Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504

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Overview

He knew nothing of celestial navigation or of the existence of the Pacific Ocean. He was a self-promoting and ambitious entrepreneur. His maps were a hybrid of fantasy and delusion. When he did make land, he enslaved the populace he found, encouraged genocide, and polluted relations between peoples. He ended his career in near lunacy. But Columbus had one asset that made all the difference, an inborn sense of the sea, of wind and weather, and of selecting the optimal course to get from A to B. Laurence Bergreen's...

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Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504

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Overview

He knew nothing of celestial navigation or of the existence of the Pacific Ocean. He was a self-promoting and ambitious entrepreneur. His maps were a hybrid of fantasy and delusion. When he did make land, he enslaved the populace he found, encouraged genocide, and polluted relations between peoples. He ended his career in near lunacy. But Columbus had one asset that made all the difference, an inborn sense of the sea, of wind and weather, and of selecting the optimal course to get from A to B. Laurence Bergreen's energetic and bracing book gives the whole Columbus and most importantly, the whole of his career, not just the highlight of 1492. Columbus undertook three more voyages between 1494 and 1504, each designed to demonstrate that he could sail to China within a matter of weeks and convert those he found there to Christianity. By their conclusion, Columbus was broken in body and spirit, a hero undone by the tragic flaw of pride. If the first voyage illustrates the rewards of exploration, this book shows how the subsequent voyages illustrate the costs - political, moral, and economic.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Laurence Bergreen's Columbus was brillliant, audacious, volatile, paranoid and ruthless. What emerges in this biography,  a worthy addition to  the literature on Columbus is a surprising and revealing portrait of a man who might have been the title charcater in a Shakespearan tradegy."
— 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."
Salon

"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

The New York Times
"Laurence Bergreen's Columbus was brillliant, audacious, volatile, paranoid and ruthless. What emerges in this biography,  a worthy addition to  the literature on Columbus is a surprising and revealing portrait of a man who might have been the title charcater in a Shakespearan tradegy."
USA Today
"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."
Salon
"A compelling new book [that] details the explorer's trips to the New World, including three you haven't heard about."
Winnipeg Free Press
"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."
The Washington Times
"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."
Booklist
"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."
USA Today

"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."

The New York Times

"Laurence Bergreen's Columbus was brillliant, audacious, volatile, paranoid and ruthless. What emerges in this biography,  a worthy addition to  the literature on Columbus is a surprising and revealing portrait of a man who might have been the title charcater in a Shakespearan tradegy."

Booklist

"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."

Salon

"A compelling new book [that] details the explorer's trips to the New World, including three you haven't heard about."

The Washington Times

"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."

Winnipeg Free Press

"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."

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143122104
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/25/2012
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 616,470
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurence Bergreen is the author of several award-winning biographies, including those of Louis Armstrong, Al Capone, Irving Berlin, and James Agee. He has written for many national publications including Esquire and Newsweek, taught at the New School for Social Research, and served as Assistant to the President of the Museum of Television and Radio in New York. Bergreen has also served as a nonfiction judge for the National Book Awards and as a judge for the PEN/Albrand Nonfiction Award. Bergreen lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Dramatis Personae xiii

List of Maps xv

Prologue: October 1492 1

Part 1 Discovery

1 Thirty-three Days 13

2 Son of Genoa 46

3 Shipwreck 76

4 "The People from the Sky" 95

Part 2 Conquest

5 River of Blood 119

6 Rebellion 160

7 Among the Taínos 188

Interlude

The Columbian Exchange 221

Part 3 Decadence

8 "A Great Roaring" 227

9 Roldán's Revolt 250

10 "Send Me Back in Chains" 274

Part 4 Recovery

11 El Alto Viaje 293

12 Castaways in Paradise 321

13 February 29, 1504 339

Epilogue: Columbus Day 365

Acknowledgments 369

Notes on Sources 373

Selected Bibliography 387

Index 399

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Customer Reviews

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