Felipe Fernandez-Armesto gives us a credible flesh-and-blood Vespucci. We see Amerigo for what he really was: a sometime pimp and small-time jewel-trader, who practised magic and attained the 'fame and honour' he sought through a series of disastrous failures and amazing self-reinventions. Amerigo's genius for makeovers makes him a suitably mercurial hero for our times. But lies, evasions, outrageous fantasies and monumental misjudgements strew his career.
Fernandez-Armesto pilots us through the evidence with scholarly caution, disciplined imagination and well-informed insights. We follow Amerigo from the Florence of Lorenzo de'Medici, to the Seville of Ferdinand and Isabella, across the Atlantic of Columbus, to his encounters with the brave New World beyond the ocean. Salesman, sorcerer and ruthless borrower of others' experiences, Vespucci emerges from this book, still elusive-as dodgy as in the Florentine demi-monde of his youth-but intimately knowable for the first time.
Publication Date: 01-Nov-2007
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group, Limited