Synopses & Reviews
In an exhilarating tale of historic adventure, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Confederates in the Attic
retraces the voyages of Captain James Cook, the Yorkshire farm boy who drew the map of the modern world.
Captain James Cook's three epic journeys in the 18th century were the last great voyages of discovery. His ships sailed 150,000 miles, from the Artic to the Antarctic, from Tasmania to Oregon, from Easter Island to Siberia. When Cook set off for the Pacific in 1768, a third of the globe remained blank. By the time he died in Hawaii in 1779, the map of the world was substantially complete.
Tony Horwitz vividly recounts Cook's voyages and the exotic scenes the captain encountered: tropical orgies, taboo rituals, cannibal feasts, human sacrifice. He also relives Cook's adventures by following in the captain's wake to places such as Tahiti, Savage Island, and the Great Barrier Reef to discover Cook's embattled legacy in the present day. Signing on as a working crewman aboard a replica of Cook's vessel, Horwitz experiences the thrill and terror of sailing a tall ship. He also explores Cook the man: an impoverished farmboy who broke through the barriers of his class and time to become the greatest navigator in British history.
By turns harrowing and hilarious, insightful and entertaining, Blue Latitudes brings to life a man whose voyages helped create the "global village" we know today.
"Blue Latitudes is a thoroughly enjoyable book. No writer has better captured the heroic enigma that was Captain James Cook than Tony Horwitz in this amiable and enthralling excursion around the Pacific." Bill Bryson, author of In a Sunburned Country
"Horwitz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, is an observant traveler, with an eye for both the oddball and the salient." Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"One of the problems with our planet is that there is nowhere new to go. Modern would-be adventurers overcome this obstacle by tracing the paths of early explorers, telling their stories, describing how the world has since changed and then folding everything into 'in the footsteps of' books. Tony Horwitz's Blue Latitudes is one of the best." Robert R. Harris, New York Times Book Review
"Blue Latitudes is a rollicking read that is also a sneaky work of scholarship, providing new and unexpected insights into the man who out-discovered Columbus. A terrific book I inhaled it in one weekend." Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea
"Horwitz's adventures pay illuminating tribute to the great navigator to Captain Cook himself and to his intrepid eighteenth-century colleagues, including the improbably attractive Sir Joseph Banks. But most of all Blue Latitudes offers clear-eyed, vivid, and highly entertaining reassurance that there are still outlandish worlds to be discovered." Caroline Alexander, author of The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
"This thought-provoking travelogue brims with insight
and will appeal to anyone who yearns for the days when there was something left to
discover while making them wonder if, really, we should have just stayed home." Keir Graff, Booklist
"With prodigious research and a willingness to raise the subject of Captain Cook with anyone, including a drunk, a king and a girl in a wet T-shirt, Horwitz has managed to muscle a big, sloppy idea into something coherent and fun to read." Thomas Jackson, Forbes
Two centuries after James Cook's epic voyages of discovery, Horwitz, a Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Confederates in the Attic 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.
About the Author
Tony Horwitz is the bestselling author of 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, the novelist Geraldine Brooks, and their son, Nathaniel.