Over the Edge of the World

  • by Laurence Bergreen
  • Narrated by Laurence Bergreen
  • 6 hrs and 17 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In 1519 Magellan and his fleet of five ships set sail from Seville, Spain, to discover a water route to the fabled Spice Islands in Indonesia, where the most sought-after commodities (cloves, pepper, and nutmeg) flourished. Three years later, a handful of survivors returned with an abundance of spices from their intended destination, but with just one ship carrying eighteen emaciated men. During their remarkable voyage around the world the crew endured starvation, disease, mutiny, and torture. Many men died, including Magellan, who was violently killed in a fierce battle.This is the first full account in nearly half a century of this voyage into history: a tour of the world emerging from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance; a startling anthropological account of tribes, languages, and customs unknown to Europeans; and a chronicle of a desperate grab for commercial and political power.

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What the Critics Say

"[Journalist Bergreen] superbly recreates Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan's obsessive 16th-century quest....Bergreen writes this powerful tale of adventure with a strong presence and rich detail." (Publishers Weekly)
"Bergreen tells a well-rounded story of Magellan....He also puts the voyage into its historical context....Fascinating reading for history buffs, and a great story that rivals any seagoing adventure." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Reading IS an Issue

I read the Audiofile review for the UNabridged version (an AUDIE finalist) and then carelessly bought the abridged - read by the author - for my historian husband's post-surgery listening. The second star above is a historian's nod to content; at the end of the first hour, his verdict was "one of the worst productions I've ever heard." Specifically "Given the subject matter, surely the reader would at least make an attempt to pronounce the Spanish and Portuguese words - it's beyond awful!" What a waste of money!
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- Holly Mckinzie Beene

4-Star Tale, 1-Star Narration

This is a great account of one of the legendary journeys of history. It tells in particular detail the story behind the first circumnavigation of the world, the discovery of the Straits of Magellan, and the travels and travails of an intrepid commander, Ferdinand Magellan, and his brave crew.
I had looked forward to this much as I had anticipated "Endurance," about Shackleton's incredible adventure. In fact, the Amazon reviews were so consistently glowing that I ordered this despite lukewarm and even negative Audible reviews. I should have trusted my fellow Audible listeners!
Believe me, I understand the tremendous research that went into this work. I read that Bergreen used translations of the original logs of the voyage as well and historical references and contemporary accounts. You can imagine my disappointment when I realized that the author couldn't read. The narration significantly detracted from the grandeur, the magic, of an otherwise flawless work.
Just as some singers shouldn't dance, some authors should not narrate their own works. Regrettably, Mr. Bergreen is one of those. My advice to Audible listeners is: "Read this one in print!."
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- Kathy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-29-2004
  • Publisher: HarperAudio