Christopher Columbus and The Conquest of Paradise

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Bloomsbury USA, Apr 28, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 453 pages
Christopher Columbus' arrival on a small Bahamian island in 1492 is often judged to be a defining moment in the history of mankind, changing forever the map of the world. Kirkpatrick Sale offers readers a unique take on Columbus and his legacy, separating the man from the legend. Sale also looks at the global consequences of the discovery, revealing the colossal impact this brief moment in history had not only on a continent but also on the world. Now with a new introduction by Sale, this classic book is being re-issued for the 500th aniversary of Columbus' death in the heart of Castille.

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This is actually one of the worst biographies of a major historical character ever written. It contains an average of 17 factual errors per page, a fact I determined by checking sources on the first 15 pages. An example of how far Kirkpatrick Sale reaches to find something nasty about Christopher Columbus is seen in the accusation that Columbus engaged in a plot to infect the indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere with venereal disease. The microscope, needed to see germ organisms, was invented over a century after Columbus' life. The connection between germs seen with the microscope, and disease, was made in the early 1800s. Samuel Elliot Morrison's meticulous biography of Columbus includes all the negative points of validity made by Sale, without the mindless left-wing ranting and raving. That a real university ever hired Mr Sale says much about the poor state of academic standards in the USA. At St Johns College I was taught how to analyze texts and search out valid criticism from ideological flak. Mr Sale would do well to learn what the 18 year old freshman knows at St Johns.
RR Ramsey

About the author (2006)

Kirkpatrick Sale is the author of twelve books, and is a contributing editor for The Nation. He lives in Cold Spring, NY.

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