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The Conquest of New Spain (Classics) Paperback – 26 Jul 1973
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About the Author
Spanish historian Bernal Diaz del Castillo (c.1492-1584) was a soldier in the army of the conquistador Cortes in the attack on the Aztecs.
J M Cohen translated widely from French and Spanish, including for Penguin Classics Montaigne's Essays and Cervantes' Don Quixote.
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Top customer reviews
Anyone with even just a passing interest in South America history should grab a copy. It's easily one of the most gripping and interesting books I've ever read.
The story is translated from the original Spanish of a soldier who traveled with Hernan Cortes and his small band of soldiers, who eventually overthrew a rich and powerful civilisation.
Bernal Diaz' story starts with his involvement in a couple of early investigations of the Mexican coast, moving onto his expedition with Cortes. He explains the movements and battles in detail, meetings between 2 cultures who didn't really know what to make of each other, building towards the incredible climax of fearsome resistance and house to house fighting in the fall of Tenochtitlan.
A truly amazing book that is a must read for anyone with an interest in history.
However, prospective buyers ought to be aware that this edition cuts out significant portions of the text on really quite important sections - for instance, the Tepeaca campaign; the arrival of Panfilo Narvaez; and others - and so it is no subsitute for consulting the full book in its Spanish original in a good library.
Still, it is better than nothing.
While there are notable inaccuracies and biases in Diaz's account, the editor (J.M. Cohen)provides an excellent interpretation of this primary document and points the reader in the right direction as far as what interpretation to give Diaz's text (written when the former soldier was a very old, and probably bitter, man). However, through no fault of the editor, Diaz suffers from considerable verbal diahorea and much of his account is neither intersting or relevant. Nevertheless, this is one of the most important and complete contemporary documents on the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, and also one of the few to survive.
Helps you to understand the scale of what was achieved, how it was achieved, and what drove them to achieve.
Excellent. Written in a straightforward manner. Read it, then read it to my children who found it gripping.
I almost put the book down, its style was so dry. But if you can get a quarter of the way in, it picks up and you begin to forgive Diaz's lack of flair. It's a fascinating document in itself. Worthwhile reading.
The basic facts are not disputed, and reveal the extraordinary military valour of Cortez and most of his men. He gives weight to existing tribal conflicts, the role of religious beliefs and also illustrates Cortez's manipulative cunning and great love of love of gold, even going as far as cheating his own men.
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