Horizon Chasers

The Lives and Adventures of Richard Halliburton and Paul Mooney


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About the Book

Richard Halliburton was the quintessential world traveler of the early 20th century. In 1930, his celebrity equaled that of Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. Halliburton called himself a “horizon chaser” and recommended that one should see the world before committing to a routine. Not only did he live up to his ideal, but he was eager to write about his adventures. A prolific partnership with gifted editor and ghost writer Paul Mooney produced excellent work, and theirs became a close personal relationship. Sadly, Halliburton and Mooney disappeared at sea on March 24, 1939, along with the entire crew of Halliburton’s Chinese junk Sea Dragon, as they attempted to cross the Pacific from Hong Kong to the San Francisco World’s Fair.
This biography records the life and adventures of Halliburton and Mooney, focusing—as no other Halliburton biography has—on the productive literary collaboration between the two. Drawing on the recollections of people who knew them both, the work discusses their backgrounds, the early years of their acquaintance, and their possible romantic relationship. Finally, their fateful journey to Hong Kong and the ill-advised voyage of the Sea Dragon is described in detail. A good deal of first-hand evidence is provided by William Alexander, Paul Mooney’s best friend and designer of Halliburton’s Laguna Beach house. Appendices contain seven poems by Mooney and facsimile letters, including one of praise written by Richard Halliburton to William Alexander. Never-before-published photographs are also included.

About the Author(s)

Gerry Max is an instructor at the University of Wisconsin and Lakeland College. He collects and appraises rare books and has published on a variety of topics in scholarly journals. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Bibliographic Details

Gerry Max
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 320
Bibliographic Info: 103 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2671-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

Introduction: A Modern Ulysses      7

1. “Don Peyote”      17

2. A Growing Boy      30

3. New York Confidential      36

4. Streets of Paris      47

5. “The Farm”      54

6. Romantic Richard      63

7. Ghostwriting Ritual      77

8. Veiled Salome      92

9. Marvel-land      98

10. Vagabondia      105

11. Mask of Celebrity      111

12. “I Knew Hitler”      119

13. Olympian Detachment      129

14. House in Flight      139

15. “Pacifica”      172

16. The Halliburton Chinese Junk Expedition      182

17. The Royal Road from Hong Kong      196

18. To Dare or to Be in Debt      214

19. Earth, Air, Fire—and Water      221

Appendix A: Seven Poems by Paul Mooney      235

Appendix B: Letters      239

A Note on Sources      243

Notes      245

Bibliography      283

Index      299