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Description

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The Year is 1500. Christopher Columbus, stripped of his title Admiral of the Ocean Seas, waits in chains in a Caribbean prison built under his orders, looking out at the colony that he founded, nurtured, and ruled for eight years. Less than a decade after discovering the New World, he has fallen into disgrace, accused by the royal court of being a liar, a secret Jew, and a foreigner who sought to steal the riches of the New World for himself.

The tall, freckled explorer with the aquiline nose, whose flaming red hair long ago turned gray, passes his days in prayer and rumination, trying to ignore the waterfront gallows that are all too visible from his cell. And he plots for one great escape, one last voyage to the ends of the earth, one final chance to prove himself. What follows is one of history''s most epic -- and forgotten -- adventures. Columbus himself would later claim that his fourth voyage was his greatest. It was without doubt his most treacherous. Of the four ships he led into the unknown, none returned. Columbus would face the worst storms a European explorer had ever encountered. He would battle to survive amid mutiny, war, and a shipwreck that left him stranded on a desert isle for almost a year.

On his tail were his enemies, sent from Europe to track him down. In front of him: the unknown. Martin Dugard''s thrilling account of this final voyage brings Columbus to life as never before-adventurer, businessman, father, lover, tyrant, and hero.

Review

"A rich, fluent account…both a gripping naval adventure and a revealing history." -- New York Times Book Review

"A swashbuckling history." -- Philadelphia Inquirer

"Astonishing adventure stories are interwoven with personalized accounts of dazzling characters, the first of whom is Columbus himself." -- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

About the Author

Martin Dugard is the New York Times bestselling author of such nonfiction titles as Chasing Lance, The Last Voyage of Columbus, Farther Than Any Man, Knockdown, and Into Africa. He has written for Esquire, Outside, Sports Illustrated, and GQ. Dugard lives in Orange County, California, with his wife and three sons.

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4.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
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RL
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The author just makes stuff up, but is this nonfiction or not?
Reviewed in the United States on November 16, 2019
Even after reading the other reviews and the summary, I still don''t know if this book is supposed to be nonfiction or a historical novel. What I do know is that in the second chapter, discussing the burning of the Library of Alexandria, the author states "a mob of Christian... See more
Even after reading the other reviews and the summary, I still don''t know if this book is supposed to be nonfiction or a historical novel. What I do know is that in the second chapter, discussing the burning of the Library of Alexandria, the author states "a mob of Christian agitators, believing all things secular and intellectual to be evil, burned the library''s contents."
Ugh. Ultimately what actually happened is not known. Many have speculated that Caesar burned the library, some have speculated that the city was incredibly violent all around and in the middle of riots between Christians and pagans, pagans holed up in a temple and Christians burned them out, which led to the burning of the library (but burning the library and its contents wasn''t the point, the point was getting the people inside out).
But again, what really happened is not known. The author''s interpretation - that Christians went and burned the contents of the library because they are anti-science and anti-intellectual - is an incredibly poor and incredibly unlikely interpretation of these events. This event isn''t even important to the book. It''s sad to see him feed into current anti-Christian views and reinforce those views to readers who will now probably just take it as a given that this is what happened.
After that, I have no interest in reading the rest of the book due to the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect - what else is he just going to make up in this book and state it as fact, that I won''t know is made up?
Giving one additional star because his narrative style is interesting. But I didn''t get this book to read a fictional account.
7 people found this helpful
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Max v
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Thrilling Adventure into the Past
Reviewed in the United States on August 6, 2017
I read this book purely for pleasure. Within my interests lies history, yet it is not a subject I have delved deeply into at any point in my life. This truly marked my first major personal attempt into learning more about history. I am glad this book was my first read... See more
I read this book purely for pleasure. Within my interests lies history, yet it is not a subject I have delved deeply into at any point in my life. This truly marked my first major personal attempt into learning more about history.
I am glad this book was my first read into the past. The adventure that Columbus underwent and all the surrounding interactions he had in his world are so eloquently presented by the author. I highlighted countless words which I had never come across before. The vocabulary in this book is exceptional and can further anyone who wishes to improve it.

I recommend this book to all I know. It''s just as exciting to read as any popular video entertainment today. Get yourself 1/4 the way into this book and you will carry yourself to finish the epic journey.
4 people found this helpful
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S
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Martin Dugard did a masterful job of bringing to the reader the awesome story of these early seafaring explorers
Reviewed in the United States on December 17, 2014
It seems the stories of early exploration are at once both tragic and triumphant. Tragic in that they relate man''s inhumanity to man. Triumphant in that they express the the ability of man to face and conquer the most adverse conditions of body and spirit. This book is a... See more
It seems the stories of early exploration are at once both tragic and triumphant. Tragic in that they relate man''s inhumanity to man. Triumphant in that they express the the ability of man to face and conquer the most adverse conditions of body and spirit. This book is a very impressive history of the four voyages of Columbus. Who knew such a story existed? Our school history books only drilled into us the 1492 story of the first voyage. One must read these exploration stories without judgement. For we cannot enter into the the historic psyche of the parties involved. We cannot judge the parties by our current sensibilities. In any case, Martin Dugard did a masterful job of bringing to the reader the awesome story of these early seafaring explorers, the sailing mastery of Columbus along with his human weaknesses, and a broad perspective of the world political scene that motivated the entire story. Excellent!
Note: My Kindle version did not contain maps which would have been amazingly useful and added much to the story. I do not know if the print version has such maps.
7 people found this helpful
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Boots
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Columbus I never knew
Reviewed in the United States on November 22, 2020
This book was a telling tale on what it must have been like to be an explorer in the 1400’s. Politics then as now dictated much of the marching orders so to speak. Native Indians were not usually treated well by other explorers but the Spanish ruling class considered the... See more
This book was a telling tale on what it must have been like to be an explorer in the 1400’s. Politics then as now dictated much of the marching orders so to speak. Native Indians were not usually treated well by other explorers but the Spanish ruling class considered the natives as subservamts. Good read I highly recommend it. I would recommend maps accompany the voyages so the reader can identify with the locations Columbus and others sailed..
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very Enjoyable
Reviewed in the United States on February 18, 2017
What I like about Martin Dugard'' s writing, is that he fills every page with interesting and well-researched information. I always come out with tons of new facts when I read his books. The other great thing is that his books move quickly with no dead spaces you have to... See more
What I like about Martin Dugard'' s writing, is that he fills every page with interesting and well-researched information. I always come out with tons of new facts when I read his books. The other great thing is that his books move quickly with no dead spaces you have to wade through. This book is a prime example.

I loved this book, and I learned amazing things about a complex man and his time in history. This is a book that everyone should read, and should be part of any history curriculum. Don''t hesitate. Add it to your library.
2 people found this helpful
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James Pilcher
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An Engaging History
Reviewed in the United States on October 10, 2015
Christopher Columbus has always interested me. Martin Dugard''s book is written with the flair of a novel, but provides tremendous insight into the flawed genius of Christopher Columbus. I had little idea the magnitude of what he accomplished beyond his first voyage. One of... See more
Christopher Columbus has always interested me. Martin Dugard''s book is written with the flair of a novel, but provides tremendous insight into the flawed genius of Christopher Columbus. I had little idea the magnitude of what he accomplished beyond his first voyage. One of the more interesting revelations of the book is when Mr. Dugard writes that Columbus, in his westward search for the orient, knew of the narrow isthmus of Panama and the great ocean (Pacific) beyond; he just had no means of exploring it.

I highly recommend this book and others written by Martin Dugard. He has become an author I seek out.
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RDS
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Amazing Story...and sadly never told in history class?!!?!
Reviewed in the United States on October 9, 2007
Dugard is a fantastic writer. Although the beginning of the book begins slowly, the tale of the fourth voyage is one of the most thrilling adventures I ever read. The fact that this was a true story and not fiction makes the reader hold onto their armchair as Dugard''s... See more
Dugard is a fantastic writer. Although the beginning of the book begins slowly, the tale of the fourth voyage is one of the most thrilling adventures I ever read. The fact that this was a true story and not fiction makes the reader hold onto their armchair as Dugard''s narrative reads beautifully and steers the reader along, and it does so as masterfully as the great Columbus himself, who tenaciously led his frightened men to the New World. And despite Columbus'' later misfortunes during this fourth voyage, he was an extremely clever man with outstanding resolve that although never found that elusive passage to Asia did manage to return home safely after a nerve-racking series of disasters. That is astounding by any mortal''s standards.

I was glad to see that the History Channel made a movie on Dugard''s book, as it is a crucial piece of history and an amazing story. Despite Columbus'' failed mission he led his crew through, while even being deathly sick, to finally being rescued. That so many men did follow him, regardless of the mutiny, which was understandable at that crisis, it seems the main issue many others and I have is about Columbus being a tyrant. This whole issue truly needs factual evidence to prove that it was Columbus rather than his officers who committed those gross misdeeds on Hispaniola that tarnished Columbus'' name, honor and right to govern.

In comparison to King Ferdinand''s Spain, which was entering its most ugly period of pogroms by first expelling the Muslims and currently on a mission to begin the Inquisition, Columbus appears to have been an angel. If harsh punishments were meted out on Hispaniola, it seems the evil King Ferdinand, who was killing people in mass, was no one to reprimand Columbus or his men for harsh treatment. Many factors indicate that the King''s aim was to demote Columbus and his monopoly on the New World, which he and his evil bishop, Fonseca, managed to do. They were ruthlessly expelling Muslims and Jews, and Columbus was just another expendable victim added to the list. Hence, this vital information needs to be finally resolved by ALL historians writing about Columbus.

However, this book is titled "The Last Voyage of Columbus", so I can''t criticize Dugard too much in this regard, yet his storyline does address this previous issue, and therefore should to some extent. But as for the tantalizing fourth voyage, this is nothing short of extraordinary and almost too unreal to believe.

This was a fascinating tale, written in a fascinating and engaging style. Bravo Dugard! And thanks for bequeathing to the world this great and important tale. A MUST READ!
2 people found this helpful
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Dee Lee
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great Read
Reviewed in the United States on July 25, 2016
I gained an appreciation for Columbus that I did not have before reading this book. His name usually evoked contempt and anger over the treatment of the natives of the lands Columbus visited or attempted to settle. I had no idea he was treated so badly by many of the... See more
I gained an appreciation for Columbus that I did not have before reading this book. His name usually evoked contempt and anger over the treatment of the natives of the lands Columbus visited or attempted to settle. I had no idea he was treated so badly by many of the Spaniards. This historical account of his fourth voyage was plagued with just about every misfortune imaginable, from a Sailor''s perspective. It was a year-long nightmare of tragic events.

I highly recommend the book. It''s told using first-hand accounts using journal entries and other factual records.
3 people found this helpful
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