In his 1843 work History of the Conquest of Mexico, W. H. Prescott crafts a scholarly but absorbing tale of Hernando Cortés’ takeover of Mexico.
A Spanish conquistador, Cortés arrived in Mexico in 1519 with only 500 men. Through strategic alliances with native people and savage violence, Cortés began to conquer Mayan territory. His biggest plunders came when he arrived in the city of Tenochtitlan (described by Prescott as the "Venice of the Western World"). Once there, the Aztec ruler Montezuma tried to placate Cortés with gifts to no avail.
Kerry Shale, who has the rich vocal presence of a newscaster but the delivery of a storyteller, offers a riveting performance of Prescott’s work.
In 1519, Hernando Cortés arrived in Mexico to investigate stories of a wealthy empire. What he encountered was beyond his wildest dreams; an advanced civilization with complex artistic, political, and religious systems (involving extensive human sacrifice) and replete with gold. This was the Aztec empire, headed by the aloof emperor, Montezuma.
With just a handful of men, Cortés achieved the impossible, crushing the Aztecs and their allies, and effectively annexing the whole territory for Spain.
One of the most extraordinary stories of conquest in mankind's history, it is told here in the classic account by the American historian W.H. Prescott.
Public Domain © and (P)2002 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.
This is pre-PC history (the graphic descriptions of human sacrifice among the Aztecs are labeled "barbaric," for example--but the history is accurate and not Euro-centric. The narrative is detailed, but never anything but exciting.
I am Mexican and after reading this book I can only say that I wish my history teachers would have been able to explain & teach the History of the Conquest of Mexico in such an objective & engaging manner. It developed in me deep curiosity and interest for a subject that I have never been interested in before. Definitely I think it is a book that every Mexican should read. I recommend it very much. Great book!
Prescott is remarkable in his eloquent diction and fast-moving narrative. It's true that this account is "pre-PC" in the sense that he uses terms like "barbarian", but it appears very accurate and Prescott tries to let actions speak for themselves, rather than projecting his own viewpoint into them. Prescott's focus seems to be creating a well-written and enjoyable readable account rather than placing blame or advancing a political agenda, as is sadly the case with many contemporary historical accounts.
In summary, great traveling reading for the student of history or casual listener...well-written/adapted work and similarly good narration.
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