Columbus in the Americas by William Least Heat Moon is a small book which takes on a large task--an objective analysis of the Great Admiral's character, warts and all, as revealed in his expeditions to the New World. The book is a laudable examination of a not altogether praiseworthy individual.
We were taught in grade school of Columbus' bravery, skills, and accomplishments. Least Heat Moon, of Native American extraction, acknowledges all that but also examines the adventurer's dark side. He describes the uneven and sometimes evil treatment of the indigenous peoples by Columbus and his crew. Columbus was a devout Christian who took communion before boarding his flagship for his first expedition across the Ocean Sea, as the Atlantic was called then.
The abuse heaped upon the natives, especially the kind, hospitable Tainos was reprehensible. They were generous with food and provisions and the Christians responded to the generosity with rape and pillaging.
The author provides much solid information about the voyages, crew members, travails, destinations, and routes, but concludes, "Judgment of Columbus cannot ignore the forces his actions set in motion in his'other world' that would lead to the greatest genocide humanity has ever witnessed."