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Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before

by Tony Horwitz

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,521398,675 (3.95)163
This book 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 eighteenth century were the last great voyages of discovery. His ships sailed 150,000 miles, from the Arctic 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 of his violent death 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 traveling in the captain's wake to such places as Tahiti, Savage Island, and the Great Barrier Reef along the way, he discovers 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 farm boy who broke through the barriers of his class and time to become the greatest navigator in British history.… (more)
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» See also 163 mentions

English (38)  Spanish (1)  All languages (39)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
Fun and well-written. Makes me want to go to the places I have not been! ( )
  untraveller | Jul 10, 2019 |
Quite a rousing read about Tony Horowitz's journey to follow Captain Cook. Tony and his friend Roger find themselves on quite an interesting tour of the places Captain Cook ventured to. The story flips back and forth from Captain Cook to Horowitz. While I found the parts where it was Horowitz and friends much more entertaining, I did find some of the Captain Cook parts quite informative. ( )
  bnbookgirl | Jul 16, 2018 |
Excerpts from my original GR review (May 2010):
- I love these epic seafaring histories, and this one about Capt James Cook's three incredible voyages hits the mark too. I equate these explorations to our somehow launching a manned spacecraft into a distant galaxy with no idea of what is to be found. Other than vague suppositions (usually wrong) of land masses, this is precisely what Cook faced.
- The author uses an engaging method in telling the story. He expertly covers the most significant episodes of discovery, danger and human contact among the three journeys, and then alternates within chapters to his present-day retracing of Cook's important landings, in places such as Tahiti, Nuie (pron: New-way), New Zealand and of course Hawaii. He also visits Cook's native North Yorkshire.
- What I most like of the historic narrative is Cook's virginal contact with island peoples who in some cases had not been contacted in centuries! The initial interplay is amazing, as related in the logs of Captain Cook and Joseph Banks and others. Also, the hardships and dangers the crews face make for good reading, such as Cook's miraculous feat of will in delicately escaping the Great Barrier Reef (Chap 6), and his making an historic crossing of the 71st parallel before hitting pack ice (Chap 8).
-What I like most overall with the present-day narrative is Horwitz's close examination of legacies left from Cook's contact with the "savages", and how the cultures are faring today. He also digs deep in his forays for lasting memorials to Cook, including celebrations, namesakes etc. Plenty of humorous anecdotes. His wanderings are clearly enhanced by the presence of his Aussie pal Roger, always with drink in hand.
- Very well done. I can't imagine a better memorial to Cook's legacy than this book. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Apr 5, 2018 |
Horwitz sets out to trace the voyages of Captain Cook. Blending history with travelogue, he does cover most of the major points of Cook's voyages and also touches on the many controversies surrounding Cook's legacy today. I was a bit disappointed that Horwitz's travel narrative is not particularly personal and engaging.I almost feel he could have written a better book by staying home and simply writing a vivid account of Cook's voyages based on source material. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
Excellent narrative which is part travelogue, part history and part humor. Put off reading this for a while which I now regret. Should have read it sooner. The author tells the story of Capt James Cook in such a way that the tale never becomes boring despite the large length of the book. I learned a lot not only about Cook, but also sailing, the Pacific region, Alaska and exploration. Highly reccomended. This is non-fiction writing taken to a high level. ( )
  mcola | Sep 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
Tony Horwitz has done it again. In his earlier, riveting book, "Confederates in the Attic," he journeyed through the South to explore the rich and thorny legacy of the Civil War. With the same keen insight, open- mindedness and laugh-out-loud humor, he undertakes another daunting quest in "Blue Latitudes" -- to travel across the globe in search of the memory of Captain James Cook, the 18th century English explorer whose ambition led him, as he famously put it, "not only farther than any other man has been before me,
but as far I think it possible for man to go."
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Horwitz, TonyAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Steffen, HeikeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Ambition leads me not only farther than any man has been before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go.----THE JOURNAL OF CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
Dedication
For Natty, an adventurer at five
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Just after dark on February 16, 1779, a kahuna, or holy man, rode a canoe to His Majesty's Sloop Resolution, anchored off the coast of Hawaii.
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This book 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 eighteenth century were the last great voyages of discovery. His ships sailed 150,000 miles, from the Arctic 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 of his violent death 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 traveling in the captain's wake to such places as Tahiti, Savage Island, and the Great Barrier Reef along the way, he discovers 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 farm boy who broke through the barriers of his class and time to become the greatest navigator in British history.

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