Monday, October 10, 2016

When Will America Return the Favor – And Discover Columbus: The Untold Story?

The following retrospective -- on his very "close encounter" with my book -- was written by Bob Lamming of an unusually effective article encapsulating my "untold story" titled End of the Enigmatic Christopher Columbus: A Man at Last Emerges to Eradicate the Myth. Since the website for which it was intended does not publish personal reviews, we are posting our follow-up below.  


Columbus: The Untold Story is available for purchase at: www.Columbus-Book.com


When Will America Return the Favor – And Discover Columbus: The Untold Story?
by Bob Lamming


T
he article we did last May – “End of the Enigmatic Christopher Columbus: A Man at Last Emerges to Eradicate the Myth” – drew a very positive response. In remembrance of Columbus Day, we've been invited to expand on that discussion. 

Last Spring I worked intensely on Manuel Rosa's Columbus-The Untold Story, and on our article for Ancient Origins. What I brought to the partnership were my skills as an English instructor – coming out of retirement, to do an odd job here and there. 

Prior to this engagement, I knew almost nothing of the Columbus controversy, and I cared less. The strongest impression I retain of the job I did half a year ago is how compelling I found Rosa's well researched argument, and how deeply engrossed I became in the unfolding narrative as I read and edited the English-language debut of Columbus: The Untold Story

I see no point in mimicking our earlier effort. The overview we presented five months ago could scarcely be improved upon. For a sympathetic, well-informed discussion of the book that goes into greater depth – and supplies a different selection of evidence – please see the (January 15, 2013) piece on Columbus by Greek-Polish historian Miltiades Varvounis, at the Lithuanian historical website Draugas News.

Why reinvent the wheel?

In any case, Manuel Rosa himself – who's lived a quarter century with this material, and persevered doggedly to make his findings known – should be making a webinar appearance soon on the members' page at Ancient Origins. Have your questions ready. 

Beyond that, there is no remedy but to read the book itself. In fact, your own engagement with Rosa's "untold story" could have meaningful side effects – on more sides than one.

S
ooner or later, this new Columbus paradigm must address the English-speaking world. Attracting the attention of a major American publisher is the next logical step, for this is where the promotion and distribution capacity exists to put Rosa's Columbus on trial in the verbal venue that's most critical to its establishment as fact – or its conclusive refutation. Why this hasn't happened yet is a mystery to me. 

Over the past decade, Columbus: The Untold Story has come out in four other European languages – with sufficient mainstream coverage and authoritative acclaim, I would think, to warrant its widespread promotion in English. An option on the movie rights is being discussed. What's more, the limited edition that Outwater Media Group published, to mark the 500th anniversary of Columbus' death on May 20, includes four completely new chapters – about a fourth of the book's entire content, in its present form. None of this remarkable material appeared in the earlier, Portuguese, Spanish, Polish or Lithuanian editions.

A couple years back, when I re-read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I learned that its author had submitted the manuscript to well over a hundred publishers before one of them took a chance on what would become an American classic. When my wife treated me a few months back to a movie on the life and work of Thomas Wolfe, I was again reminded of how blind the professionals – in any field, perhaps, not just publishing – can be to work of extraordinary merit.

I doubt that Manuel Rosa's Columbus will prove that hard to project . . . via the world's de facto lingua franca. But even so, and with a nod to its minor flaws in diction and formatting, I'd still wager $25 that the Outwater edition's likelihood of becoming a collector's item is a better bet than $25 in random stocks or bonds these days.

But whether you ever invest your money in the purchase of, or go so far as to actually read, Columbus: The Untold Story, you have no reason to apologize. Book reviews exist largely to acquaint curious readers with the gist of writings they would never have time to explore for themselves. When and where to drill down deeper is a call that each of us makes intuitively, on his own – another function that book reviews can help us fulfill.

L
imited editions and radically new viewpoints are seldom discussed, or even alluded to, in the mainstream. When they do make some appearance, it's more than likely these upstarts will be dismissed out of hand.

Thus, The Kirkus Review gave a lukewarm assessment to Rosa's book recently – in which, nevertheless, it was conceded that Columbus: The Untold Story is "enjoy[able]," even "enthralling," and that Rosa's denial of the long-established, Italian-peasant Columbus is essentially well founded and correct. But in the last analysis, we are not to take this new interpretation of Columbus seriously. Two overarching reasons are suggested in the brief review; neither holds up to scrutiny.

To begin with, rejecting the author's controversial portrait of Columbus because it "assuredly violates Occam's razor" sounds more intelligent at first blush than it really is. The assertion is an amalgam of straw man and non-sequitur fallacies; its persuasive force derives purely from legerdemain. In effect, Kirkus Review is misrepresenting the very range and abundance of data that Rosa has assembled as "needless complexity," whereas (in my view) it's this very richness and fullness of documented evidence that most effectively solidifies the impression of Rosa's nobly-born Cristóbal Colón as the real McCoy. 

Kirkus Review gives no indication that Rosa's logic is askew, that his facts are insufficient . . . or non-factual. Ridicule, ad hominem attacks, and bald assertions are other devices of fallacious reasoning that one may commonly observe in criticisms such as this, where an argument is being rejected without the provision of real grounds for doing so.

As many – including, apparently, the nameless critic at Kirkus Review – are ever more boldly conceding, it's the venerable, Pulitzer-Prize-winning account of a Samuel Eliot Morison, say, that deserves to be laughed offstage, like some long-naked emperor. Yet the meticulously assembled findings of a Manuel Rosa are dismissed with a lightness of humor, a levity, which, while not open ridicule, clearly conveys the message that Rosa's thesis is a joke.

Besmirchment of the author's character, similarly, is so gentle that it's almost inconspicuous: he's put down for being "understandably defensive." However mild or muted it may sound – along with its presumption of guilt (or insufficiency) – this element of derision in the critic's judgment is still a twisted – underhanded – i.e., dishonest, and therefore invalid argumentative technique.

In the lack of any real evidence or proof, we are left at the end with nothing more substantial than a bald assertion, from an unidentified reviewer, to the effect that Manuel Rosa's book is "ultimately unconvincing."

Secondly, to reject Rosa's Columbus as a "conspiracy theory" is to beg the question. If the author has failed to demonstrate that Columbus was a conspirator, it's fair to expect a critical reviewer to give some indication of how Rosa has fallen short. Tagging Rosa's case with an overused buzzword in no way accomplishes this – a buzzword which, by the way, is wonderfully attuned to the mass confusion of consciousness in our times, as it manages to unify both stigma and accuracy within the same epithet. 

L
ivelihood, career and reputation are hard-won assets few today would put at risk for the sake of some obscure truth that Received Opinion (in whatever field, for whatever reason) has not affirmed. Professional intellectuals are no exception. Their opinions about paradigm-busting ideas may be expected to bend with the breeze of the hour – which is why evaluations like the one at Kirkus Review are practically useless in helping us determine whether a book like Columbus: The Untold Story, is worth reading – and almost certainly worse than useless as a filter for what the attentive public can safely ignore.

Seismic shifts build up slowly around big ideas, gathering force over time, until a critical mass arises – much as the scales in an old-fashioned candy shop rest solidly with the leaden weight, then very quickly even up as just a last few pieces are dropped onto the other side of the balance.

Fresh and powerful ideas whose very real merit conflicts with dominant outlooks and interests will typically acquire the status of open secrets, or (which is much the same) they'll languish amidst a conspiracy of silence. 

Under such circumstances, nothing that's consistent with the premise that there isn't an elephant in the room is going to require serious proof. But valid demonstrations to the contrary – especially if they're effective – will be at first ignored, next ridiculed, and then ever more heatedly resisted as the courageous proponents of truth and reason persist . . . until, of course, the tipping point is reached, whereon Received Incognizance will fizzle and disappear as quickly as spittle on a hot stove. 

T
he present-day, revisionist perceptions of Columbus have succeeded mainly at transforming his faded glory into esteem and sympathy for the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. Of course, there is merit in this expansion of awareness and fellow feeling – quite apart from its common misuse for divisive political ends.

The current shift away from a Euro-centric perspective has surely reduced the potential impact that any radical reinterpretation of Columbus' identity is going to have on public consciousness.

Moreover, the fast pace of modern life, the short attention spans that nearly everyone is conditioned to, and the frightening volatility of current events will also diminish the public's sense that a new take – on the debated origins of some iconic figure from half a millennium ago – has much topical importance. 
                                                                        
Notwithstanding all of this, questions about the role and identity of Columbus remain intriguing, and potentially instructive, for there must be few historical figures whose character has been so firmly established, so broadly accepted – and yet remains so wildly inaccurate – as that of Christopher Columbus. 

The knowledge that we're drawn to seek rarely comes without its by-products . . . unanticipated reverberations of understanding that have the potential to deepen and sensitize our minds beyond what we could have imagined was possible. (Note the reverse is also true: steeping one's mind in filth and pabulum will surely defile and vulgarize it.)

Those who've gone on to read Columbus: The Untold Story – and thereby explored, at what is arguably their cutting edge, the questions at issue here – have to some degree exercised and challenged their minds, sharpening thereby out-of-the-box perception skills that may then be further honed through contact with other, commonly held mis-perceptions. 

Make no mistake: this world – awash in fraudulence and make believe – requires desperately the application of just such mental arts.

Society's allocation of trust has been all too commonly misguided. All too often it's the experts and anointed managers who – either by design, a lack of caring, or sheer ineptitude – facilitate the greatest injuries. Iatrogenesis is a notorious case in point, though politics, education, banking and the law come to mind at once as other major fields where abuse and charlatanism have been institutionalized.

W
hen such conditions become extreme, it's more vital than ever that freedom-loving individuals at the grassroots – an unsung minority of maybe one to three percent – mobilize their passion for truth, in whatever domain has captured their enthusiasm, and wherever they find the offenses of wrong against right and decency to have passed all reasonable bounds.

Often enough, truth does prove stranger than fiction – though it scarcely follows that a new explanation is true merely because it offends conventional thinking. 

In the case at issue, it's not only the time-worn Italian Columbus being increasingly perceived as a myth that's ready to collapse; what's far more astonishing – and (so far) insufficiently acknowledged – is the monumental fraudulence of the history that the myth inhabits, based on documents falsified centuries ago, to obscure a conspiracy, a history that's infused with deeply scrambled identities, phony voyages of discovery, and all the treacherous cunning of power politics.

That such a rotten conceptual edifice has occupied such a conspicuous place in the landscape of our past – over hundreds of years – is an observation that ought to give us pause. Shouldn't we be asking ourselves what else we might be that wrong about? 

Over the past decade, the comments of countless other readers, posting online, have confirmed my sense that Rosa's Columbus is a highly plausible and finely depicted candidate to fill the void left by the myth.

So, at the end of the day – independent thinker and eclectic reader that I am – why is my opinion any more credible than that of some anonymous book reviewer at a respected intellectual watering hole? Probably it isn't. But the issue is by no means resolved. If you're interested enough to have read this far, it's probably time for you to get on with it and read the book – then throw the weight of your conviction onto whichever side of the controversy it belongs.

Every myth that's dispelled, every error and deception that's exposed, every cleanup of every toxic mental spill, contributes in some way to the recovery of our moral environment – the unpredictable knock-on effects of which may prove more salutary than yet seems possible. 

Further Reading

Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation, Patrick Wood

The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life, Eviatar Zerubavel

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, Nassim Taleb

The Transformation of War, Martin van Creveld

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/manuel-rosa/colombus-the-untold-story/





2 comments:

Mayleen Rodriguez said...

Cristobal colon is Christopher Columbus in Spanish

Manuel Rosa said...

Marlene Rodriguez, that is wrong.
Cristóbal Colón in Spanish does not translate to Christopher Columbus in Latin (which is what English language uses)
Cristóbal Colón in Spanish translates to Christopher Colon in Latin.
The Pope always wrote in Latin and all of the Pope's letters call him Christoforum Colon and never Columbus.

"Columbus" in Latin is equal to "Paloma" in Spanish and not to "Colon" in Spanish

Cristobal Colón's son said the the name COLON came from Greek for "MEMBER" which is correct as our "colon" and "semicolon" come from the Greek κῶλον.
THUS: cōlon ‎(“a member of a verse of poem”), from Ancient Greek κῶλον ‎(kôlon, “a member, limb, clause, part of a verse”).

So your statement that "Cristobal colon is Christopher Columbus in Spanish" errs in accepting the wrong translation that has been in place since April 29, 1493 when the Italians incorrectly printed the name of Colon as "Colombo".... This mistranslation error by the Italians in a letter that was published all over Europe is responsible for all the confusion that has gone on for 500 years around Cristobal Colón's true identity.