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The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus (Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Columbus , J. Cohen
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

No gamble in history has been more momentous than the landfall of Columbus's ship the Santa Maria in the Americas in 1492 - an event that paved the way for the conquest of a 'New World'. The accounts collected here provide a vivid narrative of his voyages throughout the Caribbean and finally to the mainland of Central America, although he still believed he had reached Asia. Columbus himself is revealed as a fascinating and contradictory figure, fluctuating from awed enthusiasm to paranoia and eccentric geographical speculation. Prey to petty quarrels with his officers, his pious desire to bring Christian civilization to 'savages' matched by his rapacity for gold, Columbus was nonetheless an explorer and seaman of staggering vision and achievement.

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Italian (translation)

About the Author

Christopher Columbus is the man who discovered America and was known as the Admiral of the Ocean in his day. Italian-born Columbus went on four voyages which led to the discovery of many places hitherto undiscovered.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1434 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 1 edition (February 5, 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9JA0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,277 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No, the Third Voyage is the best! March 16, 2006
This book contains primary sources ONLY. (How do I "rate" the letters of Christopher Columbus? :-) You can read about the life and times of an historical character by the very best historians for years, but until you read what that character actually wrote about his own experiences, you're groping in the dark. Nothing compares to getting it from the horse's mouth.

These letters, beautifully translated, free of anyone's opinions, are history's nuclear core. Any gut sense YOU get from these words may well be closer to the truth than what you've read by any scholar. Occasionally you might realize that your favorite historian didn't actually finish reading some of the letters they're basing an argument on! Then you are in a position of knowing more than he/she does.

I do wonder why Penguin doesn't fix the date of Columbus's death. The editor has him dying in 1509 (not a typo since it's repeated) which is a shame. Columbus died 500 years ago this spring, and a quincentenary only happens once. It's "Goodbye, Columbus" May 20th, 2006.

FAVORITE VOYAGE: NO. 3, when he blesses the continent of South America with his tears (red with blood from exposure and illness) and warns the Monarchs that this is the Earthly Paradise and no one may enter without God's leave.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Columbus Resurrected March 11, 2004
By events3
J. M. Cohen's translation of various 1st-hand or near first-hand accounts, including that of Columbus' son, Hernando Colon's LIFE OF THE ADMIRAL brings the Columbus story to life.
The Introduction, coming from a translator of literature rather than a historian, is rather uninspiring; however, he does provide a rather thorough rebuttal of the argument, made by many supporters of Bartolome de Las Casas and referred to without explanation by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto in COLUMBUS, that Hernando Colon's work is a forgery. Indeed, since it appeared long before Las Casas' HISTORY was published, the issue of forgery may go in the other direction!
The book, through early Spanish sources, looks at the rumor that Columbus relied on the map of an ailing Portuguese sailor. It makes plain Columbus' error in thinking he was near Japan (Chipangu) and his belief that he would reach Cathay! We see his rather innocent introduction to the potent tobacco plant and how the natives fed his belief that gold, pearl and spices were nearby.
Columbus is shown to be of mixed character: on the one hand, he generally seems to respect the natives he meets and makes an alliance with one chieftain against the 'cannibal' Caribs. On the other, he takes several natives captive (to have them trained in Spanish so that they can serve as translators on future voyages), gives some Carib women to his men (who raped them as in the case of the vile Michele de Cuneo) and discusses conquest and enslavement of idolators [not particularly shocking considering the long history of conflicts and mutual enslavement between the muslim moors of Spain & Northern Africa and the Christians of Spain & Portugal].
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars First hand account, yes. Exciting read? No. August 15, 2011
The Four Voyages is a compilation of letters and logs that has been translated to describe Columbus' voyages to the new world. Its much more of an academic collection suitable for research work.

The content is taken from log entries and letters during the voyages and chapters from Columbus' biography written by his son. Much of the text was written by people that were there experiencing the voyages and writing about them which gives this a first hand feel you won't find elsewhere. Some interesting parts are those that reveal Columbus' devotion to religion and interest in world geography. At the time Columbus was making the case for a smaller Earth because he was convinced "the mainland" (South America) was Asia.

Overall this was difficult to get through and lacks much of the drama and excitement that would have occurred on the voyages. It also assumes the reader has some idea of the background history.

I would recommend it only as a supplemental book to those that are interested in the discovery of the new world and would like to read Columbus' own words.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great description of Columbus voyages November 1, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a great description of the events related to the exploration of the new world made by Columbus. The first two voyages are the most interesting because of the discovery of the caribbean island and the natives inhabitants living there, the arawaks and the caribs. The latter were very particular on account of its cannibalism.

In the third voyage, Columbus finally reach mainland and the fourth voyage was the toughest of all due to huge storms that lasted several days and the attacks of indian while they were repairing. At the end of the book there is an account made by Diego Mendez, a truly survivor and loyal servant of the Admiral who saved the lives of all of them while they were waiting in Jamaica, for a year.

I my opinion Columbus was a great navigator and a brave man. It is sad how the life of the Admiral ends and the poor retribution from the kings of Spain.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, unfiltered, and unbiased October 9, 2010
If you're interested in history and not someone's opinion of it, this is the book for you. This is a nice collection of writings from Columbus' time. Read it and decide for yourself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I am pleased.
Published 1 month ago by Ruby
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting
Actually reading the account is most enlightening. Columbus and the Spaniards were scoundrels who saw the natives and the new world as resources.
Published 2 months ago by Robert Caldwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
columbus was a villian
Published 2 months ago by The Smart Shopper
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
really liked it. lots of info. id forgotten.
Published 3 months ago by kelsey smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Primary source material
Published 3 months ago by Sha'Allah Shabazz
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting
fascinating and well put together and edited. I am very much enjoying this insight into history we don't normally get.
Published 4 months ago by Helen D. Setterfield
2.0 out of 5 stars Kindle e-book full of typos.
The kindle version of this book is disappointing, rife with frequent typos that would have been easily corrected by a professional copyeditor. Read more
Published 6 months ago by HAA
5.0 out of 5 stars Every American should know this book
Under the current “shame narrative” of American history, Columbus has been recast as a villain. I would urge the world’s readers to become acquainted with this book for a more... Read more
Published 7 months ago by krebsman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great experience
Published 8 months ago by Manuel I Lacayo
5.0 out of 5 stars Think you know Chris?
Not until you read this well-edited selection of source documents. He may be the key historical figure of the last 500 years.
Published 9 months ago by Dr. Les Sutter
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