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5.0 out of 5 stars The Daddy of all Survival Books., 31 Dec 2013
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Shipwrecked Men (Great Journeys) (Paperback)
For any person with a real interest in the American West like myself, then this is perhaps the daddy of all essential reads. First published in 1542 by Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca, it chronicles the 1527 Spanish Narvaez expedition to explore/colonise what is now the Florida coast of America. It is an astonishing and truly epic tale of survival that eclipses any similar accounts modern or ancient.

After other adventures in 1528 De Vaca and a group of 40 men were shipwrecked on what is now Galveston Island on the shores of Texas. Only he and three other men survived to reach Mexico City after an incredible journey by foot across the American South West to Mexico. As a tale of endurance and hardihood I can only compare it to Apsley Cherry-Garrard's great book of Antarctic survival "The Worst Journey in the World". Over the passage of time De Vaca becomes trader, translator, shaman and is humbled to slave. From this position he comments on the kindness of native American Indians who share their own meagre food with him. His human side still evident in dire circumstances.

Above all this is a tale of what it takes to survive in the most awful of situations. Cabeza De Vaca had survival embedded deep in his DNA. Only four from an original six hundred strong expedition survived, so they clearly had what it took to get through. It is also an important work for its observations on the indigenous American people before their destruction at the hands of so called civilised men. Much of these observations have since been corroborated. This is only a short account and leaves you yearning for more. This little Penguin book from the Great Journeys series is a real bargain. If you want a little more background information then Penguin Classics "Chronicle of the Narvaez Expedition" is probably a better buy. A great little read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story, 25 July 2013
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This review is from: The Shipwrecked Men (Great Journeys) (Paperback)
This is a great introduction to the full extraordinary tale. These books are pocket - or bag - sized and compete with a Kindle for convenience.
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The Shipwrecked Men (Great Journeys)
The Shipwrecked Men (Great Journeys) by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca (Paperback - 1 Feb 2007)
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