Synopses & Reviews
When Columbus first returned to Europe from the Caribbean, he presented King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella with exotic parrots, tropical flowers, and bits of gold. The search for riches spurred Columbus and other voyagers to ply the oceans with similar ambitions. These seafarers continued to return with specimens of mysterious plants and animals encountered in the New World. Curiosity began to percolate through Europe. The Church, long fearful of challenges to its authority, could no longer suppress the mantra “Dare to know!” Recounting the triumphs and mishaps of these explorers, including Magellan’s murder during the first circumnavigation of the globe, eminent historian Joyce Appleby tells of the often fraught meetings of Europeans with native populations. Her book follows the naturalists, both famous and obscure, whose investigations of the world’s fauna and flora fueled the rise of science and technology that propelled western Europe toward modernity.
"Like an exotic seed washed up from a distant land, Joyce Appleby's blossoms in marvelous ways. This supple and sparkling chronicle of discovery shows why even Columbus was baffled by his myriad discoveries, and how Europeans gradually decoded the mysteries of the New World. A lucid account of cultural transmission." Laurence Bergreen, author of Columbus
" is an ambitious book that covers the sweep of history from Columbus to Darwin--and finds unexpected kinship between explorers and scientists of those centuries. Science was exploration, and exploration was science. And, from Joyce Appleby's expert retelling, we learn the many ways they thought and spoke of it too. Fascinating!" Mark Anderson, author of The Day the World Discovered the Sun
"I found it an invigorating journey through time and space, shedding insight into the relationship between science and society." John Gribbin, author of Erwin Schrodinger and the Quantum Revolution
"Christopher Columbus's landing in the Western Hemisphere in 1492 marked a decisive moment in world history. But as Joyce Appleby argues in this lucid and economically written survey of scientific thought, its intellectual impact unfolded gradually. In riveting prose, she shows how American geography, peoples, flora, and fauna forced European scientists to alter their understanding of nature. Those interested in the intersection of exploration and scientific knowledge should book passage on Professor Appleby's charming, story-filled journey across the Atlantic and back again." Peter Mancall, author of The Fatal Journey
A compelling history of the European explorations that ignited curiosity about nature and science, ultimately leading to the theory of evolution.
An engrossing history of the voyages of exploration that ignited curiosity about nature and gave birth to modern science.
When Columbus first returned to Spain from the Caribbean, he dazzled King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella with exotic parrots, tropical flowers, and bits of gold. Inspired by the promise of riches, countless seafarers poured out of the Iberian Peninsula and wider Europe in search of spices, treasure, and land. Many returned with strange tales of the New World.
About the Author
Joyce Appleby is a professor of history emerita at UCLA and the author of The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism and coauthor of Telling the Truth about History, among many other works. A former president of the American History Association, she was awarded the 2009 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Prize for distinguished writing in American history from the Society of American Historians. She lives in Taos, New Mexico.