- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 17 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Abridged
- Publisher: HarperAudio
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 29 Jan. 2004
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002SQF98C
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe Audio Download – Abridged
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Top Customer Reviews
The book contains a useful cast of the principal characters; excellent notes on sources, a scholarly bibliography and a useful index. Each chapter is headed by remarkably apposite quotations from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner".
The book needs to be read, not as a biography of Magellan, but as an account of the first circumnavigation of the globe. Given the number of survivors it is not surprising that witnesses' first hand accounts are few and far between. Antonio Pigafetta, from Vicenza, a loyal supporter of Magellan who had been taken on as a supernumerary, left a very detailed journal and this is the principal direct source. Francisco Albo, a pilot, left a log book and Gines de Mafra, a navigator, who was captured by the Portuguese and incarcerated in Lisbon for five further years, left some memoirs written long after the event. No wonder then that it is Pigafetta who leaps from the page and comes across as a very interesting personality.Read more ›
There is no attempt to portray the achievement as heroic, astounding though it was. This is an account of hardship, disease, torture, murder, betrayal, but it is also a vivid tale of discovery and observation of previously unknown places, people and things. Framing it all, and giving the narrative a shape that might translate to a novel, is the rivalry between Spain and Portugal for commercial domination of the oceans.
Even as the end is almost within reach, there is no certainty of success for the single remaining ship of the five that set out. Berggreen writes, "... the weather continued to batter the boat by night too, so there was no rest for the crew, nor safe harbour, nor cooking fire, nor soft dry blanket, nor guarantee that their misery would end any time soon ... And so they tried again and again, fleeing for their lives, hoping to cheat death just one more time."
This is history as thriller. Simply magnificent.
Magellan had great difficulty in raising the money to fund the trip and he seems to have cleverly benefited from the rivalry between Spain and Portugal at the time. Indeed, this rivalry is a feature of the book throughout and contributed to mutinies and disputes between Magellan (who was Portuguese) and his (mainly Spanish) crew.
Magellan was an inspiring character and Bergreen paints him in a very flattering light. While stubborn, Magellan got his crew as far as the Philippines against monstrous odds. Bergreen describes the cruelty, disgusting conditions, suffering, and fears of the crew in great style and makes the reader feel part of an epic journey.
For me the real star of the book is Antonio Pigafetta who was one of the few who made it around the world back to Spain. His eye witness account, while very flattering to Magellan (he was a Magellan loyalist) provides the backbone of the story.
Some parts of the story are lightly dealt with - the Indian Ocean crossing and the last leg of the journey from the Cape of Good Hope to Spain are low in detail compared to the rest of the book.
The is a very useful reference section at the end which is also worth going through, if only to see the level of in depth research carried out by Bergreen. The index is also quite detailed. It is a great resource for others who may want to study Magellan some more.
This book is highly recommended. It is easy to read and very informative.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A really gripping story. Why hasn't Hollywood made epics about Magellan? Lots of bravery , treachery, double-dealing politics, gore, sex - and that does not even include the... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Kevin Botting
Not yet finished the book, but so far it's a fascinating voyage of discovering history that gives reason to what we have today. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Campbell Ferguson
An amazingly vivid tale of life at sea and the exploration of new worlds. The author really brings history to life in this well written and researched story of Ferdinand... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jules
Received book quickly and in good condition, enjoyed the read, brave men.Published 21 months ago by chili
This isn't the book to buy if you want just one on Magellan. Yes, Bergreen writes fluidly - and he has, no doubt, done his research. Read morePublished on 3 Jun. 2014 by nibs2lou
Excellent read and great follow on to Vasco da Gama. Shows the nature of the world at that time and reverence for spices.Published on 29 April 2014 by Amazon Customer WJM
For those interested in the Age of Discovery and all the romance that accompanies such an historic and heroic journey. Read morePublished on 24 Mar. 2014 by sc
An interesting look into a truly mad man (Magellan) who bullied his crew to perform miracles and died because he thought he was invinciblePublished on 24 Feb. 2014 by Lasse Enersen