Columbus Day is October 10th. Besides offering a three day weekend for federal employees and some pretty good parades though, what is the true meaning of this holiday commemorating the European discovery of the America’s? (Apparently we don’t count the Viking explorers.) Consider reading one of the following for more insight. (Click on a title to buy on Amazon.)
Admiral of the Ocean Sea (1942) By Samuel Eliot Morison. A biography of Christopher Columbus detailing all his famous voyages which (for better or for worse) changed the world. Morison was noted for writing works of maritime history and American history that were popular AND authoritative. For this particular biography he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1943. It includes 50 drawings, maps, charts, and four fold-outs.
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (2005) By Charles Mann. This non-fiction book explores pre-Columbian societies in the Americas. Mann (a science writer) argues that the indigenous peoples of the Americas were more numerous, had arrived earlier, were more culturally sophisticated, and manipulated the natural landscape far more than had been previously believed. The New York Times praised his scientific rigor and described his writing as ‘enthralling.’ He’s since written a sequel of sorts 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created which covers the global impact of Columbus’s first landing in the Americas.
Codex 632: The Secret of Christopher Columbus; A Novel (2009) By Jose Rodrigues dos Santos. An elderly scholar is found dead under mysterious circumstances and historian and cryptographer Thomas Noronha is called to finish his work. He stumbles on a mystery that will send him from Lisbon, to Rio, to NYC, to Jerusalem while uncovering shocking revelations about one of the most famous explorers of all time. Basically dos Santos is Portugal’s version of Dan Brown author Angels and Demons, and The DaVinci Code.
Lies My Teacher Told Me Christopher Columbus: What Your History Books Got Wrong (2014) By James W. Loewen. The best-selling author of Lies My Teacher Told Me and Lies Across America concentrates his ire here on disproving all the myths still taught about Columbus in text books. It’s a 48 page paperback in graphic format quoting primary source material, and the poster is included.
1492: A Novel of Christopher Columbus, the Spanish Inquisition, and a World at the Turning Point (2016) By Newton Frolich. In Frolich’s debut novel, the white haired widowed, sea Captain Columbo is a converted Jew uneasily settled in Spanish society during the years of the Inquisition as he tries to scrape up the funding for his voyage. Publishers Weekly describes it as ‘captivating.’
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