Paoa Kahanamoku — Merian Coldwell Cooper — Hubert F. Julian — Richard Halliburton.
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