Over the edge of the world book
Over the Edge of the World: Magellans Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe by Laurence BergreenWhen youre old like me, you hear stories about these explorers (if ya know what I mean...wink wink), but usually its a truncated version handed down to you from a school teacher back in the 1970s, who wasnt much more well-versed in the subject than yourself...
In 1521, Mr. Magellan was the first man to sail around the world. This was at a time when the world was flat, so it was very tricky!
Okay, my miseducation wasnt as bad as all that. However, it is nice to fill in the gaps of knowledge with seemingly well-researched books like Laurence Bergreens Over the Edge of the World: Magellans Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe.
A good amount of time is spent on Magellans struggle just to get the backing to begin his endeavor. Maybe that might bore some people, especially since its right up front. Getting to the actual voyage takes some time, but once you on the ship, Bergreen does a good job of making you feel like one of the crew members. Great descriptions abound of ship life, the terrible food, and general hardships endured by sailors of the period.
Beyond the hardships, there was also the great unknown. Legends and horrors imagined and intentionally invented spooked the bejesus out of people back in a time when a good part of the world was still unknown by Europeans. Just having the gonads to try this sort of caper is impressive, and this book gets you to understand the monumental importance of it all.
Using various sources, Bergreen is also able to get inside the minds of the men and that is what makes this a truly good read. Its quite rare to have so many accounts with which to draw upon for corroboration and insight for an event that happened 500 years ago. The author puts it to good use in explaining motives or at least expostulating with a fairly high level of certainty on what moved the minds of not only Magellan, but many of the important figures associated with this incredible event.
While not a perfect book, it is perfectly good and recommended for those interested in the subject and willing to slog through the minutia of history in order to glimpse scenes from an incredible and often misguided voyage.
Over the Edge of the World Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe
OVER THE EDGE OF THE WORLD: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe
The astonishing tale of the first sea voyage to circumnavigate the entire globe. Magellan's dramatic maritime expedition in discovered the straits that enabled Europe to trade with the Eastern spice islands and changed the course of history. In an era of intense commercial rivalry between Spain and Portugal, Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese navigator sailed to explore the undiscovered parts of the world and claim them for the Spanish crown in one of the largest and best-equipped expeditions ever mounted in the Age of Discovery. Yet of the fleet of five vessels under his command, only "Victoria" was to return to Spain after three harrowing years, her captain murdered, more than of her sailors dead from scurvy, torture, execution and drowning, and a small, ravaged crew that survived to tell the extraordinarily dramatic story. What emerged was a tale of mutiny, of orgies on distant shores, of claims of cannibalism, of death and disease, of missionary zeal and base cruelty, and of incredible discoveries: that the earth was indeed round; the Americas were not part of India; the Earth was covered mainly by oceans; and this new route would allow Europe access to the fantastic wealth of the Eastern spice islands. Indeed, despite the devastating loss of life and vessels, the "Victoria" sailed back laden with enough cloves and other spices for the expedition to be considered a remarkable financial success. Accomplished despite the fact that European mariners were exploring a world that was unmapped and misunderstood, where superstition held sway and there were real fears that you could literally sail over the edge of the world, that sea monsters lurked in the briny depths, or that if you passed the equator, the ocean would boil and scald you to death, this was a truly spectacular achievement.