Timothy Brook

Raise the Holy Sail

Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem

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Duckworth & Co 319pp £20 order from our bookshop

The Last Crusade: The Epic Voyages of Vasco da Gama

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Atlantic Books 547pp £22 order from our bookshop

Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama used to enjoy special status in our pantheon of heroes: Columbus for ‘discovering’ the continents that blocked his way to Asia, and da Gama for figuring out how to circumnavigate Africa for the same end. Both ventures ended up changing history by restructuring the networks of trade linking Europe to distant regions, and gave Europe an upper hand it had not previously enjoyed. Out of Europe’s seaward escape would emerge global capitalism and the social and political arrangements some call modernity. 

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