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Columbus: His Enterprise: Exploding the Myth Paperback – January 1, 1992

5 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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 141 pages
  • Publisher: Monthly Review Press (January 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0853458251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0853458258
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #755,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hans Koning (born Hans Koningsberger in Amsterdam), was a sergeant in the British Army during World War II. In 1951 he came to the United States from Indonesia. He reported for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The New Yorker, Harpers Magazine, The Nation and The Atlantic Monthly, and his many books have received much critical praise.

"There has always been something recognizably distinct in Hans Koning's novels: a ruthless spareness in the manner, a kind of passionate desperation in the plot" - Alastair Reid

"Koning is that rare combination - a masterful story teller with a sense of history" - Howard Zinn

"One of America's most accomplished writers" - George Plimpton

"His style works like dry ice on the mind" - Newsweek

"Extraordinarily stirring" - The New Yorker

"One of the most beautiful (novels) I have read for a long time" - Keith Waterhouse

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful 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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful 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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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. Maher on January 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book and well written, though very short. Impossible to put down once you begin reading. I recommend, however, reading other Columbus books to give yourself a more balanced view. This book is very subjective and highly opinionated. All content is anti-Columbus. The book contains many details you'll never find in other history books or public school texts in America. After reading, you'll hunger for more information.
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By Doak W. on November 22, 2013
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 Hugo Martez on June 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
My American history teacher would not approve of this book, but it sets the record straight. Columbus' expeditions were not gloriously high minded adventures. He was not a hero. The author's writing style is excellent and drives the account forward.
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