As remarkable as Columbus and the conquistador expeditions but far more wide ranging, the dynamic burst of Portuguese voyaging at the start of the 16th century is one of the tipping points of world history: the moment that the world went global. Within a short time span, a tiny country whose population did not exceed a million created a maritime empire that stretched from Brazil to Nagasaki.
Conquerors tells the almost forgotten story of how Portugal's navigators cracked the code of the Atlantic winds, launched the expedition of Vasco da Gama to India, and beat the Spanish to the spice kingdoms of the East - then set about creating the first long-range maritime empire. In an astonishing blitz of 30 years, a handful of visionary empire builders, with few resources but breathtaking ambition, attempted to seize the Indian Ocean, destroy Islam, and take control of world trade. This is history at its most vivid - an epic tale of navigation, trade and technology, money and religious zealotry, political diplomacy and espionage, sea battles and shipwrecks, endurance, courage, and terrifying brutality. Drawing on extensive firsthand accounts, it brings to life the exploits of an extraordinary band of conquerors - men such as Afonso de Albuquerque, the first European since Alexander the Great to found an Asian empire - who set in motion the forces of globalization.
Portugal was the imperial pathfinder, the template for a wave of successors. Its empire connected the world and created a framework for profound interactions. It left a huge and long-lasting influence on the culture, food, flora, art, history, and languages of the globe. It marked the start of 500 years of domination by the West, which is only reversing now.
©2015 Roger Crowley (P)2015 Recorded Books
Awesome story that is not covered in the average History class in school. Doesn't take sides and presents the good and bad of both conquered and conquerer. Reader was engaging and since he had excellent material to work with the overall rating is very high.
This book was written well and spoken well. I had no previous knowledge of the Portuguese other than the Magellan voyage. Worth the money even if your on the fence about purchasing this.
This is a story only vaguely known of in the West, and largely through the residual traces of Portuguese rule in places like Malacca, Goa and Mombassa.
A complex period of history is summarized clearly but without oversimplification, and like all of Crowley's books reads like a good novel. What is most admirable is his ability to imagine himself in the moment and to avoid the easy judgments of liberal 21st century anti-colonialist outrage. What the Portuguese did was outrageous by any modern yardstick, but Crowley allows the story to tell itself and for the reader to understand the actions of those conquerors, and of their enemies, with reference to the morality of that distant time.
A tremendous achievement; a great read.
Crowley paints an extremely vivid picture of events 500 years in the past. I found myself looking forward to going to work, just so I could jump back into the narrative. Davis is a gripping narrator, knowing when to read like a narrator, and when to inflect like a stage actor. I've had a copy of Crowley's "1453" on my shelf for a few months, and having finished Conquerors, that book just leapt to the front of my reading list.
The author didn't do a great job distinguishing the names and dates. With some background knowledge it's a great read that moves fast and doesn't get bogged down with all of the minutia, yet has enough to help understand the situation.
One might wish the Portuguese explorers had been models of chivalry—or demons of greed, if that's your world view. This book shows them as neither or perhaps both. Yet it still depicts them as great men embarked as a world-changing enterprise. It's a story everyone should know, and, in this telling, one most people will enjoy.
This the the 4th book by Mr. Crowley that I have listened to. 'Empires of the Sea' and 'City of Fortune' are truly two of the most interesting and enjoyable books that I have very listened to and 'Empires of the Sea' was so enjoyable that I READ the book as well. I have also listened to '1453' by Mr. Crowley and, while not as outstanding as 'Empires of the Sea' or 'City of Fortune', it was still far far above average in terms of listening enjoyment.
Based upon the above three works, I am not sure what went wrong with this book. The narrator was not very good (his voice would lilt upwards to signify suspense ... that was awful) and, frankly, I found the book to be boring. Unlike his other works which did an outstanding job of giving you the overall context of the period, this is like a string of individual trifling adventure stories and totally lacks giving the listener them being the part of a much larger part of history.
If you have listened to this book and have found it be boring as I did, please do not let that put you off from listening to 'Empires of the Sea' and 'City of Fortune'. As I said above, those are two of the most enjoyable and interesting books that I have listened to (and I have listened to hundreds of them as they are the source of diversion for my 75 mile a week running habit ... ;-) .
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