SOCIAL SCIENCES

The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books: Christopher Columbus, His Son, and the Quest To Build the World's Greatest Library

Scribner. Mar. 2019. 416p. illus. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9781982111397. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781982111410. HIST
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Wilson-Lee (English fellow, Sidney Sussex Coll.; Shakespeare in Swahililand) presents a thorough look into the life of Christopher Columbus' illegitimate son, Hernando Colón (1488–1539) and the tremendous feat he undertook to build and organize the world's greatest library. In work supported by meticulous research, the author takes readers on the journey of a son trying to make his mark in a world aware of his father's overwhelming shadow amid tragedies, such as the loss of much of his collection to a disaster in 1522. Although modern reflections on Columbus's voyages prove polarizing, Wilson-Lee shares that contemporary views of the explorer were just as negative, adding to Hernando's struggles trying to preserve the legacy of the father he loved. While Columbus's story has been told many times, this singular work presents Hernando's untold adventures, particularly showing the connection between father and son as ambition drove them toward exploration and learning.
VERDICT Recommended for bibliophiles and history buffs alike. [See Prepub Alert, 9/10/18.]

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