Wednesday August 27th, 2014, 9:03 pm (EDT)

Columbus: His Enterprise

Exploding the Myth

Columbus: His Enterprise
Paperback, 142 pages
ISBN: 0-85345-825-1
Released: January 1976
Price: $13

Most of us have been taught to think of Christopher Columbus as a single-minded, courageous visionary whose navigational skills led him to “discover” the Americas. In this beautifully written revisionist biography, accessible to people of all ages, Hans Koning gives us the true history of Columbus’ life and voyages.

Koning describes how Columbus’ consuming drive to send mountains of gold back to Spain shaped his life, beginning the story with his childhood in Genoa and ending after his return from his fourth and final voyage, an old man in disgrace. He shows how Columbus’ discovery led to the enrichment of the conquerors through the plunder and murder of the native peoples of the Americas.

In an afterword for teachers, Bill Bigelow a high school social studies teacher and the author of several curricula shows how the book can be imaginatively used in the classroom to teach students to read history skeptically.

The book is an idea that has finally found its time.

Publishers Weekly

I think your book on Christopher Columbus is important. I’m more grateful for that book than any other book I have read in the last couple of years.

— Kurt Vonnegut

Hans Koning (1921-2007) was a journalist and novelist. He is the author of Columbus: His Enterprise, The Almost World, The Conquest of America, Pursuit of a Woman on the Hinge of History, and many other books of fiction and nonfiction, plays, screenplays, travel books, and articles for magazines like the New Yorker. Four of his novels were made into films. Koning was born in Amsterdam (as Hans Koningsberger), fought with the Dutch Resistance and the British Army during the Second World War, and traveled widely before settling in the United States.