- Paperback: 736 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press (August 19, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195082710
- ISBN-13: 978-0195082715
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,312,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The European Discovery of America; Vol 1: The Northern Voyages A.D. 500-1600 (The European Discovery of America: The Northern Voyages )
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"Now [Morison] has united the latest findings of modern scholarship, American and European, to his own zestful explorations by land, sea and air, to produce a comprehensive and, for our day and age, definitive account of the process by which Europe substituted fact for fable and knowledge for ignorance about the New World across the Western Ocean....[A] unique combination of scholarship and fieldwork....Into these volumes is distilled a lifetime of experience--of sailing, of learning and of the sadly neglected art of historical narration. They are a joy and a treasure house."--Economist
"The first comprehensive effort, in nearly a century, to bring the whole subject under a 20th-centry camera....Morison has been able to bring his reader something none of his predecessors has....This reviewer recalls no other recent historical narrative where there is a more helpful blending of illustration and text."--Christian Science Monitor
"In this mellow book Morison blends pungent insight as a historian and extraordinary knowledge as a navigator, familiarity with the ancient sagas and graphic understanding of the dangers which the mariners encountered. He threads his way through the myths and national rivalries with a strong hand and salty wit....His scholarship is never forbidding, for throughout the narrative he is speaking as a twentieth-century admiral of the ocean sea, urbane, good humored, experienced, and acute in his reading of human nature. The notes are spicy and persuasive, the maps and illustrations profuse."--The Atlantic
About the Author
About the Author The late Samuel Eliot Morison, twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, was the author of numerous books including The Oxford History of the American People, The Growth of the American Republic, and Admiral of the Ocean, a biography of Columbus.
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Top customer reviews
A few years more would have been ver y welcome but I learnt a lot and enjoyed the experience.
Excelent and lengthy introduction to the subject
The author is an admiral, and apparently a real sailor. I did not buy the book to learn sailing. The author does have a good style, and he flows well. But it is a little less history when he adds gracious comments with no support in the record.
I will not buy the 2nd vol. on the south and recommend that you do not buy this one.
P.S. The author did win a Pulitzer Prize, and I have not come close to that. I think part of the problem might be the generational difference.
Morison begins his account with the mythical St. Brendan, proceeds onward to the Vikings, examines the claims of other pre-Columbian "disoverers" of America, and then gets to Cabot, Cartier, and the 16th century explorers. He ends the book with a description of the attempt to found the first British colony in the United States at Roanoke Island, NC. Following each chapters he describes his sources and the work of other historians and discusses some of the more outrageous theories about pre-Columbian discoveries.
The book is enhanced by Morison's own experience as a sailor. He is able to refute some of the fantasies of other historians with his on-the-ground and sea experiences. One of the most interesting chapter in the book describes English ships and the life at sea of sailors in the 16th century. Good illustrations and maps enhance the text.
Morison doesn't have much interest and empathy for the Indians the early explorers encountered, nor the forces in Europe that caused the European explorers to trust their fortunes to hazardous journeys. He's a man who celebrates the romance of the sea -- and casts a baleful eye on those sailors and historians who fail to live up to his high standards of seamanship and scholarly endeavor. That this is the best book ever written on the discovery and early exploration of North America is almost without dispute. It's a shame that it has been allowed to go out of print.
Each chapter is followed by discussion of source materials (rare these days). Those who are interested to find out more, will have ready shopping list of additional books, as well as their evaluation by Morison.