LAND TO THE WEST by Geoffrey Ashe


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This is not only an exploration of the Navigatio Sancta Brendani, a 10th century work, but also an investigation of the implications that Irishmen knew of America before the voyages of Norseman. It is more too for it covers the author's own travels in search of physical as well as literary evidences of his project, and he ranges from Irish localities related to his research, across the Atlantic to North Salem, New Hampshire, where stone edifices provide new ingredients, to Mexico and Peru in an effort to tie in primitive bearded art objects. He anatomizes the exploits in Navigatio, shows what may be argued from them in light of geographical lore, of time and space; he examines classical references embodying the Atlantic quest; he makes a challenge of the pre-Spanish white visitors to Mexico; he does conclude that ""there were Irishmen in the tenth century who knew that America was there....who collected intelligible rumors of the New World."" A tremendous scholarship backgrounds -- but never submerges -- his material and his inferences (not certainties) and arguments will be of interest to historians and geographers everywhere.

Pub Date: April 13th, 1962
Publisher: Viking