Columbus by Laurence Bergreen
The Four Voyages

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Synopsis

From the author of the Magellan biography, Over the Edge of the World, a mesmerizing new account of the great explorer.

Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a trading route to China, and his unexpected landfall in the Americas, is a watershed event in world history. Yet Columbus made three more voyages within the span of only a decade, each designed to demonstrate that he could sail to China within a matter of weeks and convert those he found there to Christianity. These later voyages were even more adventurous, violent, and ambiguous, but they revealed Columbus's uncanny sense of the sea, his mingled brilliance and delusion, and his superb navigational skills. In all these exploits he almost never lost a sailor. By their conclusion, however, Columbus was broken in body and spirit. If the first voyage illustrates the rewards of exploration, the latter voyages illustrate the tragic costs- political, moral, and economic.

In rich detail Laurence Bergreen re-creates each of these adventures as well as the historical background of Columbus's celebrated, controversial career. Written from the participants' vivid perspectives, this breathtakingly dramatic account will be embraced by readers of Bergreen's previous biographies of Marco Polo and Magellan and by fans of Nathaniel Philbrick, Simon Winchester, and Tony Horwitz.

 

About Laurence Bergreen

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Laurence Bergreen is a prize-winning biographer and historian. His books have been translated into fifteen languages worldwide. His last book, Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe, was a New York Times "Notable Book" for 2003 and a bestseller. He has written for many national publications including Esquire, Newsweek, and The Chicago Tribune. Mr. Bergreen graduated from Harvard in 1972. He is a member of PEN American Center, and is a trustee of the New York Society Library. He lives in New York.
 
Published September 20, 2011 by Penguin Books. 448 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Political & Social Sciences, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Columbus

Kirkus Reviews

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The story of Columbus’ exploits includes storms and shipwrecks, military clashes, political skullduggery, mutiny, cannibalism and promiscuous sex, but Bergreen fails to assemble the dramatic facts at his disposal into a compelling narrative.

Sep 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Columbus: The Four Voyages

The New York Times

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Columbus was roundly condemned by his own contemporaries, most damningly by Bartolomé de Las Casas, a priest who arrived in the Antilles in 1502 and later wrote a hard-hitting jeremiad entitled “A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies.” Las Casas denounced the false promises and unbridle...

Sep 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Columbus: The Four Voyages

Publishers Weekly

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Focusing on the lesser-known events of Columbus’s three later voyages and his disastrous, near-genocidal rule in Hispaniola, Bergreen’s captivating narrative reveals a man obsessed to the point of delusion with acquiring gold and sending it back to Spain, perpetually unsure whether he should ...

Aug 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Columbus: The Four Voyages

The Wall Street Journal

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Seeking to revolutionize views of the Age of Exploration, four books instead reveal more about the state of popular history.

Sep 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Columbus: The Four Voyages

Examiner

Students of American history learn about Christopher Columbus and his discovery of America in 1492.

Oct 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Columbus: The Four Voyages

The Washington Times

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Columbus’ voyages were just the beginning, setting in motion consequences - political, cultural and scientific - that persist to this day.” Columbus was “obsessed with his God-given task of finding Asia [and] undertook four voyages within the span of a decade, each very different, each designed t...

Nov 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Columbus: The Four Voyages

Christian Science Monitor

And then the racist imperialist brought death and devastation to the New World he didn't even discover in the first place."

Oct 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Columbus: The Four Voyages

USA Today

If Leif Erickson landed in North America 500 years earlier, why does Columbus get the credit?The answers lie in Laurence Bergreen's ambitious new biography, Columbus: The Four Voyages, a spellbinding epic that's simultaneously a profoundly private portrait of the most complex, compelling, controv...

Sep 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Columbus: The Four Voyages

Review (Barnes & Noble)

When Laurence Bergreen decided to write a book on Christopher Columbus's four voyages, the comment he most often heard from his friends was, "You mean he made four voyages?

Sep 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Columbus: The Four Voyages

Deseret News

Columbus: The Four Voyages tells the firsthand account of Columbus's voyages in the Caribbean Sea.

Oct 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Columbus: The Four Voyages

Bookmarks Magazine

A similar map is believed to have influenced Columbus’s ideas about his first voyage.

http://g...

Sep 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Columbus: The Four Voyages

Reader Rating for Columbus
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