Holy War

Holy War : How Vasco Da Gama's Epic Voyages Turned the Tide in a Centuries-Old Clash of Civilizations

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HistorianNigel Cliff delivers a sweeping, radical reinterpretation of Vasco da Gama'spioneering voyages, revealing their significance as a decisive turning point inthe struggle between Christianity and Islam--a series of events which foreveraltered the relationship between East and West. Perfect for readers of Endurance Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, Galileo'sDaughter, and Atlantic, this first-ever completeaccount of da Gama's voyages includes new information from the recentlydiscovered diaries of his sailors and an extraordinary series of lettersbetween da Gama and the Zamorin, a king of modern-dayKerala, India. Cliff, the author of The Shakespeare Riots, draws uponhis own travels in da Gama's footsteps to add detail, authenticity, and acontemporary perspective to this riveting, one-of-a-kind historical epic.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 547 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 45.72mm | 340.19g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, color
  • 0061735124
  • 9780061735127
  • 436,501

Review quote

Nigel Cliff s "Holy War" is one of the most readable, engaging, and provoking books of the season, hands down... Cliff... writes with considerable energy, humor and narrative skill. --Kansas City Star"
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Back cover copy

A sweeping historical epic and a radical new interpretation of Vasco da Gama's groundbreaking voyages, seen as a turning point in the struggle between Christianity and Islam

In 1498 a young captain sailed from Portugal, circumnavigated Africa, crossed the Indian Ocean, and discovered the sea route to the Indies and, with it, access to the fabled wealth of the East. It was the longest voyage known to history. The little ships were pushed beyond their limits, and their crews were racked by storms and devastated by disease. However, their greatest enemy was neither nature nor even the sheer dread of venturing into unknown worlds that existed on maps populated by coiled, toothy sea monsters. With bloodred Crusader crosses emblazoned on their sails, the explorers arrived in the heart of the Muslim East at a time when the old hostilities between Christianity and Islam had risen to a new level of intensity. In two voyages that spanned six years, Vasco da Gama would fight a running sea battle that would ultimately change the fate of three continents.

An epic tale of spies, intrigue, and treachery; of bravado, brinkmanship, and confused and often comical collisions between cultures encountering one another for the first time; Holy War also offers a surprising new interpretation of the broad sweep of history. Identifying Vasco da Gama's arrival in the East as a turning point in the centuries-old struggle between Islam and Christianity--one that continues to shape our world--Holy War reveals the unexpected truth that both Vasco da Gama and his archrival, Christopher Columbus, set sail with the clear purpose of launching a Crusade whose objective was to reach the Indies; seize control of its markets in spices, silks, and precious gems from Muslim traders; and claim for Portugal or Spain, respectively, all the territories they discovered. Vasco da Gama triumphed in his mission and drew a dividing line between the Muslim and Christian eras of history--what we in the West call the medieval and the modern ages. Now that the world is once again tipping back East, Holy War offers a key to understanding age-old religious and cultural rivalries resurgent today.
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Rating details

706 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 35% (250)
4 43% (302)
3 18% (127)
2 3% (20)
1 1% (7)
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