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The Last Voyage of Columbus: Being the Epic Tale of the Great Captain's Fourth Expedition, Including Accounts of Swordfight, Mutiny, Shipwreck, Gold, War, Hurricane, and Discovery First Edition Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0316828833
ISBN-10: 0316828831
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"For a guy who's been dead five centuries," says Dugard, "Columbus was very much a physical presence as I wrote this book." The author's Columbus—who engages in swashbuckling deeds of derring-do as he explores the Caribbean and Central America in his fourth and final voyage (1502–1504)—is a guy's guy. Spurning views of Columbus as a harbinger of genocide, Dugard (Into Africa, etc.) senses virile, visionary boldness, a man "fuelled by focus and challenge." Unsullied by too much modern scholarship, this book is at heart a recasting of Washington Irving and Samuel Eliot Morison updated to appeal to readers of GQ and Sports Illustrated (for which Dugard has written). His is a sexy tale: Columbus flirts with the (much romanticized) queen Isabella; nautical mapmaking is "one of the world's sexiest new occupations." In a text that idolizes navigation skills, there are some geographical slipups (Syria isn't near the site of the Suez Canal), and petty-minded linguists will wonder about Dugard's translations ("La Huerta," for instance, is not "special garden"). Historians might puzzle over the claim that Granada was the "only vestige" of the Moorish invasion (Islam continued to be practiced widely in Spain until the early 16th century). But for those who enjoy exciting descriptions of shipwrecks, bloodshed, shark-infested waters and storms from hell, this may be beside the point. 2 maps. Agent, Eric Simonoff. (June)
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From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Dugard's compelling account of European history in the concluding years of the 15th century is chock-full of the intrigue and manipulation that underscored various monarchies' race to control the world. Columbus is presented as a man of courage and perseverance who unwittingly became caught up in the various treacheries of the more political players around him. Along with Columbus and his family, Dugard introduces readers to such contemporaries as Vasco da Gama, Amerigo Vespucci, and Alonso de Ojeda. With its blend of adventure and intrigue, and its comprehensive character development, this book is highly readable, thoroughly enjoyable, and an excellent addition to any high-school biography collection.–Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316828831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316828833
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #555,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Martin Dugard is the co-author (with Bill O'Reilly) of Killing Jesus, Killing Kennedy, Killing Lincoln and Killing Patton. These four books have sold more than eight million copies.

In addition to history, Dugard specializes in chronicling the drive of great men to realize their potential. This can be seen in his trilogy on endurance sports: Surviving the Toughest Race on Earth (McGraw-Hill, 1998); Chasing Lance (Little, Brown; 2005), and To Be A Runner, is an inspiring and informational series of essays written from the viewpoint of Dugard's forty years as a distance runner.

Dugard's other books include The Murder of King Tut (co-written with bestselling author James Patterson), which saw Dugard travel to Egypt to unravel the centuries-old mystery of who murdered Tutankhamen, Egypt 's legendary boy king; The Training Ground (Little, Brown, 2008), the riveting saga of America's great Civil War generals during the Mexican War, when they were scared young lieutenants first learning the ways of war; The Last Voyage of Columbus (Little, Brown; 2005), Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone (Doubleday, 2003), Farther Than Any Man: The Rise and Fall of Captain James Cook (Pocket Books, 2001), and Knockdown (Pocket Books, 1999).

For the past eight years he has also put that knowledge to good use by spending his afternoons as the head cross-country and track coach at JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano, California. His teams have qualified for the California State Championships four years in a row, and his girls team won the state title in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

He has also co-written three books with Mark Burnett, creator of Survivor and The Apprentice.

Dugard recently wrote and produced A Warrior's Heart, a coming-of-age film based around the sport of lacrosse. A Warrior's Heart stars Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene.

An adventurer himself, Dugard regularly immerses himself in his research to understand characters and their motivations better. To better understand Columbus he traveled through Spain , the Caribbean, Central America, and sailed from Genoa to Spain aboard a tall ship in the manner of the great navigator. He followed Henry Morton Stanley's path across Tanzania while researching Into Africa (managing to get thrown into an African prison in the process), and swam in the tiger shark-infested waters of Hawaii 's Kealakekua Bay to recreate Captain James Cook's death for Farther Than Any Man.

Dugard competed in the Raid Gauloises endurance race three times, ran with the bulls in Pamplona on two occasions, and flew around the world at twice the speed of sound aboard an Air France Concorde. The time of 31 hours and 28 minutes set a world record for global circumnavigation. Dugard's magazine writing has appeared in Esquire, Outside, Sports Illustrated, and GQ, among others.

Martin Dugard lives in Orange County, California, with his wife and three sons.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By J. Miller on June 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Martin Dugard knows how to write well. This is a gift not all historians have. The notes section is helpfull to readers who are interested in further study. Dugard has traveled to the obscure regions he descibes. I only gave it four stars because I would have loved to see pictures of the sites he descibes (although I am aware that would have raised the cost). I knew some facts about Columbus. His religious zeal. His son's first hand account. I have seen Ridley Scott's "1492" (which I enjoyed). However I did not know anything about this "Fourth Expedition". I have read Manchester's account of Magellan, which I found very interesting (and I intend to read Bergreen's Bio of Magellan next) however this tale is simply amazing. The title says it all. Amazing tales of storm and divine retribution (I won't give it away). Such was the strain of the mission that heroes became conspirators (these were no "Conquistadors"..for that, see Gov. Ovando). I will always remember the name of Diego Mendez (somebody I had never heard of until now). The fate of the convoy of Bobadilla is a tale you have to read to believe. I am going to hunt down Dugard's book "Into Africa" and his work on Captain Cook. I cannot recommend this book more highly.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By J. Minatel VINE VOICE on January 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Wow. I learned so much from this book and enjoyed every page of it. If I were in the movie business, I'm be optioning the rights on this puppy for a movie with Harrison Ford as Columbus in a heartbeat.

Yes, so we all know the general outline of the 1492 story. And we know some vague details that Columbus never found the western route to the orient. But Dugard brings this to life and puts in fascinating details about life at sea, the struggles Columbus and the crew faced, and just what really did happen to bring an end to Columbus' great career.

Dugard's writing style is fantastic as is his approach. He doesn't try to mis-apply 20th (or 21st) century morality onto Columbus' actions, he's good at interpreting Columbus behavior in the right temporal light. He doesn't seek to justify or crucify Columbus, just to tell a great adventure story. The best fiction writers would have a hard time beating the twists of fate, politics, action, and tension of this real life drama.

I also found this book especially interesting having recently read James Reston's excellent "Dogs of God." Dogs of God sets the stage very nicely to better understand Spain's politcal and religious climate at the time as well as the events leading up to Columbus' first voyage.

Having read this, I'm anxious to read some of Dugard's other writing, possibly his "Surviving the Toughest Race on Earth" next.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Grey Wolffe VINE VOICE on December 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is divided into two parts, the first deals with Columbus, his time spent getting some one (anyone) to back him finacially on a hairbrain scheme to get to China/India by sailing West, and his first three voyages and their results. The second deals with the Fourth Voyage (which he calls his "High Voyage) it's triumph(s), tragedies and their aftermath.

But what makes this book worth reading is what it really deals with, and that when a man's dreams come true they are not always what he expected nor what he wanted in the first place (or thought he did). Columbus wanted to sail west, discover a way to the Orient, make himself a fortune, be showered with lands medals and titles and leave a great legacy for his children and posterity.

Because of his political naivete, what he got was short term acclaim, then humiliation and banishment, the smugness and pettiness of syncophants and courtiers, privation and deprivation, and lastly he almost lost credit for discovering the "New World" to a man (Amerigo Vespucci) who might never have actually commanded a ship of discovery. Keep in mind that the two continents are called America not Columbia (or Colonia, or Colomboia).

Dugard does a marvellous job of bringing out the personalities of all the people involved, from Ferdinand (miser and ingrate) and Isabella (friend and admirer), to his schizophrenic crews (who could never make up their minds on whose side they were on), the indigenous people (some who fought him and others that saved him from starvation); to the man himself who thought that he was protected by God, and never lost his belief in the miraculous help of prayer.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Calandro on September 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
Martin Dugard's riveting account of Christopher Columbus's last voyage in the New World is not without its flaws. Though the book is very compelling and a great read it suffers a bit from a jumping narrative in the first section to a lack of citations regarding sources throughout.

The second part of the work, from the beginning of Columbus's fourth voyage to the end of the book, is great. It is a highly engrossing read with short chapters that practically drag the reader from chapter to chapter just to see what happens next. However, the first section of the book is not like this at all. Though the chapters are of similar length the opening meanders through the events that led up to Columbus's fourth voyage. I found myself somewhat confused by the large cast of characters both important and not. Though Dugard does provide some interesting overviews of Columbus's nature and his relationship with Queen Isabella of Spain.

The worst shortcoming of the book though is its lack of citations. Often I found myself asking "Where did he dig that up?" Unfortunately, Dugard only provides a selected bibliography, while extensive; it does not point the reader to a direct source for some of his more interesting comments and sentences. While historians I'm sure would rip Dugard a new one for this lapse I can forgive as the general subject matter and crisp narrative make for a very good read.
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