1492

Piero Ventura, Author Putnam Publishing Group $19.95 (93p) ISBN 978-0-399-22332-7
Ventura ( Great Painters ; Venice: Birth of a City ) once again brings history into crystal clear focus in this intriguing look at what the world was like immediately at the time of Columbus's celebrated voyage. Written in the present tense, the lucid, information-packed prose introduces fictitious characters who provide insights into the lifestyle, trade alliances and political structures of various European countries. Offered are a wide range of engrossing perspectives--from that of an aging soldier in the army of the Ottoman Empire to a 13-year-old maid of honor to the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella. The journey to the Indies is skillfully documented, as are the devastating effects of this and subsequent explorations on the native tribes of the New World. Ventura's finely detailed pictures reveal the architectural styles and dress of the era, and numerous maps contrast the configurations of countries in 1492 with their boundaries 500 years later. Though the extensive, at times dense, text makes this book unsuitable for those at the lower end of the intended audience, scrupulous scholarship and eye-catching visuals are adroitly blended into a handsome and informative volume. All ages. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
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