Columbus Series:

This note is about Sea History’s eightpart series on Columbus.

I just finished the last installment, put it down , and took a deep breath to mark considerable admiration.

In the latest three years it has been my fate , like that of many other editors, writers and museum folk,

to wade throu gh a clutch of books about Columbus, to discuss 500th anniversary programs by a half dozen organizations,

and , in my case, to write a long piece on 1492 for Smithsonian while commissioning and editing several others.

I have read the latest work in the seri es on Columbus in the Autumn issue of Sea History.

I want to te ll you what a splendid job has been done with this effort.

The extremists have had entire ly too much to say about their own inte rests and biases, failing completely to take a balanced view.

By contrast, Peter Stanford’s seri es has given the proper credit due to this remarkable man , at the same time acknowledging his flaws.

It is vital, of course, as you have pointed out, to realize that Columbus was a man of his times and made no real pretension of being anything other than a capable seaman,

a good navigator, and one with a spirit of adventure.

(It’s of interest to note that even our own President George Washington was not without weaknesses).

I think these writings would be worth assembling into a publication of some kind before the era passes into history once more.

From Sea-Foam By some intervention of Poseidon your editors create contents of Sea History from sea-foam-like Aphrodite.

The Autumn issue attests to your prowess: lighthouses; Netherland waterways-history plus vivid travel; the Bo ston-Liverpool race and the Kruzenshtern’s tests of US hospitality.

 Finally, but really first, Peter Stanford’s statesmanlike and va lid retrospective of Christopher Columbus and his milieu! Congratulations.

On June 29, heavy fog grounded SS Richard Bland, and SS faford signaled she had ice damage and was returning to Iceland.

It was two down and 33 to go. These two ships should not be counted in the tally of ships sunk.

So 22 merchant vessels were lost, not 24 as stated.

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