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Children's LiteratureIn the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries hearty seamen set sail from Portugal's ports. These adventurers ventured forth in some of the finest ships available anywhere in the world. The Portuguese explorers also had some of the most advanced navigation techniques as well as excellent captains. Among these brave sailors was Vasco da Gama, a man who was to lead several expeditions around the tip of Africa and on to India. In his life, Vasco da Gama was to rise to a position of great wealth and power. His travels to India were grand adventures while also representing a commercial expedition on behalf of the Portuguese King. As Calvert points out in this title in the "Great Explorations" series, Vasco da Gama was a man of extremes. On the one hand da Gama was a stouthearted commander who looked after the interests of his crews. Conversely, Vasco da Gama was a man capable of banal and cruel acts that served no apparent purpose. In this biography Patricia Calvert does an excellent job of chronicling the efforts, accomplishments, and defects of a man who strode across the stage of history wearing seven league boots. 2005, Benchmark Books/Marshall Cavendish, Ages 10 up.
—Greg M. Romaneck