October 9, 2014

Christopher Columbus: A Man among the Gentiles by Clark B. Hinckley

My mother-in-law Shawna read this book and I asked her to share her opinion about it. I am also in the process of reading it, but I've only just begun. Shawna teaches 5th grade in Washington state and part of their curriculum this year is Christopher Columbus so she was very excited to gain more information and incite into his personal history.

The following is the Review from Shawna:

This book describes Christopher Columbus's early beginnings as a child born Genoa. His father's occupation was a cloth weaver. Life during the dark ages and medieval times was not filled with enlightenment. Europe was at a standstill in knowledge and new technologies.

Columbus probably became interested in navigation because he lived near the ocean in a big seafaring town. The book describes his amazing capabilities as a ship navigator. His dead reckoning skills on his first voyage were 99.7% correct.  It describes the three ships and the crude navigational tools he used.

The information from this book was mostly taken from an abstract written from all of his notes in his diary. This abstract can be found today in a museum in Madrid.

You learn that Columbus was a devout Christian and quotes by him are included saying how 'God enlightened his mind' and inspired him on his explorations. His ideals were high and some of the men who captained his ships did not have the same objectives. They broke away and their poor choices led to deaths and hardships.

A highlight of this book is learning WHY Columbus contributed to the changing of the world and bringing on the period of enlightenment. He left from the Canary Islands using the easterlies. On his return voyage, he left a little more north to use the westerlies. He is the one who found the highway to America and recorded it in his diary. He is the one who was the genius who used the trade winds again and again and again. His routes were used until steam ships. Cruise lines headed to the Caribbean still use them today. Other explorers around Europe started using his routes and thus sparked Europe's dark ages to the Renaissance and bringing change to the whole world.

A huge thank you to Shawna for sharing her thoughts. I can't wait to get further into this book and discover the rich history that helped prepare the way for the Restoration of the gospel.

Here are a few other reviews found on Deseret Book that I liked:

From Chris: 
This book is first of all an excellent brief history of Columbus. You finish feeling like you've been tutored by an objective and expert source on all of the key elements of Columbus's life. It reveals both the heart of Christopher Columbus and the honest shortcomings that have left him vulnerable to criticism. On both counts you discover a man who you recognize, admire, sympathize with and want to stand up and cheer for. The book touches on and concludes with how Columbus fits into the larger gospel narrative from a uniquely LDS perspective. It is great history, great biography and a great testimony of Columbus's special calling in the unfolding of God's plan.

From Rick
Brother Hinckley has done a masterful job in bringing to life one of the most influential men of accomplishment in the history of the earth. I have always appreciated Christopher Columbus for what he had done, however I was never aware of the tremendous adversity and the undaunting spirit of a man that would never give up. He was inspired and focused upon his mission to discover new trade routes to the Far East that would bring attention, money and Christianity to Spain and the Lord in building his kingdom here upon the earth. He would not be denied because he was certain of his mission and felt heavens direction and guidance throughout his life. My life has been enriched because of what I have learned and felt in this great read. I would recommend it to any who would appreciate seeing the hand of the Lord in the life of this great explorer. It was truly inspiring!!!  

To purchase this book visit the following links  Hard Copy /  e Book / Kindle