Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz

Blue Latitudes

Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone BeforeTwo centuries after James Cook's epic voyages of discovery, Tony Horwitz takes readers on a wild ride across hemispheres and centuries to recapture the Captain's adventures and explore his embattled legacy in today's Pacific. Horwitz, a Pulitzer Prize-winner and author of Confederates in the Attic, works as a sailor aboard a replica of Cook's ship, meets island kings and beauty queens, and carouses t...

Details Blue Latitudes

TitleBlue Latitudes
Release DateAug 1st, 2003
PublisherPicador USA
GenreTravel, Nonfiction, History, Biography, Adventure

Reviews Blue Latitudes

  • Lauren
    I knew next to nothing about Captain James Cook when i picked up this book... history books generally gloss over his voyages, even though he explored an area that encompasses nearly 1/3 of the globe. Horwitz's urge to learn all he could about the man and his work is infectious... you can see this in the text rubbing off on those around him, as seen in Roger, his companion on many of his "Cook" travels.Retracing Captain Cook's three voyages, relyi...
  • Bob
    I can't get enough of Tony Horwitz. He's like a smarter, less cheezy Bill Bryson (whom I also like, dont get me wrong). How Horwitz packs new historical perspective into a book this enjoyable is amazing. Every book is the same: I feel wiser and happier when I'm finished.This journey with Captain Cook was no different. An entire part of (fairly recent) human history I knew nothing about turned into a fun romp through renaissance exploration. It ad...
  • Linda
    In my research for Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawaii, I read a dozen accounts of Captain James Cook’s deadly encounter with the natives of Hawaii in 1779. This included not only the Captains’ journal, but that of seaman, John Ledyard, and that of first mate, Lt. King. When Tony Horwitz declared that in Blue Latitudes he would take us boldly where Captain Cook had gone before, I didn’t expect to learn anything new. What I found was the most ...
  • Deborah Edwards
    “Those who would go to sea for pleasure would go to hell for pastime” – 18th century aphorismIf I were someone who believed in reincarnation, I would have to entertain the notion that I must have been a sea captain in a previous life. Why else would I be so fascinated by the lives of the men who set sail on voyages of discovery, risking all to find lost continents, the fabled Northwest passage, or the elusive “terra australis?” And why ...
  • Mike Hankins
    This book is yet another to add to the pile of books that could have been so good, yet fell so short of glory.I had high hopes for this one. I became fascinated with the story of Captain Cook recently, having never, not once, ever learned about him in school. He was one of, if not the greatest explorer who ever lived, discovering and mapping most of the pacific islands, Austraila, New Zealand, and Hawaii just to name a few. His adventures are leg...
  • Mary
    Despite an interesting topic (Captain Cook) and a fascinating setting (the Pacific), I found this book ponderous and lacking momentum. Perhaps it was the organization but once I'd read about Cook's first journey to the South Pacific, I was done with this book (I did finish - you know by now that if I'd quit the rating would be 1 star "it's a book"). It picked up again when the author visited Yorkshire, Cook's childhood home, but then bogged down....
  • Dana Stabenow
    In Blue Latitudes journalist Tony Horwitz follows in the footsteps of Captain Cook, beginning with a week working as a member of the crew on board a replica of Cook’s ship Endeavor. I’d always thought of Cook as this stereotypical British officer, all his buttons properly polished and looking down a very long nose at all these dreadful loincloth-clad natives. In fact, Cook was born in a pigsty, was subject in his youth to a strong Quaker infl...
  • Mike
    This is a 4 Star read–had to take one star away. But such a good book about a man I knew little about (I always wondered where the “Sandwich Islands” came from, learned about it here). Lots of laughs and lots of thoughtful commentary interspersed with the history of Cook’s three voyages to the Pacific. Horwitz gives you the enjoyable travelogue of a Bill Bryson with almost none of the left-wing snark. Horwitz and his buddy Roger follow, a...
  • Tomislav
    I don’t remember how this book got onto my to-be-read list, but the other day I took my list to the local library and looked up all the books that were actually currently on the shelf, and checked out the few of them. Then I was reading Greg Bear’s Anvil of Stars, and it mentioned the “Captain Cook solution” to fighting a more advanced civilization. Blue Latitudes starts out with a kahuna coming aboard the Resolution to return some of the...
  • Pasfendis
    3 1/2 stars. We follow the author from the frozen arctic to Australia's outback; from New Zealand to the shores of Tahiti and Hawaii as he embarks on his own journey of discovery to learn about Captain James Cook. The author retraces the last three expeditions of the intrepid Captain Cook and visits those places that Cook visited in an attempt to study his lingering effect on the modern world and its inhabitants. This book is part history and par...
  • Linda
    This book was laugh-out-loud funny. The author, along with his buddy, retrace the travels of Captain Cook. The book goes back and forth between the history of Captain Cook, and what the places that he visited are like today as the author visits them. Highly recommended.
  • Clifdisc
    Blue Latitudes is half history and half travelog as author Tony Horwitz travels the world in the footsteps of Captain Cook. Horwitz is a great writer and I really enjoyed the way he cut back and forth between the historical details of Cook's travels and his own modern day travels investigating Cook's legacy. The balance was well struck and both stories were interesting, though the history was perhaps a little more interesting.Horwitz is also a fu...
  • Rob
    Let this wonderful book be your introduction to Captain Cook and the culture of love and vitriol surrounding him, even today. Cook was not an American, of course, and so there is nothing absolutely great he could have accomplished in the way of daring and understanding and prudence when exploring both poles and every latitude between on three unprecedented voyages. However, for an Englishman he did pretty well. He charted previously uncharted wat...
  • Mara
    I almost recall the hubbub when this book came out in 2002, as I was living in the unincorporated town of Captain Cook at the time. But something kept it from me until now. It certainly lives up to its acclaim!Just the idea of following the travels and travails of Captain James Cook, certainly one of the great explorers and exploiters of the entire world, put me in a traveling mood! And Tony Horwitz keep you moving - from his first voyage to his ...
  • Siobhan
    I must confess here that I love Tony Horwitz's writing. His ability to pick an interesting topic and delve into it from a myriad of perspectives is both astonishing and entertaining. He has a wry view of the world that allows him to talk to just about anyone, just about anywhere. Looking at the world from his perspective provides information and insights that I just haven't seen elsewhere. That certainly is the case with Blue Latitudes. Previousl...
  • Tony Taylor
    Very interesting and so well written. The author, Tony Horwitz, decides to follow the course of Captain James Cook, the great English explorer of the 19th century, as he travelled the Pacific on three epic voyages "discovering" many unique places that had never been visited by Europeans. Horwitz tells of his own adventures with a fine sense of humor, made all the more delightful by his traveling companion, a mostly-soused Englishman who lives in ...
  • Laurie
    Fascinating from beginning to end.
  • Diane
    There was so much about this book that I really liked. First, I really liked the author’s use of Cook’s journals, and I really liked the Notes on Sources (p. 445-452). Read this short section first even though it is at the back of the book. I liked that Horwitz tries to let us see/feel what it would be like to travel by sailing ship to unknown places in the mid-plus 18th century with no possible communication and no maps and no travel guides....
  • Gewbook
    This was a good book. His facts were interesting, his exploits while following Cook’s voyages were entertaining, and his traveling companions made good fouls for his personality. But by the time we got to the third voyage I had Cook fatigue. I pushed through in the hopes that there was a great revelation waiting for me in the epilogue. Not so much, but still, this is empirically a good book.
  • Ray
    Thoroughly well-written. Enjoyed reading this while on vacation in Australia. Would LOVE to see this become a television series (HBO? Hulu? Amazon? Please???).
  • Yakinikuman
    Horwitz alternates telling the history of Cook’s background and expeditions with stories about the author’s own travels to some of the same regions. I liked the book a lot and thought it was an entertaining way to learn about Cook and how he is perceived today.As the subtitle alludes, Horwitz was inspired by comparisons of Cook to another captain, Star Trek’s Captain Kirk. James Cook::James Kirk. The Endeavour::the Enterprise. Seeking out n...
  • Bill Blume
    Most of my favored reading involves mystery, fantasy or suspense, but every so often, something different makes it through the cracks. With that in mind, let me introduce you to Tony Horwitz’s Blue Latitudes.In Blue Latitudes, Tony follows the adventures of the explorer Captain Cook. Had anyone asked me before reading this book who Cook was, I’d have probably guessed he was a pirate (which says little for my knowledge of world history). Cook ...
  • Mike Prochot
    History mingled with a "buddy" type travel log. Tony Horwitz retraces the steps of Captain Cook and gives us a glimpse of how those locations have evolved since the good Captain visited. Fun, very thought provoking and informative. Those interested in early exploration in general and of Captain Cook in particular should make it a point to read this book. It is interesting to note the influence of Captain Cook that still exist in these places toda...
  • Brian
    Tony Horwitz is an entertaining and fair writer, and this is my second favorite of his works thus far. "Blue Latitudes" gives credence to an oft overlooked titan of exploration and is also a humorous and informative modern journey to the places discovered and studied by Captain Cook on his three voyages. Horwitz's style in this text is the same as in previous works: part travelogue, part history. And like in previous efforts the formula works her...
  • Todd Stockslager
    Well, consider paradise thoroughly debunked, between Horwitz's far-ranging journeys of disassembly here and J. Maartin Troost's more narrowly focused [[ASIN:0767915305 The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific]] about real life on a South Pacific speck.Horwitz applies his witty and accessible style to a popular cultural, anthropological, historical, and gastronomical view of Cook's travel stops and his impact on them. He even f...
  • Shelli
    There is much to enjoy about this book. Author Tony Horwitz's historical accounts of Captain James Cook and his travels are compelling and reverential without being worshipful and one-sided, and his modern-day travelogue, recounting his trips to the places Cook visited, are evocative, educational, and humorous. The skill with which he alternates back and forth between the past and the present is the strength of the book, allowing the reader, plac...
  • Daniel Simmons
    Tracing the voyages of eighteenth-century seaman extraordinaire James Cook, Horwitz gets off to strong, funny, informative start in the South Pacific, and his enthusiasm for his subject as well as the raucous asides of his Yorkshireman travel companion Roger make for educational and entertaining reading. The book then becomes a bit of a slog through the long middle sections (the dreariness of the narrative perhaps echoing the dismal English/Alask...
  • Arachne8x
    This book gets a five star rating, because I first read it about 6 years ago and I keep recommending it to people and discussing with them the things I learned from it. Any book whose memory gets me to write about it years later has something special.This is part travelogue, part biography, and part pop history, which is clearly what I like about it. The author tells the story of Captain Cook and his voyages of 'discovery' while also relating wha...
  • Judy
    Apparently what I knew about Captain James Cook could have been put on the back of a postage stamp and there would still be plenty of room for the adhesive. In this wonderful book, Tony Horwitz uses Captain Cook's journals of his voyages of discovery and sets out to visit many of the same places that Cook explored to try to understand the magnitude of Cook's accomplishments and to uncover how Cook is viewed in the Pacific Rim in the early 21st ce...
  • Kupkake
    I didn't know as much about Capt. James Cook as I might have liked, but thank god for Tony Horowitz, my preferred guide in the geo-historical field. Capt. Cook is a contriversial figure of importance, historically he "discovered" much of So. Pacific islands, as well as Australia, while at the same time his discovery brought these paradaisical places into the rotteness of the colonial world. His background as a Yorkshire farmboy, clawing his way u...