With imagination, thematic breadth, and his trademark wit, Fernandez-Armesto covers a range of cultural, political, and social subjects, taking us from the dawn of human migration to North America, to the colonial and independence periods, and to the "American century" and beyond. Fernandez-Armesto does nothing less than revise the conventional wisdom about cross-cultural exchange, conflict, and interaction, making and supporting some brilliantly provocative conclusions about the Americas' past and where we are headed.
©2007 Felipe Fernandez-Armesto; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"Dazzling....An elegant tale." (Publishers Weekly)
"Fernandez-Armesto can personalize broad historical trends without sinking into triviality....History written at its best." (Booklist)
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
I was surprised first of all that there was enough real historical information as there is about Amerigo. Hardly enough to write a real biography but enough to get a real picture of who he was. Definitely enough to convince anyone that his name does not deserve to be plastered over two continents. But what is really interesting about this book is the light it sheds on what the early days of the exploration of the new world was like. The voyages, schemes, cartographers, memoirs (real and imaginery)--it was a fascinating time in European history.
This is the story of Vespucci and his seagoing, pragmatic approach to life. We learn he took advantage of opportunities that came his way and that he also contrived. This book brings home that he was not the man we learned about in school for sure.
Well written and well read, the book was a little dry to me in spots. That could well be a function of the limited evidence available to scholars in general. Alternatively, the book I heard immediately prior was very intersting and may have colored my evaluation of this one. The book is informative and worthwhile none-the-less.
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