Edward Wilson-Lee: The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books: Christopher Columbus, His Son, and the Quest to Build the World’s Greatest Library
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In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue—Chances are, unless you’ve a heightened interest in Renaissance maritime happenings, the only details of Christopher Columbus and his voyage to the New World you likely remember are the year it occurred and the names of the ships that made the journey, all thanks to the powers of rhyme and mnemonic devices. At least, this was the boat in which I found myself a few months ago. Despite a love for history, I had never taken the time to properly dig into Columbus’s history, and found that much of what I had learned in elementary school (though largely simplified and censored for children’s ears) had mostly faded from memory. Enter The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books.
In this meticulously researched work, Wilson-Lee does not, in fact, focus on Columbus, but instead details the life of his illegitimate son, Hernando Colón. More specifically, Wilson-Lee details Hernando’s (arguably insane, but admirable) efforts to create a...