The Conquest of New Spain Paperback – 14 Jan 2013
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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.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At the start of his book,Diaz apologises to us for his plain style and unvarnished prose and this is one of the reasons this book is such a treat and difficult to put down-other centuries old books can be very hard work to read but not this.The rare occasions Diaz lets us peer into his soul-such as near the end when he describes the fear he felt going into battle with such a terrifying foe,having been nearly taken alive twice-are moving.
This is history at its most thrilling.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First hand, first class account of the conquest of Mexico. Diaz tells us how it was - a soldiers war. His writing is accessible to the modern reader.Published 15 months ago by Oranmhor
Condition of item rated as good. Book was very old and cover had a folod mark on it. The price was fine but description did not reflect the condition of the item.Published on 14 May 2014 by K. Brown
Simply printed primary account of the Conquest of Mexico as told by Bernal Diaz. Personally, I used it for higher-education research and it has proved useful. Read morePublished on 20 Dec. 2013 by Dommy
I bought this book some years ago when I was interested in Latin American history, after having lived there for a year. Read morePublished on 21 Jun. 2012 by Honrus Publicus
When I was about to buy this book, I was afraid that it would not be very precise or impartial, as it was written by a Spanish soldier that took part in the conquest of the Aztec... Read morePublished on 1 Jun. 2012 by Ricardo Lopes
I had read a different interpretation of this book on a pdf file but wanted a hard copy so bought this, it shamelessly cuts out important sections and events, even though in the... Read morePublished on 29 Mar. 2012 by mich