Book review: 'Columbus: The Four Voyages' tells the story of Columbus's voyages to the Americas

By Steve Larson

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Oct. 10 2011 10:36 a.m. MDT

"COLUMBUS: The Four Voyages," by Laurence Bergreen, Viking, $35, 368 pages (nf)

Taken from eyewitness reports in Columbus's own log books, "Columbus: The Four Voyages" is a richly detailed book takes the story of the explorer well beyond anything previously written about the discovery of the new world.

Author Laurence Bergreen has filled this book with intimate details of the voyages of Columbus and his crew. Columbus, it turns out, did not make just one voyage to the new world, but as the book describes, made four voyages. Each voyage was filled with discovery, but also led to more violence and trouble as Columbus struggled with his mission to explore a new trade route to Asia, while converting the natives to Christianity.

Along the way Columbus encountered natives who welcomed him as a God sent from the sky. He was struck by the generosity of the native people and believed they would be easily converted to Christianity. This was not always the case as encounters with the natives became increasingly violent and Columbus soon found himself at war with the various native tribes.

Filled with colorful insight into Columbus's desire to leave his mark on history, this book gives the reader a look into the life of a man many may not know very well. Columbus is portrayed as a brilliant and delusional explorer with incredible navigational skills.

Columbus's attempt to find a new trade route led not to the discovery of a faster route, but instead led to the discovery of the new world. Columbus may not be remembered for what he had originally planned, but thanks to this book and the story of his voyages he is likely to be remembered for much more.

Steve Larson is one of the founders of Information Alliance, a Utah based data collection company, where he is the vice president of sales. He spends his free time writing, practicing photography and spending time outdoors.

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