Surveying the planet entire in 1492, Fernández-Armesto selects a regional event (frequently the death of a ruler) and elaborates its significance in the redirection of history’s flow from a humanity sundered into separate civilizations on several continents, toward a humanity somehow sutured together. Enduring cultural boundaries, such as the western Mediterranean line between Christianity and Islam or the east European marches between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, coalesced around that time, as did Islam’s reach into western Africa. Recounting them, Fernández-Armesto displays the popular talent he has demonstrated in previous works (Amerigo: The Man Who Gave His Name to America, 2007); his narrative fluidity, not to mention an ability to turn a phrase, converts facts into context in an attractively readable manner. His Columbus is not the explorer per se but the social climber pursuing feudal success, and the voyage of 1492 is more an iteration of ongoing Spanish maritime ventures, such as the colonization of the Canary Islands, than something wholly new. From the Aztecs to Chinese admiral Zheng He, Fernández-Armesto brilliantly sweeps a startling breadth of history into his unified narrative. --Gilbert Taylor
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“In this admirable history, Fernández-Armesto has written a book of travels not unlike those of Marco Polo, filled with marvels and sensations, rich in description and replete with anecdote. 1492 is a compendium of delights.” (The Times (London))
In his stimulating new book, Fernandez-Armesto offers a model of how to write popular history: accessible, provocative and full of telling detail. (4 stars) (Mail on Sunday (London))
“Fernandez-Armesto’s narrative fluidity, not to mention an ability to turn a phrase, converts facts into context in an attractively readable manner.... Surveying the planet entire in 1492, Fernández-Armesto brilliantly sweeps a startling breadth of history into his unified narrative.” (Booklist)
“Fernández-Armesto challenges some long-standing historical thinking…. The compiled information adds immensely to the understanding of world that ended and began in 1492…. 1492 changes our view of history.” (San Antonio Express-News)