What's a good book about Christopher Columbus?

The thread title pretty much says it all.
I’m looking for something that’ll keep my interest and doesn’t read like a history textbook. On the same token I don’t need to know what he ate for breakfast every day. Thanks!

The classic heroic dead white male book about Columbus is Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus, by Samuel Eliot Morison.

The classic Columbus was a genocidal bigot book is The Conquest Of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy, by KIRKPATRICK SALE.

There’s been more recent books somewhere in the middle, but what fun would that be? :slight_smile:

Hmm, which one to start with. I’m gonna go with hero first I think.


Don’t some claim that Columbus was either Jewish or of Jewish ancestry?

Columbus in the Americas (Turning Points in History) by William Least Heat-Moon. It’s taken from logbooks and other first-hand accounts.

Yes, but modern scholars have fairly conclusively debunked that notion.


And then there’s this:

Robert Lawson’s book I Discover Columbus, c. 1940 or so, is a lot of fun. It’s a kids’ book, part of Lawson’s famous-animals-of-history series (along with Ben and Me, about the mouse who gives Benjamin Franklin all his good ideas; Captain Kidd’s Cat, in which the aforementioned feline tells all about their adventures on the high seas and explains how the guy wasn’t really a pirate, just misunderstood; and Mr. Revere and I, about the horse which Paul Revere rides to warn the Minutemen that the British were coming). I recommend them all.

I Discover Columbus, like the others, has great line drawings and a funny story to tell. The parrot who narrates the tale describes Columbus in generally unflattering but nevertheless affectionate terms (Columbus comes across as an idle dreamer, overly ambitious, attached to lofty titles and fancy clothes, a poor navigator and an even worse sailor). There’s nary a word about Columbus’s depredations against the Indians. Ferdinand, BTW, is portrayed as an impatient loudmouth and Isabella is a sweetly ruthless queen, and the brains of the royal pair.

Overall it’s a light-hearted and worthwhile read.

My Master Columbus, by Cedric Belfrage, is historical fiction told from the point of view of one of the natives who first encountered Columbus. I read it a long time ago, but I remember enjoying it a lot.