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Over the Edge of the World by Laurence Bergreen

Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe

2003, William Morrow and Company

We2 bookclub rating: Two thumbs up


We have to admire Magellan’s ambition: No matter the odds (and they were exceptionally long), he never gave up on his dream of circling the globe. He was a true explorer. He eventually found what is now known as the Strait of Magellan (a shortcut from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific), and his excursion ultimately proved the Earth was round. But the voyage was hellish. He and his crew endured terrible storms, attacks, starvation, scurvy, mutiny, and more. Magellan himself resorted to torture and violence. (We now have a graphic understanding of a “Spanish Inquisition.”) We have to wonder if Magellan was mentally healthy. Some theorize he was manic-depressive. Overall, this book is a fascinating depiction of one of the most significant events in history. And, fun fact: Although most people think that Magellan circumnavigated the globe, he really didn’t. He was killed before completing the journey. One of the five original ships and its crew completed the journey.

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