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1492 by Mary Johnston1492


1492 By Mary Johnston is the story of Christopher Columbus, Master Christopherus, a tall, muscular, gray-eyed, silver-haired man. It is about his voyages, discoveries, trials, triumphs, his fall from favor in the Spanish court and his death. The novel also reveals the greed and harshness of the Spanish toward the Indians and each other. Seven long years Columbus waited, only to have his proposal put down by the King and Queen of Spain.

The story is told in the voice of Juan Lepe the squire, who was to become Juan Lepe the sailor. It is also his story. Beautifully written and emotionally compelling, 1492 tells of the famous adventures of Columbus and his men, who sailed into the almost mythical seas beyond the horizon in search of the "New World," in the hopes of attaining vast wealth and power. Based on their limited means and understanding of navigation, they struggle to find their position, while at the same time encountering many natural wonders and exotic peoples. Tensions build as they appear to become increasingly lost. Columbus and his crew begin to lose hope, until they finally receive the vindication of their bold vision. 1492 pays special attention to the conditions of the late 15th century period.

In 1492, Mary Johnston describes the competition between classes and ethnic groups in Spain, as well as the clashes that occurred when people from two very different cultures, native American and European, interact. Ms. Johnston does not deny the greatness of Columbus or the ill treatment of the Indians by the Spanish. In this novel, Columbus wants to trade for gold and other things but many of the Spanish just take what they want. These issues are not merely abstract, since we see them vividly through the eyes of a disenfranchised individual: a Christian sailor of Jewish background, who has been compelled to lead a secretive and solitary existence. The incidents of his life are brought to us in a handsome, elegant language, uncommon in the books of our day.

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