Over the Edge of the World

Laurence Bergreen

Over the Edge of the World



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We may well have all heard of Ferdinando Magellan, the first man to have set sail around the world, but few of us know his story in any great detail. Out of the five ships with full crew that set out, only one ship, and a handful of men, made it back full circle to Spain. What made their journey both a complete disaster and a huge success? And what role did the famous explorer play in the voyage overall? In his book Over The Edge of the World, Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe, Laurence Bergreen tells the story of the trials and tribulations of one of the most treacherous journeys in the history of mankind.

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Analysis and key concepts


His methods of exploration mean that Magellan is still of interest to modern academics


The kingdoms of Portugal and Spain made Magellan’s journey almost impossible


Magellan encountered serious danger on his search for the strait


The discovery of the Strait of Magellan and then crossing the Pacific was both arduous and astonishing


The ships made it to the Maluku Islands, but only a small party of sailors made it back to Spain




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Discover the daring story behind the first circumnavigation of the globe.
  • Learn more about Ferdinand Magellan both as a historical character and as a human being.
  • Understand the risks and adventures of a sea voyage during the Renaissance period.

Laurence Bergreen is an award-winning American author, historian, and biographer, who also worked in journalism and academia after graduating from Harvard University. He wrote his first biography in 1984, James Agee: A Life, which marked the beginning of his career as a biographer and historian, during which he wrote about several famous people in history such as Ferdinand Magellan, Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus. He has also written books about various NASA missions, including the mission to Mars. For his book "Beyond the Ends of the World: Magellan and the Circumnavigation of the Globe," he received the Medalla de Honor by the Asociación de Alcades de V Centenario.

Publishing house:

Mariner Books