Cover image for Blue latitudes [boldly going where Captain Cook has gone before]
Blue latitudes [boldly going where Captain Cook has gone before]
Horwitz, Tony, 1958-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Harper Audio, [2002]

Physical Description:
8 audio discs (approximately 9 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Journalist Horwitz retraces the 18th century voyages of explorer Captain Cook.
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Subtitle from container.
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Format :
Audiobook on CD


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
G420.C65 H672 2002 Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

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James Cook's three epic journey's in the eighteenth century were the last great voyages of discovery. When he embarked for the Pacific in 1768, a third of the globe remained blank. By the time he died in 1779, Cook had explored more of the earth's surface than anyone in history.

Adventuring in the captain's wake, Tony Horwitz relives his journeys and explores their legacy. He recaptures the rum-and-lash world of eighteenth century seafaring gang members, and the king of Tonga. Accompanied by a carousing Australian mate, he meets Miss Tahiti, visits the roughest bar in Alaska, and uncovers the secret behind the red-toothed warriors of Savage Island.

Throughout, Horwitz also searches for Cook the man: a restless prodigy who fled his peasant boyhood, and later the luxury of Georgian London, for the privation and peril of sailing off the edge of the map.

Read by Daniel Gerroll


During a time when most didn't roam five miles from their birthplace, Captain James Cook mapped the modern world, sailing 200,000 miles, reaching every continent and every ocean. Tony Horwitz explores the discoveries of one courageous explorer.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Captain James Cook was the first true agent of globalization; his three inconceivably long and arduous voyages of exploration filled in vast blank spaces on the map and opened unseen lands to Western trade, missionizing, conquest, and genocide. According to Horwitz, "Cook, in sum, pioneered the voyage we are still on, for good and ill." Journeying to key Cook sites, Horwitz retells the sailor's story and tries to re-create first contact from the point of view of the locals--Tahitians, Maoris, Aleuts, Hawaiians, and others--and judge the legacy of his landing. While admitting that Cook's arrival often proved disastrous to indigenous peoples, he also finds that in some places the navigator's amazing achievements have been downplayed for the sake of political correctness. Above all, though, Horwitz is fascinated by the character of Cook and the conditions of the times (he notes that a 40 percent casualty rate wasn't extraordinary for sailing vessels of the day), and as he searches for clues to these, his obsession becomes contagious. Abetted by his friend Roger Williamson, who also provides salty comic relief, Horwitz crisscrosses the Pacific, taking us back and forth in time while ably balancing the many elements of his tale. This thought-provoking travelogue brims with insight and will appeal to anyone who yearns for the days when there was something left to discover--while making them wonder if, really, we should have just stayed home. --Keir Graff

Publisher's Weekly Review

In an entertaining, informative look at the life and travels of Capt. James Cook, Horwitz (Confederates in the Attic; Baghdad Without a Map) combines a sharp eye for reporting with subtle wit and a wonderful knack for drawing out the many characters he discovers. The book is both a biography of Cook, the renowned 18th-century British explorer who's widely considered one of the greatest navigators in maritime history, and a travel narrative. On one level, Horwitz recounts Cook's rise from poverty in a large family in rural England to an improbable and dazzling naval career that brought him worldwide fame. On another, he tells his own story of following in Cook's wake, visiting his far-flung destinations (with the exception of Antarctica) and investigating his legacy. It is satisfying in both regards, Horwitz skillfully pacing the book by intertwining his own often quite funny adventures with tales of Cook and his men. Despite the historical focus, Horwitz doesn't stray too far from the encounters with everyday people that gave his previous books such zest. His travels bring him face-to-face with a violent, boozing gang of Maori New Zealanders called the Mongrel Mob, who are violently critical of Cook, arguing that "Cook and his mob, they put us in this position," Moari activists "wondering at those who would honour the scurvy, the pox, the filth and the racism" that they feel he brought to their island, and the King of Tonga, who couldn't seem to care less about what the explorer meant to his domain. With healthy doses of both humor and provocative information, the book will please fans of history, exploration, travelogues and, of course, top-notch storytelling. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Journalist Horwitz, who is fascinated by James Cook and is convinced the world has underestimated his achievements, follows the explorer's three ventures into what was at that time the vast unknown. Signing on as a crew member for a Cook ship simile cruise, he experiences firsthand the life of an 18th-century sailor and becomes completely captivated with Cook's accomplishments. Subsequently, Horwitz and an Australian friend take more contemporary transportation to visit the captain's English home and the faraway places with strange sounding names that he opened to the world. The author slips easily from explaining history, Cook's personality, and life to describing his own modern-day experiences delving into Cook's past. Some details of late 1700s shipboard discipline, sexual lifestyles, and Cook's death and dismemberment are probably too grisly for most young listeners. Despite a few too many searches for and visits with the odds and ends of people (from bartenders to a king) who claim to have some affiliation with Cook, the book is interesting and educational. Daniel Gerroll is well spoken and does accents and other voices very nicely. For history and travel buffs interested in Australia, the South Pacific, and seafaring; generally recommended for adult and college collections.-Carolyn Alexander, Brigadoon Lib., Corral de Tierra, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



From Blue Latitudes: I studied the application for a berth on His Majesty's Bark Endeavour. An Australian foundation had built a replica of Cook's first vessel and dispatched it around the globe in the navigator's path. At each port, the ship's professional crew took on volunteers to help sail the next leg and experience life as eighteenth-century sailors. This seemed the obvious place to start; if I was going to understand Cook's travels, I first had to understand how he traveled. The application asked about my "qualifications and experience." "Have you had any blue water ocean sailing experience?" "Can you swim 50 meters fully clothed?" "You will be required to work aloft, sometimes at night in heavy weather. Are you confident of being able to do this?" I wasn't sure what was meant by "blue water ocean." Did it come in other colors? I'd never swum clothed; as for working aloft, I'd climbed ladders to scoop leaves from my gutter. I checked "yes" next to each question. But the last query gave me pause. "Do you suffer from sea sickness?" Only when I went to sea. Excerpted from Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before by Tony Horwitz All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.