By Tony Horwitz
"What occurred in North the United States among Columbus's sail in 1492 and the Pilgrims' arrival in 1620?
On a trip to Plymouth Rock, Tony Horwitz realizes he does not have a clue, nor do so much american citizens. So he units off around the continent to rediscover the wild period while Europeans first roamed the recent international searching for gold, glory, converts, and everlasting early life. Horwitz tells the tale of those courageous and sometimes crazed explorers whereas retracing their steps on his personal epic trek--an odyssey that takes him inside of an Indian sweat inn in subarctic Canada, down the Mississippi in a canoe, on a street journey fueled via buffalo meat, and into sixty kilos of armor as a conquistador reenactor in Florida.
A Voyage lengthy and unusual is a wealthy mixture of scholarship and modern day experience that brings the forgotten first bankruptcy of America's heritage vividly to life." (Google Books)
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Almost six centuries would pass before the birth of the first English child in North America: Virginia Dare, a babe lavishly commemorated in marble, poetry, novels, and plays. Gudrid’s infant, like so many Norse, remains unheralded outside the sagas. His name, for the record, was Snorri. AFTER BEDDING DOWN at the Vinland Motel, I went to see the small national park enclosing the Norse settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows. Stopping first at the visitors center, I watched a film interview with the site’s discoverer, Helge Ingstad, who had recently died at the age of 101.
As for dates, I’d mislaid an entire century, the one separating Columbus’s sail in 1492 from Jamestown’s founding in 16-0-something. Maybe nothing happened in the period between. Still, it was distressing not to know. —I’d matriculated to middle age with a third grader’s grasp of early America. Returning home to Virginia, I resolved to undertake some remedial study. At first, this proved deceptively easy: most of what I wanted to know was hiding in plain sight, at my local library. After skimming a few histories, I dug deeper, reading the letters and journals of early explorers.
But Thorvard’s men balked at killing the five women among them. “Hand me an ax,” Freydis coolly demanded. She then dispatched the five women, and threatened to kill any of her party who told what she had done. Freydis proved quite the Valkyrie in combat, too. During an exploratory foray, the Norse came under attack by a large force of Skraelings in canoes, wielding a strange weapon. ” Though heavily pregnant, she joined the battle, snatching up the sword of a slain Viking. “When the Skraelings came rushing toward her she pulled one of her breasts out of her bodice and slapped it with her sword.
A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz