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

Overview - Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before
Two centuries after James Cook's epic voyages of discovery, Tony Horwitz 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.

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More About Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz
Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before
Two centuries after James Cook's epic voyages of discovery, Tony Horwitz 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. Horwitz, a Pulitzer Prize-winner and author of "Confederates in the Attic," works as a sailor aboard a replica of Cook's ship, meets island kings and beauty queens, and carouses the South Seas with a hilarious and disgraceful travel companion, an Aussie named Roger. He also creates a brilliant portrait of Cook: an impoverished farmboy who became the greatest navigator in British history and forever changed the lands he touched. Poignant, probing, antic, and exhilarating, "Blue Latitudes "brings to life a man who helped create the global village we inhabit today.
Tony Horwitz is the 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 war correspondent for "The Wall Street Journal" and as a staff writer for "The New Yorker." He lives in Virginia with his wife, Geraldine Brooks, and their son, Nathaniel.
James Cook's three epic journeys in the eighteenth century were the last great voyages of discovery. When he embarked for the Pacific in 1768, a third of the globe remained blank. By the time he died in 1779, during a bloody clash in Hawaii, the map of the world was substantially complete. Cook explored more of the earth's surface than anyone in history--sailing from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from Tahiti to Siberia, from Easter Island to the Great Barrier Reef--and introduced the West to an exotic world of taboo and tattoo, of cannibalism and ritual sex. Yet the impoverished farmboy, who broke the bounds of social class to become Britain's greatest navigator, remains as mysterious today as the uncharted seas he sailed more than two centuries ago.
In "Blue Latitudes," Tony Horwitz sets off on his own voyage of discovery. Adventuring in Cook's wake, he relives the captain's journeys and explores their legacy in the farflung lands Cook opened to the West. At sea, aboard a replica of Cook's ship, he works atop a hundred-foot mast, sleeps in a narrow hammock, and recaptures the rum-and-lash world of eighteenth-century seafaring. On land, he meets native people--Aboriginal and Aleut elders, Maori gang members, the king of Tonga--for whom Cook is alternately a heroic navigator and a villain who brought syphilis, guns, and greed to the unspoiled Pacific. Accompanied by a carousing Australian mate, he meets Miss Tahiti, visits the roughest bar in Alaska, and uncovers the secret behind the red-toothed warriors of Savage Island. Throughout, Horwitz also searches for Cook the man: a restless prodigy who fled his peasant boyhood, and later the luxury of Georgian London, for the privation and peril of sailing off the edge of the map.
Horwitz's bestselling" Confederates in the Attic" combined history and adventure in a harrowing and hilarious tour of the Civil War South. In "Blue Latitudes," he goes international, taking readers on a wild ride across hemispheres and centuries, from Bora-Bora to the Bering Sea, from the mud hut where Cook was born to the sunstruck shore where he died in Hawaii.
Poignant, probing, antic, and exhilarating, "Blue Latitudes" brings to life a man whose voyages helped create the global village we inhabit today.
"One of the best . . . full of humor . . . It is with people that Horwitz excels. As he demonstrated in "Confederates in the Attic" he has a gift for getting them to open up. A terrific reporter, Horwitz investigates how the places he visits have changed . . . What he also does, and what makes this book so absorbing, is intersperse among all the details of life today in these far-flung places an elegant running account of Cook's exploits."--"The New York Times Book Review" (cover)
"Compelling . . . Horwitz is particularly convincing when he's establishing just how harsh a sailor's life could be in the 1700s, why most of them were drunk so much of the time, and why today's mariners have it relatively easy . . . Remarkable."--"The Oregonian" (Portland)
""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 "
"A rewarding and--trust me on this--witty tale of a remarkable explorer who now occupies a controversial place in history because of disease, greed, thievery, and prostitution that followed in his wake . . . Perhaps the highest praise of any book is that it takes you somewhere. Horwitz manages to do this on two levels, mingling history with a humorous travelogue."--"The Mercury News" (San Jose)
"Part history, part travelogue--and mostly just great fun . . . This is history on a global scale, and Horwitz tells it surpassingly well."--"Los Angeles Times"
"A tour de force of evocative history, serious scholarship and compelling writing."--"The Washington Post"
""Blue Latitudes" is thoroughly enjoyable. 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"
"Part Cook biography, part travelogue, and very much a stroke of genius."--"The Philadelphia Inquirer"
"Horwitz's adventure 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 Expe

  • ISBN-13: 9780312422608
  • ISBN-10: 0312422601
  • Publisher: Picador USA
  • Publish Date: August 2003
  • Page Count: 480

Related Categories

Books > History > Oceania
Books > History > Expeditions & Discoveries
Books > History > Modern - 17th Century

BookPage Reviews

Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before

This salty, swashbuckling, high-seas adventure story from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Horwitz retraces the journeys of English maritime genius James Cook. That intrepid explorer, who mapped nearly a third of the planet during the 18th century, docked at every continent in the world, minus Antarctica. For the globe-trotting author, getting the surveyor's story includes doing nautical duty on the Endeavor, a replica of the listing coal ship Cook himself sailed on. Accompanied by his good-humored, hard-drinking Australian companion Roger Williamson, Horwitz puts in at exotic ports like Tahiti and Bora Bora, following in the captain's footsteps while navigating smoothly between memoir, humor and fact. This rousing yarn from the author of the best-selling book Confederates in the Attic is sure to become a travel-writing classic.

BAM Customer Reviews