MAGELLAN AND THE FIRST VOYAGE AROUND THE WORLD by Nancy Smiler Levinson

MAGELLAN AND THE FIRST VOYAGE AROUND THE WORLD

Age Range: 10 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Whether Magellan set out with the express purpose of sailing around the world, or just to open a lucrative new route to the Spice Islands, will always remain a mystery. Whatever his intention, he did name the Pacific Ocean, give his name to the Straits of Magellan and the Magellanic Clouds, and demonstrate not only superb seamanship but the ability to outmaneuver a notably hostile, repeatedly mutinous, crew. Levinson traces his career from its unprepossessing beginning in a shipping office, through military victories at sea and vicious political intrigues on land, long months of misery traversing uncharted waters (“The only food they had left was smoked penguin meat, but it had long since rotted”), and, on the brink of brilliant success, the severe lapse of judgment that led to its sudden, bloody end. Ironically, it was the rebellious (and now forgotten) Captain Juan Sebastián del Cano who completed the expedition—but the first person to circumnavigate the globe was actually Magellan’s slave Enrique, born in the Philippines. Though most of the illustrations are too-small old maps and undated prints, sample pages from some of the many contemporary documents that survive add interest, and the author’s notes on her printed and Internet sources open pathways to further inquiry. Younger readers will gravitate toward Jim Gallagher’s shorter and more colorfully illustrated biography of the same title (1999), but this thoughtful study makes it clear just how Magellan earned his place as a central figure in the European Age of Exploration. (chronology, bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2001
ISBN: 0-395-98773-3
Page count: 132pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2001




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