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The Last Voyage of Columbus: Being the Epic Tale of the Great Captain's Fourth Expedition, Including Accounts of Mutiny, Shipwreck, and Discovery Paperback – 8 May 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (8 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316154563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316154567
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 769,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Martin Dugard is the "New York Times "bestselling author of several books of history. He and his wife live in Southern California with their three sons.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I knew, as any Spanish schoolchild does, that Columbus had travelled four times to the Indies. Seeing a book dedicated to one of the specific voyages, I thought that there must be something special about it, something that made it worthwhile for a contemporary writer to write a book about. And after reading it I must say that I understand why this particular voyage definitely deserves a book. The adventures that the crew underwent surpass anything that Hollywood might have conceived. In fact, such a movie, if it were not based on historical facts, would be dismissed by the public as much too naive, like a Treasure Island film. And yet, it's not fiction we're talking about. When I say "adventures" it might sound somewhat romantic, but that's not the sense I refer to. Adventure, in this case, means enduring undescribable suffering, undergoing a Hurricane, unceasing gales, fights with Central American Indians, being grounded, the 16th century equivalent of paddling accross the Atlantic, and what not. I heartingly recommend this book. Why, then, do I not give it five stars? I guess it is because it takes some time for the author to deal with the main theme. But then, the reader has to be put on the historical setting in order to understand the whys of the fourth voyage of Columbus. I do not mean to say that the first part is dull. Other expeditions to the Indies are recounted, and so we get an overall view of who was doing what, among the Spanish navigators and pioneer settlers in the New World, and why. This is important in order to understand Colon's motives. The book is quite even handed, in my view, and the Admiral of the Ocean Sea is portrayed as the superb navigator and leader at sea which he undoubtfully was, but a rather mediocre administrator.
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Format: Paperback
A fantastic book of discovery and adventure
The intricacies of and internal battles that are never taught at school are all documented here
I never knew Columbus used the old eclipse trick to threaten natives with impending doom How lucky is that to have one when you need it most.
The books pre-amble lasts about 100 pages before the nitty gritty begins but as most people know who he was , it could have been shorter great book though

The title speaks for itself for the synopsis
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa3c87f60) out of 5 stars 101 reviews
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3525bb8) out of 5 stars It really is an epic tale.. 2 Jun. 2005
By J. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Martin Dugard knows how to write well. This is a gift not all historians have. The notes section is helpfull to readers who are interested in further study. Dugard has traveled to the obscure regions he descibes. I only gave it four stars because I would have loved to see pictures of the sites he descibes (although I am aware that would have raised the cost). I knew some facts about Columbus. His religious zeal. His son's first hand account. I have seen Ridley Scott's "1492" (which I enjoyed). However I did not know anything about this "Fourth Expedition". I have read Manchester's account of Magellan, which I found very interesting (and I intend to read Bergreen's Bio of Magellan next) however this tale is simply amazing. The title says it all. Amazing tales of storm and divine retribution (I won't give it away). Such was the strain of the mission that heroes became conspirators (these were no "Conquistadors"..for that, see Gov. Ovando). I will always remember the name of Diego Mendez (somebody I had never heard of until now). The fate of the convoy of Bobadilla is a tale you have to read to believe. I am going to hunt down Dugard's book "Into Africa" and his work on Captain Cook. I cannot recommend this book more highly.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa352bf90) out of 5 stars Fantastic page turner 13 Jan. 2006
By J. Minatel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Wow. I learned so much from this book and enjoyed every page of it. If I were in the movie business, I'm be optioning the rights on this puppy for a movie with Harrison Ford as Columbus in a heartbeat.

Yes, so we all know the general outline of the 1492 story. And we know some vague details that Columbus never found the western route to the orient. But Dugard brings this to life and puts in fascinating details about life at sea, the struggles Columbus and the crew faced, and just what really did happen to bring an end to Columbus' great career.

Dugard's writing style is fantastic as is his approach. He doesn't try to mis-apply 20th (or 21st) century morality onto Columbus' actions, he's good at interpreting Columbus behavior in the right temporal light. He doesn't seek to justify or crucify Columbus, just to tell a great adventure story. The best fiction writers would have a hard time beating the twists of fate, politics, action, and tension of this real life drama.

I also found this book especially interesting having recently read James Reston's excellent "Dogs of God." Dogs of God sets the stage very nicely to better understand Spain's politcal and religious climate at the time as well as the events leading up to Columbus' first voyage.

Having read this, I'm anxious to read some of Dugard's other writing, possibly his "Surviving the Toughest Race on Earth" next.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa352b558) out of 5 stars Very good but a few problems for historians 10 Sept. 2006
By Daniel Calandro - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Martin Dugard's riveting account of Christopher Columbus's last voyage in the New World is not without its flaws. Though the book is very compelling and a great read it suffers a bit from a jumping narrative in the first section to a lack of citations regarding sources throughout.

The second part of the work, from the beginning of Columbus's fourth voyage to the end of the book, is great. It is a highly engrossing read with short chapters that practically drag the reader from chapter to chapter just to see what happens next. However, the first section of the book is not like this at all. Though the chapters are of similar length the opening meanders through the events that led up to Columbus's fourth voyage. I found myself somewhat confused by the large cast of characters both important and not. Though Dugard does provide some interesting overviews of Columbus's nature and his relationship with Queen Isabella of Spain.

The worst shortcoming of the book though is its lack of citations. Often I found myself asking "Where did he dig that up?" Unfortunately, Dugard only provides a selected bibliography, while extensive; it does not point the reader to a direct source for some of his more interesting comments and sentences. While historians I'm sure would rip Dugard a new one for this lapse I can forgive as the general subject matter and crisp narrative make for a very good read.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa352e180) out of 5 stars The Myth and the Man 4 Dec. 2006
By Grey Wolffe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is divided into two parts, the first deals with Columbus, his time spent getting some one (anyone) to back him finacially on a hairbrain scheme to get to China/India by sailing West, and his first three voyages and their results. The second deals with the Fourth Voyage (which he calls his "High Voyage) it's triumph(s), tragedies and their aftermath.

But what makes this book worth reading is what it really deals with, and that when a man's dreams come true they are not always what he expected nor what he wanted in the first place (or thought he did). Columbus wanted to sail west, discover a way to the Orient, make himself a fortune, be showered with lands medals and titles and leave a great legacy for his children and posterity.

Because of his political naivete, what he got was short term acclaim, then humiliation and banishment, the smugness and pettiness of syncophants and courtiers, privation and deprivation, and lastly he almost lost credit for discovering the "New World" to a man (Amerigo Vespucci) who might never have actually commanded a ship of discovery. Keep in mind that the two continents are called America not Columbia (or Colonia, or Colomboia).

Dugard does a marvellous job of bringing out the personalities of all the people involved, from Ferdinand (miser and ingrate) and Isabella (friend and admirer), to his schizophrenic crews (who could never make up their minds on whose side they were on), the indigenous people (some who fought him and others that saved him from starvation); to the man himself who thought that he was protected by God, and never lost his belief in the miraculous help of prayer.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa352e330) out of 5 stars What they DON'T teach you in history class... 22 May 2006
By R S Cobblestone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Last Voyage of Columbus is an eye-opener. Remember what you learned in school? "Columbus sailed the ocean blue.... the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria... 1492... it wasn't India..." etcetera. These are the things we learned in school. What we DIDN"T learn were the trials and tribulations Columbus, his brother, and his sons went through. And I DO mean "tribulations," as in "1. Great affliction, trial, or distress; suffering. 2. An experience that tests one's endurance, patience, or faith" (thank you thefreedictionary).

Multiple, life-threatening mutinies. Imprisonment, with chains. Loss of all titles and properties. Shipwrecked for a year. And yet Columbus bounced back after each calamity.

Martin Dugard briefly reviews the life of Columbus, the Spanish politics of the time, and his first three voyages, along with voyages to the New World of his competitors. The fourth voyage begins with Columbus determined to find the missing passage to India. Of course, he doesn't find it, and he loses all four ships, and a quarter of his crew. This is the latter half of this book.

Dugard writes well, and I felt engaged throughout. Columbus WAS larger, and more influential, that I had expected. I realize he wasn't a saint (as if there were ANY during that period of human history), but he certainly wasn't the worst of the New World explorers.

This is a great book for seventh graders and above.
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