Most Americans dont look far beyond Christopher Columbus when it comes to the discovery of America, yet the simple fact that we bear the name of Amerigo Vespucci suggests there is more to the story. And indeed, there is: a trio of young Italian pioneers who were merchants more than explorers and who, while in search of glory and vast profits, battled to become the first to cross the western ocean.David Boyle reveals in Toward the Setting Sun, that the race for America was as much about commerce as it was about discovery and conquest. When Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1453, the long established trade routes to the East became treacherous and expensive forcing merchants of all sorts to find new ways of obtaining and trading their goods. Enterprising young men took to the sea in search of new lands, new routes, and of course, new fortune. The careers of three young men--Columbus, Vespucci and Giovanni Caboto (known to us as John Cabot) would change not only their personal destinies, but that of the New World. Contrary to popular belief, the three not only knew of each other, they were well acquainted--Columbus and Vespucci at various times worked closely together; Cabot and Columbus were born in Genoa about the same time and had common friends who were interested in Western trade possibilities. They collaborated, knew of each others ambitions and followed each others progress. The intersection of their dreams and business ventures led the way to our modern world and ushered in the end of the medieval age.David Boyle skillfully brings together for the first time the three stories that shaped the race for America and in doing so adds a unique economic and business dimension to the earliest days of our country.

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