Five centuries after he set sail, Christopher Columbus is still one of history's most controversial figures. Was he the hero in a pageant of discovery or an avaricious glory hunter and a ruthless destroyer of indigenous cultures? Anthropologist Carol Delaney offers a radically new interpretation of the man and his mission, claiming that the true motivation for his voyages remains widely unknown. She argues that Columbus was inspired to find a western route to the Orient not simply to obtain gold for the Spanish Crown, but to fund a new crusade to take Jerusalem from the Muslims before the end of the world—a goal that sustained him until the day he died.
"A new and provocative interpretation of Columbus. Carol Delaney uses her training as a cultural anthropologist to brilliantly explicate Columbus's strange, apocalyptic world. By being more sensitive to the differentness of the past than most historians, she has written a remarkable work of history."—Gordon S. Wood