In keeping with the European academic style, most of the 12 essays included in this collection favor showing over telling, informing over elucidating. Several authors underscore the dearth of archival data related to the circumstances surrounding Christopher Columbus's voyages, which helps explain why many of the contributions appear speculative or address minutiae and tangential matters. After the editor's summary prologue, the chapters are ordered somewhat chronologically.

Three chapters tackle historiographical issues. Juan Francisco Maura considers the written records about the alleged Iberian “prediscovery” of transatlantic lands that could have informed Columbus's initiative. Julio Izquierdo Labrado laments at length how the biased opinions of “políticos, filósofos, sociólogos y otros muchos diletantes” have usurped the scientific rigor of historians mainly to undermine Spain's achievements (p. 37). David Abulafia examines early reports of cannibals among Caribbean peoples and concludes that, despite European prejudices and calculated...

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