15th century Biographies

Columbus

Book cover: 'Columbus'
Author(s): 
Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire
Copyright: 
1955
Publisher: 
Beautiful Feet Books
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
60 pages
Subject(s): 
Setting: 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This is another great biography by the D'Aulaire's. Well told and beautifully illustrated, this book will introduce you to Columbus' boyhood dreams, some of the reasons why he (and others) believed the earth was round, his early sailing days and interest in the tales of Leif Ericson, and of course the story of his family, his long quest for sponsorship of his desired trip and finally his voyages to America. Most adults don't know as much about Columbus as your children can learn from this story.

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

The Last Crusader: Isabella of Spain

Book cover: 'The Last Crusader: Isabella of Spain'
Author(s): 
William Thomas Walsh
Copyright: 
1930
Publisher: 
TAN Books and Publishers
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
515 pages
Subject(s): 
Setting: 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

Queen Isabella (the Catholic) of Spain is one of the most influential and controversial women in history. She and her husband were responsible for supporting Columbus' voyages to the New World, the re-conquering of all of Spain from the Moors, the expulsion of the Jews, and the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition. Her daughter, Catherine of Aragon, was the unfortunate first wife of King Henry VIII of England (who founded the Anglican church because he didn't accept the Pope's refusal to grant him an annulment of his marriage to Catherine). The story is fast-paced and gripping (as well as complex), but also very sad and even disturbing at times. It's an important period of history for Catholic to understand as many aspects of this story are frequently used to attack the Church. Reading the whole story will also dispel some common myths about history in general - particularly ones that try to make blanket statements about history and assumptions that as history progresses things always get worse.
Recommended for upper high school or adult.

This book mentions at least one disturbing story of violence against a child that appears to follow the pattern of anti-Jewish myths debunked by the Church as early as Gregory X's document of 1272 on "Papal Protection of the Jews". The document can be found here: http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/G10JPROT.HTM In addition to reading this document (which particularly highlights problems with Christian violence against the Jews), further discussion and research are recommended on this topic.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
3-25-2000
Reviewed by: