Yet another take on Columbus and his ilk, this one placing him in a Christian context of intolerance and genocidal tendencies; by Univ. of Hawaii historian Stannard (The Puritan Way of Death, 1977; Shrinking History, 1980, etc.). Starting with the fact that the Admiral of the Ocean Sea abducted natives on his first voyage and participated in the wholesale slaughter of innocent Indians by his crew, and, on his second voyage, sailed back to Spain with hundreds of slaves, Stannard notes that the massive job of depopulating the Americas was accomplished largely by the pestilence brought by the Europeans--everything from swine influenza and the bubonic plague to smallpox. In North and South America, natives were killed off so rapidly that, between disease and the lethal practices of Spanish and other conquerors, tribal groups bad been decimated by an average of 95% in the first century of contact--about one hundred million dead, according to current estimates. Genocide on this scale has no parallel, but Stannard carefully links the New World bloodbath with Christian assaults against other groups of nonbelievers and perceived subhumans through the centuries, from Jews and Muslims to the tribes of Africa, showing a consistent pattern of extermination based on racial preference, sexual asceticism, and the tenets of faith--a pattern from which the Nazi's Final Solution was, he says, a logical outgrowth. Vivid and relentless, combining a formidable array of primary sources with meticulous analysis--a devastating reassessment of the Conquest as nothing less than a holy war, one that continues today from Guatemala to the sands of Arabia.