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The Aztecs (Peoples of America) [Paperback]

Michael E. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

20 Sep 2002 0631230165 978-0631230168 2nd Edition
This book is a vivid and comprehensive account of the Aztecs, the best–known people of pre–Columbian America. It examines their origins, civilization, and the distinctive realms of Aztec religion, science, and thought. It describes the conquest of their empire by the Spanish, and the fate of their descendants to the present day in Central Mexico, making use of the results of the latest excavations, historical documentation, and the author′s first–hand knowledge. There is also a fascinating and detailed account of the daily life of the Aztec people, including their economy, family life, class system, and food.

This second edition updates the original text with new descriptions of major archaeological sites such as Malinalco and Tlatelolco and expanded coverage of codices, religion, and areas distant from the capital. Dozens of photographs and illustrations have been added for this edition, making this the most informative and up–to–date treatment of Aztec civilization.

Product details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 2nd Edition edition (20 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631230165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631230168
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,397,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"Michael Smith is widely recognized as one of the few scholars whose work on Aztec society has creatively combined both archaeological and ethnohistoric methods. This research experience bears fruit in his revised edition of The Aztecs, an authoritative scholarly work that incorporates the results of the most recent research, but which, at the same time, is written in a style that makes it an ideal textbook for college courses."
Richard E. Blanton, Professor of Anthropology, Purdue University

"Smith uses evidence from Aztec archaeology, ranging from the Templo Mayor to rural farmsteads, to complement the traditional picture based on chronicles and art history. The strength of this book is his synthesis of the social archaeology of everyday Aztec life established by recent excavations."
Norman Hammond, Professor of Archaeology, Boston University

From the Publisher

Blackwell Publishers
This book is a vivid and comprehensive account of the Aztecs, the best-known people of pre-Columbian America. It examines their origins, civilization, and the distinctive realms of their religion, science, and thought. Employing the results of the latest excavations, all available historical documentation, and the author's first-hand knowledge of Aztec sites and artifacts, it describes the conquest of their empire by the Spanish, and their present-day survival in central Mexico. Using new evidence, the volume reconsiders the luxurious lifestyles of the nobility and reinterprets the role of religion in imperial rule and daily life. THE AZTECS describes the arrival of Cortès in 1519, his conquest of the empire, and the spread of European diseases that decimated the population and brought the Aztec civilization to an end. In conclusion it illustrates how the Aztec people and language survived, and form a vital part of contemporary Mexican culture. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
With these words Bernal Diaz del Castillo, a soldier in Hernando Cortes's conquering army, expressed his amazement at the Aztec capital city. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The King Of All Aztec Books! 11 Feb 2004
This is simply the best Aztec book you could ever read! If you only purchase one book on the fascinating ancient civilisation of the Aztecs, make sure it is this one!
This book contains absolutely everything you could want to know about the Aztecs, from the Aztec diet and lifestyle, to human sacrifice, Gods, myths and ceremonies.
Some History books can be too complex in their writing, leaving the reader confused but Smith writes in a way that is completely straightforward and readable, getting down to the real gritty facts which makes this book such a fascination to read. None of the chapter are boring or repetitive, the writing flows nicely and the history is easy to comprehend. Diagrams and black and white photos enhance the writing but even though they are not in colour, they contribute greatly to the understanding of the Aztec world.
I cannot praise this book highly enough. I recommend this book to everyone who has an interest in the Aztecs, whether you are studying it or just have a keen interest in the subject.
This is a must buy, i guarantee you won't be disappointed. It's a fantastic book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Overview 30 Oct 2003
By R. Albin - Published on
This is an excellent summary book on Aztec civilization. Well organized and written clearly, this book is distinguished from prior overviews by its integration of archaelogical information that has permitted some understanding of the life of the majority of Aztec commoners. Smith covers Aztec history, the physical and ecological basis of their society, agriculture and economy, art and religion, and the organization of Aztec polities. The book is illustrated well. This is definitely the best single book I have read on this topic and has an excellent bibliography for those wishing to pursue the literature in depth. This book is part of the Peoples of America series published by Blackwell. I've read another book in this series, The Incas by D'Altroy, which is first rate. The publishers deserve a pat on the back for producing this highly informative series.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very readable introduction to the Aztecs 20 Oct 2000
By Dudley B. Smith - Published on
I'm an engineer, not a historian or archeologist, yet I very much enjoyed this book. It didn't get boring, and made learning about the life of the Aztecs interesting. It was scholarly yet accessible.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is keen!!! 13 April 2006
By Joseph K. Dittmer - Published on
I've read a few books on Aztecs and this one is somewhat unique in that in addition to using textual sources, it gives a good deal of focus to the archaeolgical record as well. This perspective gives a fuller view of Aztec society as a whole, and illuminates the lives of commoners as well as those of nobles. This perspective, along with Smith's expertly and well written explanation of the Archaeology behind this perspective is fascinating. That is why this book is so keen. Also the pics are pretty nifty as well.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Well Organized Introduction 21 July 2000
By Walter O. Koenig - Published on
This Book is well organized, illustrated and written. The various aspects of Aztec Civilization and History are organized into seperate Chapters, making this Book both, a good Introduction and Reference Book. A look at the Bibliography reaveals all the right sources. Scholarly, yet accessible.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good read 31 Mar 2011
By Jacob P. Miller - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
this book is well written, giving thorough scholarly information from archeaology and ethnohistoric accounts youll learn from their early migration to the mesoamerican valley to the landing of cortes and even how the aztec nahuatl culture lives on in modern mexico.

michael smith does a great job on delving into the life of the commoners, the nobles and tlatoani.

while maintaining the contentious and often ambigous nature of ancient history this author does a great job at trying to piece it all together from multiple historical accounts.
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