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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
The second volume of Adm. Samuel Eliot Morisonís brilliant ďThe European Discovery of AmericaĒ covers the southern voyages-those to what is today the Caribbean and South America. One can almost taste the salt air and have an almost visceral experience of what it was like for these early explorers. As in the first, Adm. Morison has either sailed or flown over the routes of Columbus, Cabral, Magellan and Drake, and his unique standing enabled him to have the cooperation of the US Navy and Coast Guard (they gave him a cutter to follow Drakeís route in California), along with the Brazilian, Argentine, Chilean and Royal Navies. It reminds one of an earlier era where gentleman historians (many of them amateurs in the strictest sense), were able to call upon their familial connections or use their positions to get to see things ordinary academics canít see and go places ordinary academics canít go. In the first third of the book Morison returns to his favorite subject, Christopher Columbus, (having written a Pulitzer Prize winning biography of him in the 1940s), adding to and modifying his prior works. Morisonís admiration for Columbus as a pure mariner comes through again and again. As a leader Columbus was a martinet, but as a navigator and seaman, Morison feels that Columbus had few equals. His portrait of Columbus, drawn from relatives and contemporaries is that of an affable but driven and fantastically stubborn man, completely confident in his God-given mission and role in life. This contrasts with more recent biographies of Columbus, who focus more on his actions on Hispaniola. Interspaced in this section are chapters on the daily life of a mariner of this time in the service of Portugal and Spain, and the background of the maritime power of those two countries. He is careful not to repeat himself as aspects common to all were covered in the first volume which he intended to be read with this one as a single whole. Morison covers less famous voyages by Vespucci etc, and even gives brief accounts of land journeys by some of the more exploration-oriented Conquistadores, like DeSoto, Ponce DeLeon, Balboa and Cabaza de Vaca. The accounts are pithy but thorough. The remaining two-thirds of the book are on Magellan and Drake. Morison follows their routes, where yet again his love for the sea is first and foremost, but he gives quite a bit of space over to surveys of the historiography of controversial subjects like Drakeís Plate of Brass. Another remarkable work of history. And again, my only regret is that Adm. Morison did not live to complete his hoped for third volume on the Northern voyages of Henry Hudson, John Smith and others.
Review: The European Discovery of America, Vol 1: The Northern Voyages, 500-1600 (The European Discovery of America #1)User Review - Goodreads
If you were told the history of the discovery of America as a child and have not paid much attention since I have to recommend reading this book. Most of the book is devoted to the 16th century and ...
Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus
Samuel Eliot Morison
No preview available - 2007
His Enterprise of the Indies
in Columbuss First Voyage of Discovery
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