- Paperback: 680 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Reissue edition (October 12, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316584789
- ISBN-13: 978-0316584784
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 53 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus Paperback – October 12, 1991
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Morison, who won the Pulitzer Prize for this work, humanizes Columbus, who is fleshed out warts and all. Columbus is intensely religious, loyal, at times a bore, a peerless admiral and navigator, a so-so and at times poor administrator, courageous, brilliant and at times extremely hardheaded. He made mistakes, took slaves, died under appreciated, yet still completed four of the most important voyages in the history of mankind. He never gave up on the idea that he had actually discovered a new route to the orient, and never fully realized what he had actually found. He was double crossed by his own crew multiple times, faced mutinies, battled arthritis, and was actually led back to Spain in chains following his third voyage.
One of the things we struggle with understanding today is the fact that Columbus (and Magellan, along with many other explorers) had no idea where they were going. There were literally no maps at the time to show them what was on the other side of the ocean, or even if there was another side. It takes unbelievable courage to plunge headfirst off the edge of the map and most people now simply cannot understand what it took to face this complete uncertainty without hope of rescue while being responsible for the lives of the crew and property of the crown while doing it.
This is a terrific book, well researched and full of interesting details. Fans of true adventure, exploration, discovery, maps, world history and geography will love it.
I was amazed to find that Columbus truly felt that he had a divine commission and duty to voyage as he did, and much of the negativity I have heard from him now seems to be unsubstantiated attacks, completely ignoring the facts involved.
I respect the man more now than I did, and I think that people might find that much of what we hear about early discovery and colonialism in the Americas has been distorted and the negative attributed to people who do not deserve it.
As is the case with any great biography, Morison has become enamored with his subject, highlighting his strengths and successes while downplaying his weaknesses and failures, but you know that going into any biography and can adjust your interpretation accordingly.
The story here is told very well, keeping the reader engaged and turning pages. Additionally, the book dispells many of the myths and common misconceptions about Columbus and really fills in a complete picure of the man.
Well worth reading for any fan of history or biography.
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Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus