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About the Author

Anthony Lander Horwitz was born in Washington, D. C. on June 9, 1958. He received a bachelor's degree in history from Brown University and a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1983. After working as a union organizer in Mississippi, he became a newspaper show more reporter. He was an education reporter for The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel in Indiana from 1983 to 1984 and a general assignment reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia from 1985 to 1987. He joined The Wall Street Journal in 1990 as a foreign correspondent in Europe and the Middle East. He and his wife Geraldine Brooks won the Overseas Press Club's Hal Boyle Award in 1990 for their coverage of the Persian Gulf war. He returned to the United States in 1993 and was assigned to The Journal's Pittsburgh bureau. He won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for his accounts of working conditions in low-wage jobs. He later wrote for The New Yorker on the Middle East before becoming an author of nonfiction books. His first book, Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War, was published in 1998. His other books included Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before, A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World, Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War, and Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide. He died on May 27, 2019 at the age of 60. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Disambiguation Notice:

Tony Horwitz was born Anthony Horwitz, not to be confused with British author Anthony Horowitz (sometimes misspelled as Horwitz), the author of Stormbreaker.

Image credit: Courtesy of Allen and Unwin

Works by Tony Horwitz

Associated Works

State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America (2008) — Contributor — 519 copies, 11 reviews


19th century (43) adventure (66) America (68) American (38) American Civil War (133) American history (279) American South (65) Australia (76) biography (114) Civil War (508) Confederacy (30) discovery (30) exploration (169) explorers (53) history (1,063) humor (71) Iraq (37) James Cook (91) John Brown (45) Kindle (37) memoir (92) Middle East (108) non-fiction (913) North America (52) Pacific (40) read (72) reenactors (29) slavery (48) sociology (32) South (44) South Pacific (34) the south (39) to-read (410) travel (743) travel writing (34) travelogue (56) unread (41) US history (47) USA (108) war (34)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Horwitz, Tony
Legal name
Horwitz, Anthony Lander
Date of death
Washington, D.C., USA
Place of death
Washington, D.C., USA
Cause of death
cardiac arrest
Places of residence
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, USA
Waterford, Virginia, USA
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Brown University (BA|History|1981)
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (MA|1983)
Sidwell Friends School
Brooks, Geraldine (1) (wife)
The Wall Street Journal
New Yorker magazine
New York Times
Society of American Historians
Awards and honors
Pulitzer Prize (National Reporting ∙ 1995)
James Aronson Award (1994)
Kris Dahl
Disambiguation notice
Tony Horwitz was born Anthony Horwitz, not to be confused with British author Anthony Horowitz (sometimes misspelled as Horwitz), the author of Stormbreaker.



When I was in school we read about Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, Henry Hudson and even Francis Drake, but I don't remember James Cook being mentioned at all. Yet he may have been the greatest sea explorer of all, as Tony Horwitz makes clear in his 2002 book “Blue Latitudes.”

The Pacific Ocean was still largely unknown by Europeans in the 19th century. Sure Europeans like Magellan had been there, sailing across it, but until Captain Cook no European had actually looked around, visited the numerous islands, looked for the Northwest Passage from that side of America or given names to so many geographical features.

Cook's three long voyages took him from near the Arctic Circle to Australia, covering more than 200,000 miles. He and his sailors met people from numerous strange cultures, leading in most cases to the eventual spoiling of these cultures. For this reason Cook is controversial throughout the Pacific to this day. There are those who honor him, but mostly there are those who revile him, not so much for the kind of man he was — mostly he was honorable, Horwitz finds — but for the negative consequences of his discoveries.

Horwitz decided to retrace Cook's voyages, traveling to the Aleutians, Australia, Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand, Tonga and elsewhere to see how Cook is remembered. His narrative switches back and forth, from Cook's journeys as described by the captain and members of his crew to his own observations centuries later. Roger, a traveling companion more interested in drinking and women than Cook's journeys, adds humor to the narrative.

Roger's interest in drinking and women corresponds with that of Cook's men. They consumed large quantities of alcohol on those voyages, and despite Cook's efforts he was never successful in keeping them away from Pacific women. It didn't help that in these cultures sex was freely given, or if not free was eagerly exchanged for the price of a nail. It's a wonder there were any nails still holding the ship together after leaving places like Tahiti and Hawaii.

It was in Hawaii that Cook met his end. He had been becoming increasingly irrational and erratic on his third voyage, probably the result of an illness. At first he was treated like a god, but gradually that relationship changed. When natives stole a boat one morning, Cook responded violently, resulting in his own death, as well as that of others on both sides.

Explorers, Columbus and Magellan among them, are not as honored as they once were. Cook was never particularly honored even when the others were, but he covered more miles than most of the rest of them put together. Horwitz makes clear that Cook explored the Pacific as no one had ever done before, whatever one thinks of the results of his discoveries.
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hardlyhardy | 43 other reviews | Jul 18, 2024 |
5846. Blue Latitudes Noldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before, by Tony Horwitz (read 15 June 2024) Tells much more than I was interested in abour

5946. Blue Latitudes Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before, by Tony Horwitz (read 15 Jun 2024) Tells far more than I wanted to know of Captain James Cook who exoplored the Pacific in the 18th century.
Schmerguls | 43 other reviews | Jun 15, 2024 |
I was very sorry to learn of the death of the author when I went to check this book out. His confederates in the attic was a revelation to me and I enjoyed voyage long and strange, midnight rising and blue latitudes as well.
This time he is tracing the journeys of Frederick Olmsted in the south. It was interesting and I learned a few things ( the patron Saint of drug dealers, for instance.)
Horwitz does a good job of trying to elucidate why seemingly normal people come to have some fairly extreme views, though it’s not as stark and surprising as confederates was… (more)
cspiwak | 18 other reviews | Mar 6, 2024 |
very interesting. I have enjoyed several other books by this author which belnded the past and the present and had a considerable amount of humorous content. This one stays firmly in the past , and there is very little to laugh at, but a lot to learn,. Brings history alive
cspiwak | 36 other reviews | Mar 6, 2024 |



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