Monday, June 9, 2008

A Voyage Long & Strange

This book fit in with the others I've been reading. The author usually does travel books and "important issue" type of things, but in a trip to Plymouth Rock he started wondering what happened between the pilgrims and Christopher Columbus. There is over a hundred years of history that sort of gets lost. So not only did he look into those missing years, being a travel writer type, he followed their journeys.
It was interesting. I had heard about all the people he followed, Coronado and the other explorers and conquistadors. But there were a lot of details that I hadn't heard. What was most entertaining was when he visited the same spots and heard the various people's opinions of history. Everyone interpreted what had happened differently, according to their own backgrounds and histories. Whether you admired the Spanish or loathed them depended on if you we descended from them, if you liked the rough enterprising spirit or hated the violence and arrogance.
Something that several people repeated was, "they were the first Americans because. . ." they were great salesmen, they headed into the unknown, they rejected the Europeans boring ideals, they wanted to homestead, whatever. A lot of people also said, they were just like people today, for various reasons. I liked how that connection was made. Not by the writer, but by the regular people he was interviewing.

A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World. Tony Horwitz. Henry Holt & Co. 2008

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