E-Mail: peterlourie@gmavt.net


Tierra del Fuego

A Journey to the End of the Earth

By Peter Lourie

 

 

Ferdinand Magellan was seeking a passage to the Pacific and the riches of the east when he sailed down the coast of South America in 1520. His expedition for Spain seemd doomed to failure until he spied a waterway at the tip of the continent. Taking his ships west on the strait that now bears his name, he passed through a foreboding land, where he saw smoke from unseen fires. He called this land, Tierra del Fuego, THE LAND OF FIRE.

Peter Lourie takes young readers on a journey to the tip of South America, where the Yámana and other Patagonian tribes for thousands of years fished the waters and hunted in cold, mysterious forests.  It was here that Charles Darwin sailed the legendary Beagle and Joshua Slocum, the first man to circumnavigate the world alone, outwitted pirates who lurked in the unchanted coves of Tierra del Fuego.

Reviews:

Intrepid adventurer Lourie, who's explored everything from the Amazon to the Yukon, with the Hudson and Mississippi thrown in for good measure, travels to the island of Tierra del Fuego recounting adventures of Magellan, Charles Darwin, and turn-of-the-century world traveler, Joshua Slocum. As with other adventures, Lourie enlivens his narrative with period maps and drawings, photographs and quotes from journals and diaries from the past interspersed with contemporary photographs and tidbits about the people and places. Most interesting are the selections gleaned from the journal of a sailor who traveled with Magellan in 1520 seeking a passage that would link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. And the adventures of Joshua Slocum, who in 1898 sailed around the world in a 40-foot boat and described in his diary encounters with pirates and storms in the Strait of Magellan. After visiting Punta Arenas, Chile, Lourie, who is surprised to find himself in a modern city of 150,000, flies to Ushuaia, the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego and refers to Darwin's visit there on the Beagle in 1832. Finally he stops to visit with a modern-day sheep-farming family before flying back home. Lourie is a masterful storyteller well able to bring the past alive....Period photographs and drawings are especially appealing.

School Library Journal , September 2002

    

Lourie's latest photo-essay highlights the southern-most island off the coast of South America.  Named "Land of Fire" by Magellan, who noted the fires that native tribes kept burning,  this area is known today for its treacherous waters and as a jumping-off spot for travelers to Antarctica.  A diverse land of sheep farms and modern cities as well as penguins and fur seals, this region has attracted scientists (Darwin) and adventurers, including Magellan and Joshua Slocum, the first person to circumnavigate the globe alone. Lourie's abundant artwork includes a mix of crisp, color photographs, period illustrations, and maps. Short chapters and frequent breaks in the text make for a pleasing format. A good choice for geography or explorer units, this will be popular with young adventurers as well.

Booklist, October 15, 2002

 

Intrepid traveler Peter Lourie fulfills a childhood dream by journeying to the wild island at the southernmost tip of South America.  Its treacherous waters are among the roughest on the planet, and sailors have long feared the passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific off its shores.  When Magellan sailed here in 1520, he spotted the fires of the native peoples and called the island "The land of fire."  What happened to these people is a sad tale.  The Yamana tribe succumbed to the diseases brought by gold miners after 1886.  A few short years later the tribe was extinct.  Lourie's fascinating first-person narrative along with historical information, excerpts from the diary of a sailor named Joshua Slocum, period and current photos and maps make this an excellent resource for young armchair travelers and students learning about this part of Argentina and Chile. Beautiful photographs on glossy paper, open and inviting format, index and list for further reading make this an appealing book. It is the only children's title on Tierra del Fuego in the Palo Alto Library's collections. Grades 4 & up.

Palo Alto Public Library System, CA, December 2002, Maya Spector