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Columbus: His Enterprise: Exploding the Myth

4 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0853458258
ISBN-10: 0853458251
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Koning exposes Columbus's less-than-noble side: his greedy, gold-motivated explorations, his New World ``discovery'' which allowed the plunder and murder of America's native peoples, and his return from his fourth voyage as an old man in disgrace. (June)no PW review

Copyright 1991 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Former New Yorker reporter Hans Koning was born Hans Koningsberger in Amsterdam and was a student when World War II broke out and the Germans invaded. He escaped and joined the British Army. After the war, he attended the University of Amsterdam and the Sorbonne, simultaneously working as a full-time writer and journalist. In 1951, Koning caught a freighter to the United States, where he continued to work as a freelance writer and began The Affair (1958), the first of his thirteen novels. Koning now lives in Connecticut with his wife, Kate, and is, as always, writing. In addition to his twenty-two books, three plays, and two translations, he has written political-travel pieces as a reporter-at-large for The New Yorker and has reported for The Atlantic Monthly and The New York Times.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 12
  • Paperback: 141 pages
  • Publisher: Monthly Review Press (January 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0853458251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0853458258
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,018,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Douglas Doepke on September 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a book that attempts to set the record straight on Columbus the man and the chain of events set off by his voyage of discovery. Koning does not delight in debunking the myth, nor does he gloat in the exose'; rather the tone is one of moral despair over the actual facts. Essentially the Christian Spaniards slaughtered and enslaved as they plundered the New World. Convinced he had found the fabled way to Cathay ahead of the rival Portuguese, Columbus appears every bit the avaricious social climber of his era. Skilled and daring, he was also venal and petty. Koning's portrait is not a pretty one, but then we've had enough of those.
Koning takes the revered Samuel Eliot Morrison to task for his sanitized portrait of the Great Explorer. Most reprehensive, in Koning's view, is Morrison's utter disregard for the death and destruction left in Columbus's wake and to which he was a party. Seemingly, Morrison's brand of biographical myopia represents a particularly deadly brand of Western ideology at work, one that cleans up the official record on behalf of the powers that be.
Perhaps most praiseworthy in Koning's tratment are the succinct moral parallels he draws between the civilizing forces of Spain in the New World and their 20th century American counterparts in Vietnam, where additional tens of thousands were slaughtered resisting Western conquest. A book like this exposes unmistakably the self-serving mythology that surrounds so much of our official history. Such versions are not misleading by accident, instead they work to a purpose and there seems no better word for describing that purpose than ideological. They are distortions that preserve current institutions of power; namely, those political and economic arrangements that also happen to be products of Columbus's bloody wake.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want to know what kind of a man Columbus was get this book. It is loaded with information that you never received in school. We still celebrate Columbus Day...but this book makes you ask why glorify this explorer. So when that time of the year arrives where we pay tribute to Columbus...you are able to see his crimes and see how he isn't the kind of person you would want to exemplify.
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By A Customer on April 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Koning gives a very valid speculation on Columbus' life and voyages. Thoughout the years, the story of Columbus has been twisted and glamourized, making the people of America believe that he was a hero. Koning goes in to great detail when explaining the truths behind all these mythological ideals. It is an easy read as well as a very good piece of writing.
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