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New Worlds to Conquer

From Openwaterpedia
Richard Halliburton who completed a stage swim across the Panama Canal in 1928
Richard Halliburton swimming in one of the Panama Canal locks during his 1928 swim through the Panama Canal next to a rowboat with a rifleman and rowboat operator
Memorial marker for Richard Halliburton, adventurer and writer

New Worlds to Conquer is a book authored by American travel writer and open water swimmer Richard Halliburton.


By the early 1930s America had one literary treasure that risked his life to please its readers. Richard Halliburton had already become a best-selling travel author and could have retired comfortably on the immense wealth gained from the sale of his first two books. Yet some men are born to dare, and Halliburton was one these. “New Worlds to Conquer” was Halliburton's third book and contains a knapsack full of that adventurer's gold - dreams brought to reality by the alchemy of his courage and daring. The book details how Halliburton set off for Latin America in search of adventure, and find it he did. He dived to the bottom of the Mayan Well of Death, from which hundreds of skeletons had been dredged, then swam fifty miles down the length of the Panama Canal. Not content, he climbed to the crest of Mexico's lofty Mount Popocatepetl, twice, and roamed over the infamous Devil’s Island. Yet his most amazing adventure occurred when he had himself marooned on the same island which had once held Robinson Crusoe captive. "Somewhere a lizard stirred the leaves ... Furtively I looked about me, realizing that in the darkness the boa-constrictors would be abroad creeping forth from the ancient tombs and slinking down the leafy avenues," Halliburton wrote.

Richard Halliburton[edit]

Richard Halliburton (9 January 1900 – presumed dead after being lost at sea after 24 March 1939) was an American traveler, adventurer, and author. Halliburton was headline news for most of his brief career. His final and fatal adventure, an attempt to sail a Chinese junk, the Sea Dragon, across the Pacific Ocean from Hong Kong to the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco, made him legendary. His books included The Royal Road to Romance (1925), New Worlds to Conquer (1929), The Flying Carpet (1932), Seven League Boots (1935), and The Glorious Adventure.

Stage Swimming[edit]

He swam the length of the Panama Canal in 1928, swimming 50 hours total in the water over a 10-day period while escorted by a rowboat with a rifleman and rowboat operator. Governor M.L. Walker granted him permission to swim along with a small launch, a cameraman, a newspaper reporter and an expert rifleman. Charges for the passage were made in accordance with the ton rate, and Halliburton, weighing 150 pounds, paid 36 cents. New Worlds to Conquer included a chapter entitled "The SS Richard Halliburton" that gave a very detailed and anecdotal description of his swim.

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