©2008 Tony Horwitz; (P)2008 Books on Tape
"Horwitz writes in a breezy, engaging style, so this combination of popular history and travelogue will be ideal for general readers." (Booklist)
"Funny and lively...popular history of the most accessible sort. The stories [Horwitz] tells are full of vivid characters and wild detail." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Like travel writer Bill Bryson, Horwitz has a penchant for meeting colorful characters and getting himself into bizarre situations." (The Christian Science Monitor)
If you have read any history beyond the standard middle school, high school and even college stuff much of this book is a rehash. If you are like me and have read about this time period extensively you may find yourself "hairsplitting" about Horowitz's take on some of the stories. The author's personal experiences with site visits had the potential to be funny--but to me they missed the mark. Overall, I thought these trips went on a bit too long and fell flat. In the end I was either bored or irritated by the whole experience. Disappointing for me--but worth a try if you like Tony Horwitz's style of humor and are up for a history "review". Other reviewers here on audible seem to love it.
Determined to learn more about early America than his education in history provided him, Tony Horwitz set out to research the written record, and travel to all of these historic places, collecting enough information along the way to write this book. But this is not a dry, dense, "just the facts, ma'am" type of history book. Most of the story lies in the people who Horwitz visits in his travels. From Hispañiola to New Mexico, to Florida, Virginia and finally back to Plymouth Rock, He finds local people who are well qualified to have opinions about the local history. The opinions of these people, combined with the author's observations and the written record, serve to weave a story not just about early America, but about the way that all histories are written. Horwitz has a great ability to find the humor and silliness in all of this, and the narrator, John H Mayor, does a splendid job of bringing that across. I found myself smiling, chuckling, and sometimes even laughing out loud at the absurdity of it all. Meanwhile, my mind was enriched with accounts of tales that should be common knowledge, but are not the stories that the winners of American history passed on, so therefore are little known. It was one of those books that I got so involved in, I forgot about the rest of the world until it was over. Highly reccomended.
The story was interesting at times, but tended to get bogged down into minutia from time to time and the author also made some tortured and tenuous cultural connections between history and modern day meaning. I found Tony Horwitz's book "Confederates in the Attic" to be better. This was still a very good book and I enjoyed traveling on the authors adventure. As far as technical quality of the audiobook, the reader was excellent and was easy to listen to. No complaints there.
mostly nonfiction listener
For people like me who spend our days continually amazed at our sheer ignorance, Horowitz's new book is perfect. My major in college was history, U.S. history, but the time between Columbus washing up in Hispaniola (todays D.R. and Haiti) in 1492 and the Pilgrims landing in 1620 was basically a complete blank. Horowitz seeks to fill that gap in his knowledge (and my own), by tracing the routes and landing spots of the early Viking, Spanish, and French explorers and colonizers. Historical travel writing at its best, filled with weirdo American's and laid-back Domican's, A Voyage Long and Strange is one worthwhile journey.
This book fills in a portion of history that I had known very little about. It's well researched and well written. It even has an important moral at the end. I'd recommend it to anyone.
Although th narrator did not match my imagined voice of Tony Horwitz, the engaging, informative, and entertaining writing kept me listening throughout the book. Horwitz is a national treasure. - I can't wait to find his next book!
He gave on-the-ground details that are invaluable for a middle school history teacher like me to help bring these stories to life for my students. I enjoy his books and wonder what his next project will be...
"Sapere Aude" Kant
Mr. Mayer did a wonderful job of conveying the story as though he where giving a fireside chat.
The fact that the author actually tracked down people and places that descended from the story of America and made the whole affair more human than history.
Yes, it's a story of us, not necessarily about us. He shows that memories can be quite long, i.e., the story of the oldest city in America. The present inhabitants are still arguing over it.
An excellent addition to anybody's American History reading list.
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