The Man Who Gave His Name to America

By Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780812972986, 231pp.

Publication Date: August 12, 2008


In Amerigo, the award-winning scholar Felipe Fernández-Armesto answers the question “What’s in a name?” by delivering a rousing flesh-and-blood narrative of the life and times of Amerigo Vespucci. Here we meet Amerigo as he really was: a rogue and raconteur who counted Christopher Columbus among his friends and rivals; an amateur sorcerer who attained fame and honor through a series of disastrous failures and equally grand self-reinventions. Filled with well-informed insights and amazing anecdotes, this magisterial and compulsively readable account sweeps readers from Medicean Florence to the Sevillian court of Ferdinand and Isabella, then across the Atlantic of Columbus to the brave New World where fortune favored the bold.

Amerigo Vespucci emerges from these pages as an irresistible avatar for the age of exploration–and as a man of genuine achievement as a voyager and chronicler of discovery. And now, in Amerigo, this mercurial and elusive figure finally has a biography to do full justice to both the man and his remarkable era.

Praise for Amerigo:

“Wonderfully idiosyncratic and intelligent.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Fascinating . . . [Fernández-Armesto’s] lively style is effective in evoking the flashy and violent world of Renaissance Europe.”
The Washington Post Book World

“An outstanding historian . . . [Fernández-Armesto] introduces Amerigo Vespucci as an amazing Renaissance character independent of his name’s fame–and does Fernández-Armesto ever deliver.”
Booklist (starred review)

“Dazzling . . . an elegant tale of Vespucci’s ability to transform himself from a merchant into an explorer and conqueror of new worlds.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)


About the Author
Felipe Fernandez-Armesto is currently the William P. Reynolds Professor of History at Notre Dame University, and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Global History. Fernandez-Armesto is also a member of the history faculty at Queen Mary College, University of London. The author, coauthor, or editor of more than twenty-five books, Fernandez-Armesto's work has been translated into twenty-two languages. His books include Before Columbus; The Times Illustrated History of Europe; Columbus; Millennium: A History of the Last Thousand Years (the subject of a ten-part series on CNN); Civilizations: Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature; Near a Thousand Tables; The Americas; Ideas That Changed the World; Humankind: A Brief History; The Times Atlas of World Exploration; Reformations; Truth; and The Times Guide to the Peoples of Europe.