File Size: 3176 KB
Print Length: 423 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books; 1st edition (September 20, 2011)
Publication Date: September 20, 2011
Cristopher Columbus, the sailor man from Genoa and child of a weaver, shipped half the world into the rapacious hands of a fledgling Christian The country without ever knowing where he was or what he had found. This individual died still thinking Tanque was a peninsula jutting outward from the subcontinent of India. He was intuitive, perceptive and persistent, a master of navigation, yet an inability at his task, a poor leader often victim of scheming and rivalry. He was cruel and magnanimous, monumental and pitiful, a collector of textbooks whose damaged eyesight refused him the full appreciation of their pages, whose greatest reading was in reality the surface of the sea, despite acute rheumatoid arthritis, gout and chronic pink eye symptoms.
In “Columbus: the Four Voyages 1492-1504”, by Laurence Bergreen, we follow the world’s greatest seaman into the morass of political connivance, while he, and those who followed, systematically destroyed the world they had found, corrupted or annihilated their populations and flustered after elusive or nonexistent souple to reward two confused monarchs who never fully came to conditions with the notion of a “New World” in “the other world” of their resourceful but ineffectual and seriously ailing—both mentally and physically—emissary.
Bergreen gives us the item of diligent research and exhaustive culling of available resources, in a prosaic but readable style, peppered by only a few problems. An " Hidalgo" pertains not to a " gentleman", as the creator proclaims, but rather a son succeeding the first- born—to whom his family's wealth and titles are destined—in other words the landless, trying to make their fortune by any means. An " escudero" is equally low in the ranks of privilege and refers to a " squire", who for lack of greater opportunity accompanies a man of title and position, where ever destiny may take them. When it comes to constuctions effected by Nicolas de Ovando in his capacity as chief excutive of Hispaniola, they are not stone, as the author describes, but rather blocks of coral reduce from the nearby reefs, and so are solid but porous, pocked with residual shells and other marine creatures, and are uniquely good looking.
The text is generally favorable to " the Admiral of the Marine Sea", fully aware of his skills and strengths, equally candid and perceptive regarding his idiosyncrasies and limitations. The book nonetheless often borders on harangue. No colonizer was ever bountiful and Spain was no exception, and was further nonplussed by the ambiguity of Columbus' breakthroughs. He had no idea where he was, less of where he was going, following as he did a hapless mira?as he interpreted to be Marco Polo, and the Venetians' journeys to the realm of a " great Khan", at that time defunct., 2 sorts of readers may be attracted to this guide. One is the Columbus scholar, who values every historical detail and would like to know the latest findings. The other sort are people with this problem, who are simply attracted to the exciting tale of Columbus to be able to enjoy a good read. Mr. Bergreen's very thorough biography is recommended for the initial sort of readers, but not necessarily for the second.
A great deal of time in dusty libraries must have been required to produce this book. It has exactly what the type-one reader will need--the level of detail is just immense. Clearly it is a valuable factor to our store expertise, if perhaps a bit much to the even more informal reader.
But unfortunately, the quality of the writing fails to match the depth of the research. There are indeed some patches of good writing, and the guide finally involves life in the excitement of Columbus' ill-fated final voyage. But too often you have the impression that it has been cobbled together straight from the notecards, perhaps by several people who are not in communication with each other. Some sentences seem to be self-contradictory, or are simply obscure, even after several readings. Events are reported out of time sequence. Translations from old Spanish documents into English are cumbersome and garbled. Alas, the author is an excellent cook but an indifferent waitress.
In addition there are numerous errors. On page 128 we are told that Columbus went from Cadiz to the Canaries by sailing southeast, and on page 236 we are told that the mouth of the Orinoco is located at the edge of Venezuela and Brazilian. On page 354 the writer confuses Dry Possess, in Jamaica, with Saint. Anne's Bay. A further annoyance is the fact that there are only five large-scale journey maps, and these sometimes disagree with the navigational details in the text.
Nonspecialist readers who favor stylish prose and good entertainment might try to find a copy of Samuel Eliot Morison's "Admiral of the Ocean Sea. " This 1942 traditional hardly offers the latest scholarship, but Morison is an excellent writer, and besides that the experienced sailor, very strong on ships and navigational details. He has LOTS of maps. Morison's two more general amounts on "The European Finding of America" are literary treasure too., Best guide I have read about Columbus. Detailed account of the 4 voyages to the new world., I figured out so much here. I knew only the basics of the story when I started and located him to be a interesting and extremely human figure. The only complaint was the difficulty I had developed following some minor players in the story. They would be introduced and then pop up again and I could not always keep them straight. i would have kept a graph with notes if I had known this would happen regularly.
allinall a good and through read of a complex figure., I figured out a lot of background in this book that is not taught at all in schools. Columbus was more of a religious zealot than I imagined. I was also surprised to learn that the roadmaps drawn by Ptolemy over 1500 years earlier were considered the best available in 1492. Also that Columbus truly believed, from beginning to end, that he was very close to India and China when he was in the Caribbean.
A very interesting book, but not a page turning journey. Glad I read it for its detailed background., Absolutely amazing and entertaining., This is a really interesting and well written guide about Columbus. I figured out brand new events about his life and voyages., Performed not think it upwards up to Bergreen standard. Found it confusing relating islands visited. Did find some historical items interesting -
first slaves from islands transported to Spain.
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