From Library Journal
Hassig (anthropology, Univ. of Oklahoma-Norman) traces the development of military technology among the societies of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica from the Olmecs to the Aztecs. Each succeeding culture/empire had greater population density, more effective weapons and military organization, and a greater range of influence. Four empires receive the greatest attention: the Olmecs, Teotihuacan, the Toltecs, and the Aztecs. Although the chronological appearance of weapons such as the maquahuitl (obsidian-bladed broadsword) is noted, Hassig is more concerned with the life cycles of empires than a history of events. He shows militarism to be inevitable in the rise of a powerful state. Though he devotes little space to the religious aspects of Mexican warfare, he effectively contrasts aristocratic and meritocratic societies, showing that meritocracies like the Aztecs can field larger armies. Extensive footnotes and a bibliography fill more than 40 percent of the text. Recommended for academic and large public libraries with strong Latin American or anthropology collections.- Ken St. Andre, Phoenix P.L.
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