On a chance visit to Plymouth Rock, Tony Horwitz made an unsettling discovery: despite all his education, from grade school through college (as a history major, no less!) he had reached middle aged with a third-grader's understanding of early America. In fact, he's mislaid the entire period separating Columbus's landing in 1492 and the arrival of the English in Jamestown in 1620. Horwitz resolves to find out what happened in between. What he discovers is a wild, century-long land-grab, with America crisscrossed by conquistadors, castaways, slaves and other travelers, who roamed and rampaged across half the states in the present U.S. before the Mayflower hit ground. He uncovers that history during an epic quest of his own--a road trip to all the present-day sites of the explorers' adventures, cities and towns and backwaters where America's lost history lies just beneath the surface of daily life.
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