- Series: Before Gold: California under Spain and Mexico Series (Book 3)
- Hardcover: 514 pages
- Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; 1 edition (February 16, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0806148683
- ISBN-13: 978-0806148687
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.7 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #755,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Junípero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary (Before Gold: California under Spain and Mexico Series) 1st Edition
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Top customer reviews
His personal sanctity and honesty come through clearly. But his conscious participation in the Spanish Colonial project is just as clear. Spanish culture and Catholicism were interchangeable even if there were massive conflicts between the civil and religious departments. Serra is shown as a proponent of the goal of making Christian Indians into Spaniards who would be reliable sources of labor for Spanish ranchers, farmers, and other businesses. But it is also clear that he really believed he was there to save souls from hell. He had the misfortune to work alongside colonial administrators whom one can only call small-minded and cover-their-butt bureaucrats.
The core of the book are the letters that Serra writes to three groups of people: his Franciscan and ecclesiastical superiors and confreres; administrators in California and in Mexico; and to family and friends in Majorca and elsewhere. The authors have an annoying habit of introducing the material in the letters by summarizing them instead of placing them succinctly in the context of unfolding events. They do so with quotations from the letters and other documents themselves, which means you are reading the same things much more than necessary. They also repeat themselves. I think a good editing could have made it a better book. But I also think you will go far and wide and never find a book so interesting and so filled with multi-layered content.
People interested in learning more about early California history would gain a wide perspective by reading this book.
The book ende, "...Serra’s struggle was his own. His attempt to live out his religious ideals as a missionary among the peoples of America gave his own life its deepest meaning. He profoundly believed that encounters with missionaries would prove more advantageous to eighteenth-century indigenous peoples than the other possibilities that he thought were realistically available to them, specifically domination by soldiers or settlers. In the New Spain of the mid-eighteenth century, this belief was quite reasonable."
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To put my comments in perspective ... I am a history lover, and I do mean lover.Read more
The writing is very detailed and well researched.Read more