The Great Age of Discovery, Volume 1

  • by Paul Herrmann
  • Narrated by Charlton Griffin
  • 12 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the space of 400 years, Western man methodically set out to explore and map the entire earth. During some of the most dangerous expeditions ever mounted, an extraordinary group of determined men forced passages through vast oceans, dark jungles, and withering deserts. Never has their like been seen since. What drove these soldiers, sailors, and civilians to leave the comforts of civilized life and face the horrors of shipwreck, starvation, cannibals, and disease?The primary motivations were fame, fortune, and adventure...sometimes all three. But with some of these explorers there was also a sense of duty, the idea that it was their destiny to discover new lands, new trading routes, to further the prominence of their king and country, and to illuminate the dark corners of the planet to solve the geological riddles that had puzzled humanity for eons.
In Paul Herrmann's great synthesis of anthropology, archaeology, medicine, and wonderful narrative history, we discover the story behind the great expeditions. We learn how they were organized and carried out, what happened when Europeans confronted strange and often savage societies, and what happened to these explorers upon their return to Europe. We also learn what impact their discoveries had on primitive cultures and European society. But this history is also much more. The result is an unbelievable picture of mankind swept up in the dramatic passage from enforced isolation to a dynamic worldwide trading network.
Volume 1 follows the voyages of Columbus, da Gama, Magellan, Cortes, Pizarro, and others as the Western hemisphere is discovered and mapped. After Magellan's voyage, the world of trade takes a revolutionary turn and the fortunes of Europe and the Mediterranean are changed forever.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Discover this Book

This is one of the best audiobooks I have had the pleasure to listen to since I joined audible. This is a rollicking rendition of the age of exploration. It covers the political, social and economic impact of the discoveries which in fact were profound but unappreciated today in the fog of history. It is also a fine high adventure tale told form the standpoint of the explorers themselves and relates numerous incidents and smaller figures involved in the events that are rarely related in standard texts. What's more, it is all true. The narration is superb. I can't wait for volume II.
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- Howard

Fun, but beware of some of the conclusions

This (and the companion second volume) are good listening and provide a wealth of detail about numerous explorers - many you have heard of and several you have not. (Did you know that a Scotsman named Mungo Parks was one of the first great African explorers?)
The narrator has a wonderful British accent which , naturally, makes the text sound very authoritative.
The book was written in 1958. Consequently, some of the hypotheses advanced by Herrmann are no longer viable. For example, recent DNA analysis has disproved the theory of migration from the Americas west to Polynesia [the "Kon-Tiki theory"].
Setting that aside, the book is fun and brings some real insight into larger than life figures like Columbus and Magellan, while introducing a number of explorers history barely remembers.
The final problem with listening to any book involving many geographical references is that the listener does not have the benefit of any maps that the printed version may contain. So have an atlas handy.
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- Gnarly1

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-06-2004
  • Publisher: Audio Connoisseur