Paperback: Amerigo, by Felipe Fernández-Armesto
Friday 07 December 2007
In a work of radiant intelligence and dazzling articulacy, Fernández-Armesto tells the story of Americo Vespucci, the seedy chancer who gave his name to the world's greatest power.
The author's conclusion is a sweeping accusation of mediocrity: "Too unstudious to be a diplomat, too imprudent to be a great merchant, too incompetent to be a navigator, too ignorant to be a cosmographer." Amerigo's description of the New World is "maddeningly vague". Yet he represents a "strange, world-shaping breed". After thousands of years of European inertia, Amerigo "swapped a familiar sea for an ocean of uncertain hazards".
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Ireland gay marriage vote: 'No' campaign appears to concede amid reports of 'yes' landslide victory
- 2 Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
- 3 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
- 4 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland