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Columbus: The Four Voyages Hardcover – September 20, 2011
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A Look Inside Columbus: The Four Voyages
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Description: Woodcut from 1493 of Native Americans fleeing in fear of Columbus as he sets foot on the Bahama island “Guanahani.”
Description: A 1493 woodcut accompanying Columbus’s “Letter on the First Voyage,” illustrating his arrival in the Indies.
Description: World map, 1500, of Juan de la Cosa, cartographer and navigator on Christopher Columbus's second voyage of 1493-94.
Description: The first page of Columbus’s 1492 manuscript The Book of Privileges.
— The New York Times
"Laurence Bergreen's ambitious new biography, Columbus: The Four Voyages [is] a spellbinding epic that's simultaneiously a profoundly private portrait of the most complex, compelling, controversial creature ever to board a boat. This scrupulously researched, unbiased account of four death-defying journeys to The New World reveals the Admiral's paradoxical personality."
— USA Today
"A compelling new book [that] details the explorer's trips to the New World, including three you haven't heard about."
"Once you have read this superb acount of Columbus' four voyages, you will never be content with the cliche about the Italian-born explorer's sailing the ocean blue in 1492. Author of many prize-winning popular history books on topics as diverse as Marco Polo and Al Capone. Laurence Bergreen is a New York-based scholar whose portrayal of the life and times of Christopher Columbus is a tour de force."
— Winnipeg Free Press
"Laurence Bergreen's new book, refreshingly, is fluid in style in its style and comprehensive in its research. Richly illustrated and enhanced with maps that are as legible as they are relevant. Columbus: The Four Voyages is complex in its themes, intriguing in its substance and sparkling with suprises."
— The Washington Times
"In this scrupulously fair and often thrilling account of his four vorages to the "New World," Bergreen reveals Columbus as brilliant, brave, adventurous, and deeply flawed . . . A superb reexamination of the character and career of a still controversial historical agent." — Booklist
Top Customer Reviews
Laurence Bergreen does an excellent job of laying out Columbus's accomplishments, the places he discovered, things he saw, people he met or brought with him on the voyages. Bergreen doesn't ignore the rest of Columbus's life, but he does skim over it, pretty much. From what I remember, we don't know that much about the rest of Columbus's life anyway, so it's not that big of a loss that the author sees fit to concentrate on the voyages themselves, and tries to tell us what is known about them.Read more ›
All of these books synthesize a wealth of contemporary sources and modern references to build out something more than just 'the story' of discovery. Bergreen constructs a view into their exploits through historic and modern lenses that ultimately shines a broad beam of light across the entirety of their adventures.
Moving from Marco Polo to Christopher Columbus is not such a long leap for Bergreen. Columbus carried a well-worn copy of Polo's "Travels" during all his journeys and used it as guidebook in his own search for a route west: from Europe to the Indies and to see the Great Khan in China, then known as Cathay. Marco Polo was a 15th Century Frommer, apparently. Unfortunately, what Columbus had no way of knowing was that "...two oceans and two centuries separated..." Columbus from his target, wrote Bergreen.
Bergreen paints Columbus in a rainbow of personality traits. He was the brave, god-fearing (and preaching), navigational genius that traditional history remembers and teaches us as children. And at the same time he was confused, lost, indecisive and downright delusional. He single-handedly expanded an empire, while at the same time ignited a slave trade across both sides of the Atlantic.
Christopher Columbus is a complicated individual.Read more ›
Where the book suffers as serious history is in keeping details straight. As another reviewer wrote, it often seems that the writer kept jumbling up his index cards. One glaring instance: On page 266 it describes how in August of 1499, one Adrian de Mujica was sentenced by Columbus to die for his part in a revolt, and the man was apparently soon dispatched. But on page 273, in June 1500, Adrian de Mujica is conspiring once again (from the grave?) and he is sentenced again to hang. Were there two men of the same name, and the author failed to explain it? Did the first execution actually not happen? If so, the text is completely obscure. Or did the author confuse two different men?
Prior to the start of the fourth voyage, Columbus seems washed up, enfeebled, without connections, living in a monastery. This is enlightening material, enriching our understanding of the man's life. But then one page later he is heading out to sea with four ships, going back to the New World. What happened? We are never told. Surely this was an expensive and difficult undertaking to mount, and making it happen from such a poor foundation is more than a missing detail.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Laurence Bergreens disdain for Columbus is apparent from the start of this book and continues with hateful rhetoric throughout. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Christopher Columbus - heroic bearer of the light of civilization and Christianity to a world lost in darkness? Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lewis Smith
Very interesting book and well written. I would recommend it to any history buff.Published 5 months ago by Skitch
In the first one hundred pages we meet Columbus, learn of his early years, learn about his world- Genoa and Europe in the 15th century and see his first voyage detailed. Read morePublished 8 months ago by perry man
This is a very interesting and well written book about Columbus. I learned many new events about his life and voyages.Published 9 months ago by Charles L.
I love the way Laurence Bergreen writes and his subject matter.Published 12 months ago by elisa doolittle