Magellan’s greatest skill lay in self-promotion, which perhaps explains those accolades. Fernández-Armesto cuts through the hype, exposing a troubled and dishonest man ... The enormously confident Fernández-Armesto tells this story with gusto, rendering Magellan much more interesting because of his flaws than the cardboard hero we’ve been sold.
... rigorous, deft and entertaining history, though I did feel anxious on Magellan’s behalf as this investigation into his character and conduct proceeded ... By the time Magellan’s fleet sets out, at the book’s midpoint, you are itching for action ... This is not history as Jan Morris wrote it. You get little sense of the places described as they are now beyond one depiction of a statue of a historian in Princeton. And I disagree with Fernández-Armesto about seafarers. They are not irresponsible: most still make horrendously long journeys to support families they almost never see. But this book is a sparkling read. The author is a fierce judge, but mostly a fair one.