In the 1990s, a shipwreck was discovered just off the coast of Panama, and from all indications it was a ship from the age of discovery, that exciting, tragic time when two civilizations discovered each other. The discovery of a ship five centuries old is a momentous event, but this shipwreck was something even more special. Its location raised the tantalizing possibility that it might be the Vizca’na, one of Columbus' four vessels on his last voyage, abandoned due to an infestation of Tarado Navalis shipworm. The Voyage of the Vizca’na: The Mystery of Christopher Columbus's Last Ship really tells the story of two voyages that of Columbus, with a readable, insightful look at his life and voyages, and that of the various governmental, scientific and private players jockeying to claim the wreck.

German journalists Klaus Brinkbaumer and Clemens Hoges write for the news magazine Der Spiegel and are also students of maritime history. Furthermore, Brinkbaumer is a diver and Hoges writes about underwater archaeology, making them the perfect pair to examine the tale of what really happened to the Vizca’na.

Much has been written about Columbus' life and accomplishments. He has been accused of genocide and lauded as one of history's greatest navigators, sometimes in the same sentence. Sadly, as this book shows, the motivations of men haven't changed much for the better. This is a fascinating, and sometimes frustrating book, but a topic well worth exploring. Being one-quarter Cherokee himself, James Neal Webb likes to joke that when it comes to Columbus, his family met the boat.

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