Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe
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Published 2003 (438 pages)
This book picked for the May 2004 meetings.
Added by Jamie Thingelstad on October 31, 2012 07:49:07 PM
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Ferdinand Magellan's daring circumnavigation of the globe in the sixteenth century was a three-year odyssey filled with sex, violence, and amazing adventure. Now in "Over the Edge of the World," prize-winning biographer and journalist "Laurence Bergreen" entwines a variety of candid, firsthand accounts, bringing to life this groundbreaking and majestic tale of discovery that changed both the way explorers would henceforth navigate the oceans and history itself.
Date of pick and picker are approximate.
Fascinating carefully researched story of Magellan's trip around the world. The reader gets a great feel for what life must have been like 500 years ago. We were particularly amazed at how cheap life was in that time. Magellan -- as captain -- tortured and killed crewmen for apparently small crimes, and nearly his entire crew died on the trip.
One of the particularly memorable moments in the book is the description of the celebration in the Phillippines each year to celebrate the anniversary of Magellan's arrival. They have volunteers dress up in armor, and actors dressed as primitives come running out and drown the armored visitors!
Another remarkable feeling was the sense for how their ships were basically just falling apart the whole trip. Every time they got to land they would rush off to find firewood to melt some tar to fix the parts of the ships that were leaking. Part of the leaking was just workmanship issues .. but part of it was the worms that began eating the ship timbers as soon as the ship was launched. Eek!