Books: Who Discovered America?

AMERIGO AND THE NEW WORLD (323 pp.)—Germán Arciniegas—Knopf ($5).

Everyone knows that Christopher Columbus discovered America, but did he really? A Colombian diplomat and historian, Germán Arciniegas does not ask the question in his Amerigo and the New World, but the reader is bound to. Columbus boldly sailed through the curtain of fear and superstition that had kept men from trying the dread Atlantic crossing. But he died believing that he had reached Asia, never accepted the fact that the New World was really another continental land mass. The first man to name it the New World was the Florentine navigator...

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