A comprehensive Eurocentric study of the early exploration (and exploitation) of the New World, from the reports of Biarni Heriulfson (a predecessor of Led Ericsson) through Columbus and the conquistadors to Bering's landing in Alaska and Cook's in Hawaii. Faber discusses how misleading the word ""discovery"" is, then proceeds to use it freely (""Ponce landed on the Yucatan Peninsula...thus discovering Mexico""), meanwhile giving the Native American cultures short shrift--a nod to prehistory, one eight-page chapter, and occasional passages elsewhere. He does make the debatable but intriguing suggestion that Magellan's achievement should eclipse Columbus's, and reveals some poetic justice in various explorers' ends: Balboa, whose ""displays of ferocity were calculated to win peace,"" was executed; La Salle and Pizarro were murdered by rivals, etc. The resurgent interest in the Age of Exploration has produced other lively, more balanced (if less encyclopedic) treatments at this level: e.g., Marrin's Aztecs and Spaniards (1986) and Inca and Spaniard (1989) and Meltzer's Columbus and the World Around Him (1990). Chronology, substantial bibliography; b&w maps and index not seen.