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The Golden Empire: Spain, Charles V, and the Creation of America Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 23, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 29 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One of history's greatest upheavals plays out as melodrama and picaresque in this rousing saga of the founding of Spain's Latin American empire. Picking up after Cortés's capture of Tenochtitlán in 1522, National Book Award–winning historian Thomas (An Unfinished History of the World) follows the tiny bands of conquistadores as they fan out across two stunned continents, recounting the subjugations of Guatemala and the Yucatan, Pizarro's conquest of the Incan Empire, Orellano's harrowing voyage down the Amazon, and Coronado's vain quests for riches in the heart of North America. His panorama of the conquest depicts a vast criminal improvisation—the Spaniards' favorite tactic was to take Indian potentates hostage and demand a ransom in gold—whose bloody course was further roiled by murderous intrigues and civil wars among its leaders as they quarreled over territory and loot. Focused on the personalities, exploits, and vendettas of individual conquistadores, Thomas's account is almost as chaotic as their adventures; his occasional spotlighting of the distant, preoccupied figure of Spain's King Charles doesn't supply the unifying perspective he wants it to. Still, this story of the desperadoes who stole a hemisphere makes for gripping, old-fashioned narrative history, grand in scope and colorful in detail. Photo inserts; 28 maps. (Aug.)

Review

Advance praise for The Golden Empire
 
“One of history’s greatest upheavals plays out as melodrama and picaresque in this rousing saga of the founding of Spain’s Latin American empire. . . . This story of the desperadoes who stole a hemisphere makes for gripping, old-fashioned narrative history, grand in scope and colorful in detail.”—Publishers Weekly

Praise for Hugh Thomas’s Rivers of Gold
 
“Magisterial . . . a grand and sweeping account of the world’s transformation half a millennium ago.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Big, bold, informative, and meticulously researched. It is the kind of ‘history in the grand manner’ for which Thomas . . . is famous.”—The Washington Post
 
“A larger-than-life mural, at once ruthless, expansive, and colorful.”—The Boston Globe
 
“Thomas is a master of the two staples of well-written histories: character and plot.”—The Miami Herald

“Majestic . . . thrilling prose.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune

Product details

  • Item Weight : 2.45 pounds
  • ISBN-10 : 1400061253
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1400061259
  • Hardcover : 672 pages
  • Dimensions : 6.74 x 1.69 x 9.52 inches
  • Publisher : Random House (August 23, 2011)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
29 global ratings
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Top reviews from other countries

ks chaturvedi
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book on Spain
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 14, 2013
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Tonie M. van Dam
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 3, 2016
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Bel
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor binding
Reviewed in Spain on April 29, 2014
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