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The Race to the New World: Christopher…

The Race to the New World: Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, and a Lost… (edition 2012)

by Douglas Hunter

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5111229,653 (3.8)7
Title:The Race to the New World: Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, and a Lost History of Discovery
Authors:Douglas Hunter
Info:Palgrave Macmillan (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Race to the New World: Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, and a Lost History of Discovery by Douglas Hunter


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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Douglas Hunter’s book The Race to the New World has several story lines. Clearly Christopher Columbus and John Cabot are prominent features of the story. But the side story about historian Alwyn Amy Ruddock is in many ways, the most fascinating. Ruddock had a long-standing interest in John Cabot’s story as an explorer and apparently had uncovered a number of documents that she claims would change our opinion on the discovery of the nuevo mundo (new world) “radically.” Unfortunately for us Ruddock never finished her research and book and ordered the destruction of all of her research when she died in 2005. Hunter has been able to recreate some of her material (although not all) in a major rewrite of the efforts of Columbus and Cabot. While Columbus may have sailed the ocean blue in 1492, we are sure of little else. Hunter notes that between 1512 and 1536 about 200 witnesses (representing that various participants) would provide contrasting testimony on these discoveries. Hunter tells a lively story of palace intrigue, disinformation, and outright fraud on the part of these players. In the end, Columbus continued to believe he had found a new way to the East and Cabot may have ventured further south from the “new found land” than earlier thought. It is a well researched and written history that makes the discovery of the North American continent an exciting read. ( )
1 vote sherman1951 | Feb 11, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
At a amateur history buff, I really enjoyed this book. It recounts some of the shared history of Christopher Columbus and John Cabot and how they were both exploring for new paths to the riches, only to end up discovering the New World.

The book proved to be a quick and informative read... the only issue that I saw was that so many historical figures played roles. Hunter would switch from Cabot's current spot to Columbus's current spot, and things became a bit confusing. However, it's still definitely worth a read. ( )
  ryan.adams | Jan 21, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. While I generally enjoy reading history, I found this book hard to get though - it didn't seem readable to me. I think the topic is very well researched and it's obvious that the author spent a considerable amount of time delving into the time period and the lives of both Columbus and Cabot, but I just didn't find myself enjoying it! ( )
  bwightman | Jan 8, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Discusses Columbus' attempts to mount an expedition across the Atlantic to discover a western route to the Indies and his subsequent voyages. Introduces a similar scenario for John Cabot only with a different sovereign (the king of England). I really thought I would find these endevours interesting. Too much detail for me (and most likely anyone not fervently interested in the very specific time period and spheres of influence covered). Take away: Columbus really was an asshole and they both were con artists. ( )
  dandelionroots | Dec 20, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
For such a thoroughly researched and scholarly cross-referenced work this book is both an enjoyable read and an exciting tale. The fascination lies in the apparent interlinking of both the stories and famous participants in this race to discover a “new world” that was supposed to be the gateway to the Far East.

The probability that Cabot even sailed with Columbus on one of the early voyages … prior to “borrowing” the business plan Columbus crafted to persuade the European kingdoms to back the planned exploration … and using it in securing his own royal sponsor is detailed as a convincing conjecture, adding another entirely new dimension to the discussion of who “discovered” America.

Basing his own research on the work of Dr. Alwyn Ruddock, whose important pioneering work in original documentation Hunter fully acknowledges, the author produces an eminently readable history. Recommended for those history and naval buffs whose thirst for more knowledge allows them to undertake deeper reading – not a book to be skimmed, but enjoyed.
1 vote John_Vaughan | Dec 10, 2012 |
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The author puts together an intriguing account from an international cooperative research effort among historians to reconstruct sources that were either destroyed or lost. He has also accessed documents in Spanish, Latin, French and Italian, especially from collections appearing since the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage, in 1992. Hunter presents a reconstruction of the political, financial and social networks and activities of which the ocean explorers were a part, and shows their nautical adventures in a new light.
added by John_Vaughan | editKirkus (Jul 10, 2012)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0230341659, Paperback)

Every schoolchild knows that "in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue"—but what they don't teach you in history class is that he wasn't the only one. In The Race to the New World, Douglas Hunter tells for the first time the fascinating tale of how Christopher Columbus was embroiled in a high-stakes race with Venetian John Cabot to find a shortcut to the East—and how they found a New World that neither was looking for. Employing fresh research and new translations of critical documents, Hunter reveals the surprisingly intertwined lives of the fabled explorer and his forgotten rival, and provides a fresh perspective on the first years of the European discovery of the New World.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:28 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Hunter provides a revelatory look at how the lives of Columbus and Cabot were interconnected, and how neither explorer can be understood properly without understanding both.

(summary from another edition)

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