The good: I’m glad Horwitz took this trip for me,
because boy was it unpleasant. I learned all kinds of things about 16th
century America, though! I immediately forgot them all, as one does. Oh,
Syphilis! Did you know it came from America?
Horwitz is a sharp, funny observer, with a great ear
for irony and idiosyncratic voices.
The bad: Let me start by saying that I wanted to read
“Confederates in the Attic”, but it’s not available on Kindle. This book was a
good refresher on some of the stuff I’ve been studying for my novel, but it’s
not very detailed. The book could easily have been twice as long (and twice as
alienating to normal people). It’s not a history of stuff that was happening on
the American continent between 1492 and 1620; it’s a history of the Europeans
in America during that time. I guess that’s pretty much what’s promised on the
book jacket though? Also Horwitz is easily depressed by pretty much everything
that isn’t air-conditioned (but, like most people, he’s funnier that way).