The European Discovery of America: The Northern Voyages
by Samuel Eliot Morison.
S.E. Morison is renowned as a naval historian, and I fear it may be going to his head. Throughout this lengthy book, he peppers his rather dry history with scathing attacks on those unfortunate historians who have held a different opinion than himself. Very amusing.
If one were a sailor, one would get much more out of this book, which overflows with maritime terminology, exhaustive descriptions of ships and methods, and detailed analysis of the eastern North American coast.
Despite the above criticisms, this book is quite rewarding due to the obvious knowledge and research behind almost every sentence. The sailor’s point of view that Morison uses often provides refreshing insight into people & events. And despite his frequent commentary, the book is loaded with facts about discoverers who aren’t even mentioned in most standard American school textbooks. I probably won’t re-read this one, but will keep it as a reference and brace myself (at some point) to read the second volume on the Southern Voyages.