The Great Explorers

  • by Samuel Eliot Morison
  • Narrated by Frederick Davidson
  • 25 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The great voyages of discovery to the New World are here brought to life by one of the 20th century's most eminent historians, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Samuel Morison.A master seaman himself, Morison personally retraced the voyages of the early explorers, charting his travels in maps and photographs and comparing these to the maps and travelogues of the early sailors. The resulting two-volume The European Discovery of America was widely acclaimed both for its author's incomparable knowledge of history, cartography, and sea navigation and for the fresh immediacy of its writing.The Great Explorers abridges this great work, following the voyages of Columbus, Magellan, Drake, and many more. Here is the fascinating story of these explorers' ventures into uncharted waters, their encounters with natives, and their joy - and surprise - at discovering new land.

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What the Critics Say

"What a story! And how worthily the writer tells it!.... To read this book is to be a privileged passenger on the bridge beside a master mariner who... imparts the wisdoms of the deep in tones of a salty tang - brisk, skeptical, yet always measured." (The New York Times Book Review)
"One of the most readable and gripping histories in decades." (Boston Globe)
"In all ways admirable, written with wit and easy scholarship.... [Morison] at his entertaining best." (The New Yorker)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Most Outstanding History of the Age of Discovery

If you could sum up The Great Explorers in three words, what would they be?

This is the finest history of the discoverers in one volume I have ever seen! I have been studying, living in and teaching about Latin America for 3 decades, and to my misfortune, i am only now getting around to this master piece of historical description (and some analysis where necessary to deduce facts as left out of the written record, but always very carefully and with great effort to be true to the actual history and culture of the age). I listened to this book, and I wish i had bought the book so that i could see the pictures and used it as a reference book in the future. I will recommend its purchase for the local library.

If you are at all interested in the truth about these corageous, smart, tough, driven men and their age, read this book!


What does Frederick Davidson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

At first i was a little distracted by his accent, but that quickly passed and i grew to anxiously look forward to hearing him tell me more and more of the story. He was just right.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

My reaction was "there has never been braver, tougher, smarter, nor more religious men who changed the world ever! Also, i was reminded that virtually all of the great explorers did not live to enjoy the riches of their conquests, except Cortez who is not a subject of this book.


Any additional comments?

Forget everything you think you know about the age of discovery and their great captains, and read this book, it will give you a very interesting education!

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- WSV1975

Good Book, but don't download until audible fixes the skipping

This book has some serious skipping issues. After talking with customer service and re-downloading it 3 extra times as an failed attempt to mend the issue, the second half of the book still skipped very often, making it hard to follow. I would buy this until audible confirms they have fixed the issue.

Now for a review of the book. It was good and the composition of knowledge about this topic was impressive. The narrator has a pretty strong accent, which sometimes made it harder to follow as well. There wasn't great character buildup until he got into Columbus, Magellan and Drake, making it obvious that the author probably knows more and prefers those explorers. Still a good book, though at times it feels like your being read a text book by Scar from the Lion King.
Definitely worth a listen once they fix the skipping.
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- Jeff

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-19-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.