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Conquistadors (Radio Collection) [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Michael Wood
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
RRP: £16.33
Price: £14.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Nov 2000 Radio Collection
Since the sixteenth century, we have been persuaded that it was not just superior Spanish weaponry but mental, cultural and moral supremacy that allowed a few hundred heroic Spaniards to triumph over vast armies of barbaric Amerindians.

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd (30 Nov 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563553197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563553199
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 10.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,104,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

"Staggering brutality, heroism and endurance, and immeasurable greed", is the stuff of this 16th-century saga of the cultured Aztecs and Incas in their tribulation with the barbarous Spanish, as told by Michael Wood. He affirms these adventures were "Less of a journey more of a miracle", and certainly the Conquistadors battling through unexplored forests, paddling uncharted rivers, succumbing to altitude and starvation, and perpetrating torture and murder in the search for El Dorado is supernormal if not supernatural. Not satisfied by early finds of gold, these acquisitive prototype guerrillas drove ever on in their determination and desire for more, always at the cost of lives, even including their own relatives.

Complementary to the recent television series in which Michael Wood travelled the routes taken through South and Central America by Cortes, Francisco and Gonzalo Pizzaro, and Amazon journey of Orellana, his concise visualisation and description of the destructive schemes, actions and violence of the Conquistadors, the suffering of their bearers, the impact of smallpox and the breathtakingly beautiful terrain of the Peruvian landscape, make this audio informative and satisfying in its own right. (4 cassettes. Running time 6 hours.) --Lyn Took


"Gripping... the book is a triumph" (Observer) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping 1 July 2003
By "rd99"
This book presents a vivid and enthralling description of the conquest of South and Central America, focusing on four of the key stories. Wood's writing is always clear and his lyrical descriptions really bring the scene alive. The book is lavishly illustrated and the text is frequently interspersed with quotations from the memoirs of the conquistadors and, more interestingly, the writings of the peoples they conquered. The book is rounded off by a discussion of the issue of human rights in relation to the conquest. "Conquistadors" will leave you thirsting to find out more, and I am grateful to the author for providing lots of suggestions for further reading, which I am just beginning to explore. Highly recommended reading for anyone with an interest in South American culture, or the history of the world in general.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lavish book: informative and well written 24 Feb 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I ordered this book I was expecting a standard paperback - but no, this book is nothing of the sort. It's much larger and also contains excellent photographs, drawings and graphical information.

The 16th century Spanish conquest of the Americas had huge implications for global developments, and, along with the British and the French, the Spanish can most certainly lay claim to be among the most influential nations on earth through Empire.

The conquistadors overcame massive odds and (rightly or wrongly) succeeded in colonisation. Such a massive topic cannot of course be adequately covered in a single book; however Michael Wood does an excellent job of highlighting the salient points and developments for the reader.

History is written by the victors, but, in many respects this book also pays homage to the great civilisations which were eclipsed by Spanish aggrandisement - such as the Incas and the Aztecs.

Overall, this book would grace the bookshelf of anyone with an interest in the Americas, Spanish history, Hispanic studies, or even history in general.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio Cassette
While Wood describes the Incas as an illiterate society (despite their many other achievements), he has clearly had access to some form of documentation which allow him throughout this series to present the indigenous people's own reaction to the Spanish invaders. His ability to explore the emotional as well as historic aspect to the conquests - of bewilderment, extraordinary courage, horror and an utter lack of compassion - give an absorbing depth to his account.
My only criticism is more of a frustration that he has not produced a sequel to answer the questions that this audiobook raises. What of the Portuguese and the collonisation of Brazil? Of the conflicts between the Portuguese and the Spanish?
Perhaps the greatest history books leave you thirsty to know more, though. This once certainly achieves that. Hugely recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than just about Cortes & Pizarro 29 July 2004
By Keith Appleyard VINE VOICE
As you read this book, you can imagine it being Michael Wood's speaking script for his TV program.
As well as the stories you would expect about Cortes & Pizarro, I was pleasantly surprised to read of 2 explorers I'd never heard of - Orellana & de Vaca - which made this different to many other books of the same theme.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The time of the Conquistadors not only re-shaped European politics in it's own time, but also has had an enormous effect on the world of today. Even at the time those involved with it knew they were witnessing events unparalled and later Historians have agreed; Karl Marx called it the greatest event in history and he has a good arguement.

Michael Wood has produced a great read which combines historical fact with breathtaking descriptions of the beautiful and special place which is South America. For those of you unfamiliar with the television series this was produced to accompany, Wood follows the trails of four of the great stories of conquest and exploration during the Spanish 'Conquista' of the sixteenth century. In doing so he retells the stories in a way which really helps to get a feel for the lands through which these adventures, and catastrophes, took place; and offers us some stunning photographs of the landscape as well as images from the time. Wood manages to capture the awe and wonder as well as greed of the Conquistadors and offers an insight into how the Native peoples felt, through careful and thorough research twinned with actually being in the places he is writing about.

The book does not either claim to nor does it, offer a comprehensive account of the actions of the Conquistadors. Instead it gives a very good introduction and summary of Spanish presence in the 'New World' which covers the blood shed, violence and greed as well as the extraordinary hardships and (occasional) friendships which occurred. It also gives good accounts of the overthrow of Incan and Aztec civilisations and the incredible journeys of Francisco Orellana and Cabeza De Vaca.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Molerat
This book was published to accompany the BBC television series of the same name, broadcast in 2000. In it, the ever-engaging Michael Wood attempted to retrace the astonishing journeys of four 16th century Spanish adventurers - Cortes, Pizarro, Orellana and Cabeza de Vaca - whilst simultaneously telling their stories.

There are two ways of turning a TV series like this into a book: 1) luxuriate in the journeys past and present and include lots and lots of glossy colour photos, or 2) drop the travelogue stuff and focus on the history. We may assume this paperback is not attempting the former, as it provides a meagre 8 pages of black-and-white pictures, the photos amongst which are so dark as to be barely discernible. Perhaps rd99 and LXIX were describing a different edition when they wrote of the "lavish" illustrations; in this one they're a waste of space.

Neither does Wood give us a history of the conquest of the New World - just four more or less separate stories accompanied by the author's views and descriptions of the scenery. Sort of a Conquista sampler.

On the plus side, Wood never misses an opportunity to relate the Aztec and Inca view of events, which is so often ignored. And his writing exudes charm. As you read, you can almost hear his amiable, comforting drawl - something that always sends my wife straight to sleep when we watch him on the telly. So this book is a pleasant way to pass the time, but with a bit of effort it could have been so much better.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read skillfully told by Michael Wood as he ...
A gripping read skillfully told by Michael Wood as he follows in the footsteps (literally) of the Conquistadors. An exciting, turbulent and ultimately tragic period of history.
Published 2 months ago by Brian Le Phare
5.0 out of 5 stars i enjoy the works of michael woods and this history of ...
i enjoy the works of michael woods and this history of horror and conquest was a great read; book arrived in excellent condition
Recommend this seller.
Published 2 months ago by M. Moffitt
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Great item! I got this as a gift for my partner and he loves it. Would definitely recommend to a friend.
Published 6 months ago by Sinead
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and educational, easy to read and enjoyable
The story of the early Spanish adventurers is told in a clear and simple manner. Nicely written, lucid and above all, entertaining. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mediastarguest
5.0 out of 5 stars absorbing and stimulating
This an excellent introduction to the Spanish conquest of Latin America, which resulted in the almost total destruction of the indigenous civilisations of Incas and Aztecs and the... Read more
Published on 1 Jan 2012 by markr
4.0 out of 5 stars The other
A tragic tale of the destruction of the ancient kingdoms of Aztecs and Incas. A masterful narrative of greed,lust and uncivilised behaviour of the Spanish Conquistadors. Read more
Published on 1 Feb 2011 by Gia
5.0 out of 5 stars Good History, Needed To Be Longer
Hard not to give this book five stars, to be honest. It's an easily accessible read that details the fall of the Aztecs, the Incas, the search for Eldorado (that ended up being a... Read more
Published on 22 May 2010 by Filthy Raider
3.0 out of 5 stars mostly excellent
When wood is dicussing the conquest of the Aztec or Inca empires by a handful of ruthless psychopaths then this book is a riveting read. Read more
Published on 24 Sep 2009 by Chris Chamberlain
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Written
This is the companion title to Michael Wood's brilliant but sadly much-ignored television series on the Conquistadors. Read more
Published on 29 Aug 2008 by D. Evans
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