Irving was one of the best writers who ever lived. In addition to writing Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, he wrote two books on early seafarers and the exploration of the world. The first, on Columbus, is common. This book, however, is more rare and it describes many new discoveries that were happening. Explorers set out in search of fame and adventure like Balboa, Alonzo de Ojeda, Amerigo Vespucci, whom America was named after, and Ponce de Leon, who was seeking the fountain of youth. The Appendix contains a manifesto that was read aloud to natives (who could not understand it), demanding their allegiance to Christianity and Spain, or else die. It was adopted by all Spanish discoverers, and is an important piece of history. The book itself is a gold mine of valuable information. Hardcover, ISBN 9781585095001 , 6 x 9 , 356 pp.