From the author of the Magellan biography, Over the Edge of the World, a mesmerizing new account of the great explorer.
Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a trading route to China, and his unexpected landfall in the Americas, is a watershed event in world history. Yet Columbus made three more voyages within the span of only a decade, each designed to demonstrate that he could sail to China within a matter of weeks and convert those he found there to Christianity.
These later voyages were even more adventurous, violent, and ambiguous, but they revealed Columbus's uncanny sense of the sea, his mingled brilliance and delusion, and his superb navigational skills. In all these exploits he almost never lost a sailor. By their conclusion, however, Columbus was broken in body and spirit. If the first voyage illustrates the rewards of exploration, the latter voyages illustrate the tragic costs - political, moral, and economic.
In rich detail Laurence Bergreen re-creates each of these adventures as well as the historical background of Columbus's celebrated, controversial career. Written from the participants' vivid perspectives, this breathtakingly dramatic account will be embraced by readers of Bergreen's previous biographies of Marco Polo and Magellan and by fans of Nathaniel Philbrick, Simon Winchester, and Tony Horwitz.
©2011 Laurence Bergreen (P)2011 Penguin Audio
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"Does exactly what you want"
An excellent survey of Columbus's career, and particularly interesting in the way it devotes attention to all four voyages, rather than focusing on the famous one that started it all. The narrative enables to appreciate Columbus's admirable qualities (his brilliance as a navigator) as well as his flaws (terrible people skills!). You will feel alternately impressed by, horrified at, and sympathetic toward the man.
No problems with the narrator.
"a good mix of perspectives"
this book has a good mix of perspectives. it is easy to hate Columbus, this explains why he he thought the way he thought, how others of the time thought and let's the reader judge him knowing all this information.
"More than I even needed to know"
Ton's of information, well preformed and interesting. At times the information was difficult to follow. The book bridges a fine line between historical periodical and a story about this tremendously important historical figure. My personal opinion of Columbus was improved by reading this epic tale. Thanks to the author.
Gaining an understanding of the effort that went into the voyages
Not that I am aware of but this performance was good!
At first no, but now that I think of it there is enough richness in the details for a screenwriter to simplify and organize the book into mini stories. I could totally see a John Malkovich type as Columbus.
"Some interesting points"
Some interesting points but not a spell binding read. Overall it was a good read but one that will not keep you up all night.
"Well read and very interesting"
What you leaned in history class is not the whole story by any measure.
I found this very to be a very good book. I the narrator's voice was enjoyable. Seems like the author has captured Europe's world view and mentality.
"Brings history to life while boring to death"
Look, history is dry it is dead it is the past and, most of all we have to make many assumptions. This is either a historical work with a spoonful of swash buckling or a rather tepid tale of discovery and the misery that was inflicted in the name of Spain and the Church. Either way it is hard work with limited entertainment value. For those into history, assuming the bare bone facts are true, blow of the dust and enjoy. For those expecting a little more colour and seamanship, look for another tale.
"Too Much Drama"
Yes. Facts of Columbus's adventures important to understanding of history.
Not likely. Bergreen spent too many words reporting Columbus's moods, thoughts, motives. Would like a less dramatic presentation
Would depend on title and author. Jerome also dramatic in emphasizing Bergreen's dramatic words.
No. I think Bergreen did summarize what the records have to say about Columbus
"God and interesting read"
Book is extremely interesting, although it wanders at times. I learned a lot. Narrator is very good.
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