Jonathan Cooper‘ s obsession with history/travelogue author, Tony Horwitz, grows deeper. A Voyage Long and Strange is Horwitz’s latest.
One of my all-time favorite nonfiction authors, Tony Horwitz, has found a novelist’s niche by writing insightful and humorous travelogue histories. It’s not all about humor—Horwitz is no Dave Barry, nor is he trying to be. Instead, Horwitz recounts his personal experiences traveling to lands far and near while meeting and interviewing local people, which he then folds neatly into historical context.
His career took off after winning both an Aronson Award and a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting while at The Wall Street Journal.
Later, as a foreign correspondent at The New Yorker, Horwitz began to refine his particular style and voice. An early work that sprang from his time living in northern Africa, Baghdad Without a Map is a series of moving and often sobering essays about life in the Middle East and the modern history of the region. In Blue Latitudes, Horwitz shows a keen sense of humor and true fascination with his subject, Captain Cook, as he retraces some of the explorer’s most significant journeys. A Voyage Long and Strange follows a similar formula, only this time Horwitz dedicates his efforts to exploring the history of the Eastern Seaboard, from Canada to the U.S. and south to the Caribbean. He admits to the reader that there was a gap in his own understanding of American history: He had no idea what happened during the 128 years that elapsed between when Columbus arrived in the Caribbean in 1492 and when the Mayflower landed in 1620. So he researched, traveled, and wrote about it in his own intrepid and entertaining way. With Horwitz at the helm, understanding history is fun again.