Wednesday, October 12, 2005

SWQR - Admiral of Ocean Sea

Admiral of Ocean Sea by Samuel Eliot Morison

This book contains a carefully researched story of the Greatest Voyage of Discovery: the 1492 western journey of Christopher Columbus. I have the hard cover "large" edition as well as a paperback, which is a condensed form, and I have heard there is a two-volume edition as well. Morison is a real mariner and actually sailed the route of Columbus. I write this away from my copies of this excellent book, so I cannot quote precisely - but he makes the point that most other Columbus books appear to have been written at a desk in the author's study - or they would not make such egregious mistakes. Morison's is splendid, and full of excitement, of detail, and of honesty which is critical in the right places, but also bountiful with praise in places where the modern reader will not expect. Also he is respectful of the deep faith of Columbus. And perhaps Morison had Chestertonian grasp of the structure of The Everlasting Man as he wrote: "Not since the birth of Christ has there been a night so full of meaning for the human race." Amen. Tierra! Tierra!


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