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'A Voyage Long and Strange' away from myth

Tony Horwitz rewrites early American history

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Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz travels a far distance in A Voyage Long and Strange only to finally hear the truth from the Rev. Peter Gomes of Harvard University's Memorial Church. "Myth is more important than history," Mr. Gomes tells him. "Myth trumps fact, always does, always has, always will."

Horwitz, author of the bestselling "Confederates in the Attic," skillfully combines history and travel in this entertaining, insightful account of his road trip into America's past.

The trip was spurred by Horwitz's horrified discovery that, despite his history degree from a prestigious US university, he knew almost nothing about the first Europeans to arrive in America – in other words the "awful lot" of stuff that happened "between Columbus and the Pilgrims." What Horwitz discovers as he travels takes much of the sheen off the events glorified in our grammar school history books.Fittingly, he begins his odyssey at the "mythical" birthplace of America, Plymouth Rock.

Moving backward in time, he then travels to Newfoundland, seeking traces of Viking Leif Eriksson and the Norse settlement he established there in AD 1000.

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