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Conquest: Cortes, Montezuma, and the Fall of Old Mexico Paperback – April 7, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
- William S. Dancey, Ohio State Univ., Columbus
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
But even better . . .
Recent histories of the Spanish Conquest tend to emphasize the atrocities of the conquistadors while upholding the virtues of the indigenous peoples. While well-intentioned (and a needed corrective to chronicles written in the previous 100 years), the approach has an annoying tendency to demonize Europeans, turn the natives into statuary and drain all the drama from the past.
So I'm grateful for Hugh Thomas and his neo-revisionist history. The Spaniards are ultimately the heavies, but presented with all their complexities and ambitions on display (who knew Hernan Cortes could be so interesting?). They aren't completely malevolent.
Similarly, Thomas avoids the Howard Zinn/PC trap of turning America into Eden and Indians into children by detailing the delicate intertwining of politics and religion in the Mexican (aka Aztec) empire, by displaying the cruelty the Mexica could occasionally summon toward their subjects and by placing it all in the proper cultural context -- as with the Spaniards, you understand why they did what they did, even if you don't approve of it.
Wrap an exquisite narrative thread around the whole package and you've got a book for the ages.
This is history that reads like fiction. The world of Mexico before the Conquistadors is so foreign to the Western mind that it reads almost like fiction or fantasy. Yet it all happened, and Mr. Thomas tells it with power and passion. This is a book you owe it to yourself to read. Just amazing and wonderful.
This still is the best book in English on the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Far more than most historians, Thomas explores the interconnections among the leading personalities, both Spanish and Mexican, giving the reader a feeling for the noble and the devious aspects of these sixteenth century people. Politics and the exercise of power emerge as major themes. The author brings out the contingency of history through his analysis of key events that might have gone another way. There was nothing inevitable about Cortes' ultimate success; if he had not been so clever and ruthless, he might have ended up as a human sacrifice in an Aztec temple. As it was, more than half of the conquistadors died, a casualty rate that no modern army would tolerate. The six hundred page text is supplemented by useful appendices. This book would be even better if it were more fully illustrated.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Simply magisterial. This is a fantastic holistic history of the background, contact, war, and eventual fall of the Aztec Empire. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Josh
I had trouble getting through this book. The author's constant use of passive voice and his irrelevant little tangents made this a chore. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Nom_de_Zom
The level of depth Thomas offers in this book is beyond comprehension. However, unless you have an extreme interest in every minute detail of the invasion of old Mexico, it becomes... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Russell Standridge
My husband purchased this book and read it. he seemed to enjoy it as he did not put it down until he finished it. I cannot really give his honest opinion.Published 7 months ago by Shari L Garbez
Excellent Book, great coverage of a truly fascination period of history and the daring audacity of Cortes.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer