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The Royal Commentaries of the Incas and General History of Peru, Abridged Abridged Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0872208438
ISBN-10: 0872208435
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Editorial Reviews

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Karen Spalding's abridgment of Livermore's translation is an excellent example of what a sourcebook for classroom use should be. It has a wonderfully enlightening Introduction and the texts are well selected, allowing students to grasp the breath, complexity, and importance of Garcilaso's work. This book enables teachers and professors to expose their students to a unique literary, historical, and artistic production by a mestizo who reflects on both conquest and miscegenation in early colonial Peru. --Tamar Herzog, Stanford University

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Abridging fifteen hundred pages to a concise two-hundred-page book, Karen Spalding has provided educators with a text that makes this important author accessible to undergraduates. . . . By publishing both parts of his history together . . . Spalding encourages students to compare the rational Inca state with the corruption anad deception of Spanish administrators--exactly as Garcilaso had intended. . . . Spalding's abridgment of Garcilaso carefully includes excerpts from the major issues detailed in Garcilaso's rich history. --R. Jovita Baber, (University of Illinois-Champaign), in The Sixteenth Century Journal

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Karen Spalding has taken this acclaimed translation of both Royal Commentaries and its less-often-read second part, General History of Peru, to produce an outstanding abridged version of the complete work aimed at undergraduate students but that is also appropriate for a learned general audience curious about Peru's Inca past and the Spanish conquest. . . . This is an excellent introduction to a classic of Latin American Letters. By editing both parts together and giving them equal space, Spalding enables readers to see how Garcilaso argued that the Inca leaders prepared Andean people for the arrival of Christianity and that this possibility was tragically destroyed by the greed and lack of virtue of the conquistadores, who destroyed the social and economic basis of Inca society. --Luis Millones Figueroa, Colby College

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About the Author

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Karen Spalding is Professor of History, University of Connecticut, and the author of Huarochiri: An Andean Society Under Inca and Spanish Rule (Stanford University Press, 1984).

Harold V. Livermore is Professor Emeritus of Spanish and Portuguese, University of British Columbia.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Pub Co; Abridged edition (September 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872208435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872208438
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Considered the most important text from colonial Peru, Garcilaso de la Vega was a mestizo Peruvian born of a Spanish conquistador and an Inca noblewoman. He was born into a relatively privileged position in Cusco soon after the submission of the Incas, and he identified very much with his Inca roots. While his book was censored by the Spanish Crown and the Roman Catholic Church, he aimed to improve the image of Peru's indigenous people. He deftly did so within the censorship constraints. His account of Inca life before the Spaniards is clearly biased not only because of his aim, but also because the Incas hadn't developed writing. Their history is told and retold orally through the generations, and Garcilaso experienced that tradition via extended family on his mother's side. So a little unreliable in that department, but the most interesting part of this book was the second half, which details the countless small wars between rivaling factions of Spaniards in the first years after the conquest. The Spaniard conquistadores fought various wars among themselves with the stakes being all the fruits of the conquered Incas' labor. It illustrates the caudillo mentality in Latin America, a major reason why Latin American nations have fallen behind North America and Western Europe.
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This book provides some terrific insights from an original source for anyone looking to enhance understandings of the Inca and their Conquest. A terrific complement to McQuarries' Last Days of the Incas and Hemmings' Conquest of the Incas.
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The fact that this book was ever allowed to be printed was amazing! There were several who tried to prevent it from being published. A must read before your trip to Peru. A complete understanding of the history of the Inca Empire. These were a very advanced thinking people. One wonders what would have happened if the Spaniards would have never arrived and destroyed the culture. Maybe there would be a United States of South America with one president and even more contributions to the world from these very intelligent and wonderful people.
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