I, COLUMBUS: My Journal--1492-3 by Christopher Columbus

I, COLUMBUS: My Journal--1492-3

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These brief selections present a positive view of Columbus resourcefully cajoling his worried crew on a relatively easy outward voyage, admiring the friendly natives in their ""earthly paradise,"" humanely taking aboard the remainder of a kidnapped family so that they may be contentedly reunited, and returning home triumphant after rounding up the overindependent Martin Pinzon, captain of the Pinta The translation is lucid, the text authentic as far as it goes--but the effect is nonetheless misleading: according to Meltzer's biography (p. 344/C-62), Columbus actually pointed out that the natives' good nature made them potentially easy to exploit; and Meltzer also says that all of his captives died on the return voyage--a fact never noted here. The Roops provide a brief introduction lauding Columbus as ""the finest sailor of his time"" (a debatable contention); what's missing is any comment on the length of the original log and their mode of selection from it. Other amplifying notes would also have been helpful in presenting a more balanced picture. Still, these fragments give an intriguing glimpse of a real, imperfect man recording daily progress in his log and routinely understating it to the crew. Impressionistic pen-and-watercolor illustrations contribute to the attractive format.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1990
Page count: 59pp
Publisher: Walker