- Paperback: 458 pages
- Publisher: Perennial / HarperCollins; Reprint edition (November 2, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006093638X
- ISBN-13: 978-0060936389
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 592 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe Paperback – Deckle Edge, November 2, 2004
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“A marvelous piece of scholarship” (New Zealand Herald)
From the Back Cover
Ferdinand Magellan's daring circumnavigation of the globe in the sixteenth century was a three-year odyssey filled with sex, violence, and amazing adventure. Now in Over the Edge of the World, prize-winning biographer and journalist Laurence Bergreen entwines a variety of candid, firsthand accounts, bringing to life this groundbreaking and majestic tale of discovery that changed both the way explorers would henceforth navigate the oceans and history itself.
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This book deals almost exclusively with the voyage, which after considerable haggling to get financing, began with five very small (by today's standards) leaky, under-equipped, clumsy, floating torture chambers, into which 250 men and some provisions were packed; and ended with two of the ships seprately limping back to Spain with only 18 of the crew still alive,Magellan having been killed in the Philippines, probably because he at some point during the voyage fell captive to the illusion of immortaltiy, and involved his beleaguered crew in an impossible battle with a native army.
As one of the earlier reviewers observed, this book would have been improved by providing more information about the times.
There is, after all, only so much that can be said about trying to cross the Pacific Ocean without any maps and limited supplies of food, water, and, most important of all, no understanding of the need for Vitamin C.
At the same time, the Manchester book spends an enormous number of pages describing in great detail hat horrible conditions of Europe and the Papacy during this time. Despite several history courses that should have left me at least vaguely aware of how bad things were then, I was astonished at the picture he painted. At such length that by the time he got to Magellan's voyage, it seemed almost an afterthought.
Of the books, overall I enjoyed "Edge of the World" more, but I learned more of value from Manchester's book.
Many of the men brought back to life in Bergreens book are worthy of books just on their own stories.
The desperation and solitude, cut off for months at a time without seeing another single human being is enough to make the most dedicated introverts among us cringe. The men on Magellan's armada had no idea what they would come across. Boiling water at the equator? Magnetic islands that could pull nails from the ships if they got too close?
If you have a curiosity of how soft the comforts of our modern society has made us, look no further than this book. What these men endured and sacrificed for, the things that you can easily find on the grocery store shelves is mind boggling.