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Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun: Hernando de Soto and the South’s Ancient Chiefdoms 1998 edition Edition

17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0820320625
ISBN-10: 0820320625
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Hernando de Soto's tortuous and futile expedition, from 1539 to 1543, in search of imaginary cities of gold marked the first significant European penetration of what was to become the American South. In his previous work, coauthored with Jerald T. Milanich (Hernando de Soto and the Indians of Florida, LJ 1/93), he made use of the archaeological and documentary evidence to establish part of the long-debated route of this epic trek, as well as the "social geography" of the now extinct native peoples. In this long-anticipated study, the author completes in detail the story of the expedition, its route (which went as far as Texas), and the impact on the native chiefdoms. For the latter, contact with the Old World was an "unimaginable calamity," leading to a long decline brought about by military assault, subsequent destabilization, and epidemic disease. This scholarly work, written in an accessible narrative style is likely to be the definitive work on this subject; highly recommended for public and academic libraries.?William F. Young, SUNY at Albany Lib.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"The definitive work on this subject."--Library Journal

"Hudson has brought alive the world changed by Hernando de Soto and the consequences for those whose home it was."--Times Literary Supplement

"Hudson's masterful new book has raised the level of the discussion for all who will come after him, and he has made an invaluable contribution to the historical understanding of Native American life in the Southeast."--Southern Cultures

"There is much to be learned from this volume. . . . [It] is likely to become the definitive work on the subject."--Latin American Perspectives

"A book of great and lasting importance, making major contributions to geographic, ethnographic, and historical scholarship . . . by far the most persuasive approximation of De Soto's route."--Mississippi Quarterly

"No scholar has spent more energy, enthusiasm and passion in following Governor-General de Soto across the South-East of the United States than Hudson has."--Journal of European Economic History

"This book will stand as the most thorough analysis of the De Soto expedition produced since the 1930s."--Vernon J. Knight Jr., coeditor of The De Soto Chronicles: The Expedition of Hernando de Soto to North America in 1539-1543

"Hovering between specialized archaeological research and compelling lay history, this work is destined for textbook status in the field of de Soto studies, and may shift some roadside markers along the way."--Oxford American

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press; 1998 edition edition (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820320625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820320625
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Zekeriyah VINE VOICE on January 4, 2004
Charles Hudson is one of the greatest authors on the Nations of the Southeastern States, and in this book he turns his attentions towards their early contacts with the Spanish conquistadors in the mid-1500s. The first chapter of the book is nice, giving historical backgrounds and cultural details concerning both the Spanish (who had recently unified their country and having driven the Muslims and Jews out, were eager for more conquests) and the Mound Builders (who were in fact several highly developed civilizations throughout the Southeast).
He then goes on to a very detailed examination of Hernando de Soto. He is examined, and we are given insight into every aspect of his expedition from his arrival in Florida all the way up to the end. The book is read in a linear fashion, making the story much easier to follow and the book focuses on specific places, villages and Nations that de Soto encountered. More than anything, his expedition had a negative impact on the Southeastern civilizations, gradually weakening them through disease, depletions of food and outright murder, rape and kidnappings. This would have such an impact that old Nations eroded away and gave rise to new Nations. Those that encountered the British and Americans later, such as the Five Civilized Nations (Cherokee, Seminole, Creek, Choctaw and Chickasaw), Powhatan Confederation and Tuscarora, were vastly different from their ancestors.
The book closes out with a look at what happened after de Soto's expedition and includes a very thorough bibliography.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T. Carter Ross on August 6, 2001
I bought this book on a whim, but ... wow ... what a journey. Hudson has been intimately involved in combing through the journals and reports of the De Soto expedition, cross-referencing the reports with examinations of the geography of the areas covered and archeological/anthropological studies of the 16th century inhabitants of the region.
Hudson's approach to the expedition is interesting. He is a partisan arguing in favor of the route he delineates for the expedition, but he lays out the journey in a fairly straightforward manner that is very engaging. The Afterward, however, gives a quick rundown of the differences in opinion over the route, the still-unfolding evidence to support Hudson's claims, and what remains to be proven.
All it all, it is a vivid retelling of the first planned European expedition into southeastern North America, which was quite a different place than when much of it was colonized by Europeans a century later. The native cultures were near the end of the moundbuilding Mississippian culture, and Hudson notes how the disruptions of De Soto and his men may have contributed to the eventual changes in native society.
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While reading Tony Horwitz's recent book, "A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World", about his travels through the Americas to rediscover the early explorers and colonists that preceded Jamestown and Plymouth, I became fascinated with those who came to America a full 100 years before Jamestown, particularly Hernando De Soto's 4 year plunge into the wilderness of America with his 600 man army in 1539. In spite of failures by previous Spanish explorers, including one army that lost all but 4 men, De Soto marches throughout the entire southeast from Florida, as far north as Tennessee and North Carolina to as far west as northeast Texas in a vain search for gold and other precious metals. De Soto's journey is fascinating in that he marches through the wilderness and unknown with an unusual measure of confidence while encountering an amazing society of Indian tribes totally unlike what American's perceive of the Indian culture based on their knowledge of American Indians post Jamestown. These tribes had concentrated villages with advanced agricultural development, a networked culture with a central chief, an upper class and they utilized great mounds for the base of the homes of their chiefs and to a lesser degree, their other important tribal members. Based on eye witness accounts left in chronicles and secondary sources, Hudson, tells the story of De Soto's travels and encounters with the Indians that is even more fascinating by Hudson's ability, aided by archeology, to trace a pretty accurate mapping of De Soto's travels. The cruelty inflicted by De Soto and his followers seems counter productive particularly as they are frequently at war with the various tribes they encounter as they in turn depend on the Indians supplies for survival.Read more ›
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Rhyne on April 29, 2001
This book uses journal entries from those who traveled with De Soto to recreate the Spaniards trek through the eastern United States. The book documents everything from the ordinary - such as the number of pigs the Spaniards had to the number of Indians encountered - to detailed and horrific accounts of the brutality the Spaniards exacted on those tribes who did not welcome them with open arms. This book provides a rare look at what life was like for those native to the Southeast on the cusp of great change. A bit sad but a fascinating read, especially if you are interested in gleaning details of pre-contact life for the Southeastern tribes.
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