The main intention of Kirkpatrick Sale's The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy is to dispel some of the major myths of the discovery of the Americas and of the man who did this discovering. While Christopher Columbus is mostly regarded as a courageous, trailblazing hero, Sale gives us insight into a different side of the explorer: a man who was simultaneously at odds with his European peers and a product of their fatalistic thoughts and who ultimately mismanaged and failed to understand the new lands he explored.
Sale postures that Columbus' journey across the Atlantic was responsible for tremendous tragedy, unleashing genocide upon the Native American populations already dwelling in the "New World" as the result of a European thirst for a mythological "paradise." This voyage resulted in great bloodshed, tremendous loss of life, and horrific ecological damage.
Ultimately, Sale suggests that Columbus didn't just discover paradise; rather, he destroyed it.