Daniel Snowman meets the historian of Columbus, Barcelona, the Millennium, Truth, Civilisations, Food and the Americas.
Felipe Fernández-Armesto’s published bibliography, if printed in its entirety, would take up half this article. Helpfully, many of his books have one-word titles. But the brevity of the titles often belies the immense ambition of the projects they are chosen to encapsulate. ‘I only do one planet,’ replies this self-confessed agent provocateur when asked about his field. And his period? ‘From primeval slime to the future.’
Felipe was born in Britain in 1950 to a Spanish father and English mother, both of them journalists. His father is still recalled affectionately by old-timers in Spain for having filed sympathetic reports to the leading Barcelona paper La Vanguardia from wartime Britain (where he was also, it seems, doing intelligence work for the Allies).