Following in the footsteps of the greatest Spanish adventurers, Michael Wood retraces the path of the conquistadors from Amazonia to Lake Titicaca, and from the deserts of North Mexico to the heights of Machu Picchu. As he travels the same routes as Hernán Cortés, Francisco, and Gonzalo Pizarro, Wood describes the dramatic events that accompanied the epic sixteenth-century Spanish conquest of the Aztec and Inca empires. He also follows parts of Orellana’s extraordinary voyage of discovery down the Amazon and of Cabeza de Vaca’s arduous journey across America to the Pacific. Few stories in history match these conquests for sheer drama, endurance, and distances covered, and Wood’s gripping narrative brings them fully to life.
Wood reconstructs both sides of the conquest, drawing from sources such as Bernal Diaz’s eyewitness account, Cortés’s own letters, and the Aztec texts recorded not long after the fall of Mexico. Wood’s evocative story of his own journey makes a compelling connection with the sixteenth-century world as he relates the present-day customs, rituals, and oral traditions of the people he meets. He offers powerful descriptions of the rivers, mountains, and ruins he encounters on his trip, comparing what he has seen and experienced with the historical record.
As well as being one of the pivotal events in history, the Spanish conquest of the Americas was one of the most cruel and devastating. Wood grapples with the moral legacy of the European invasion and with the implications of an episode in history that swept away civilizations, religions, and ways of life. The stories in Conquistadors are not only of conquest, heroism, and greed but of changes in the way we see the world, history and civilization, justice and human rights.
©2011 Michael Wood (P)2011 AudioGO
“[An] accessible, literate, and lively book.” (Amazon.com, editorial review)
“The digestible narrative provides a provocative overview of a historical episode that was both magnificent and shameful.” (Booklist)
“A handsome, lucidly written narrative of events that were, for the most part, a triumph of greed, brutality, and blood.” (Houston Chronicle)
If you love Conquistador history as I do start out with this book as it is a good primer on the subject. Then follow it with 'Conquistador' by Buddy Levy and 'The Last Days of the Incas' by Kim MacQuarrie. Both books can be found on Audible.com and go into much more depth. After that go on Amazon and pick up the hard copy of 'Fernando Cortes His Five Letters of Relation to the Emperor Charles V'. This is a two volume set that are the actual dispatches from Cortes to the King. I picked my copy up for $20. Lastly read the 641page 'The Conquest of the Incas' by John Hemming available in hardcover and paperback cheap from lots of used book sellers... just do a search.
I focus mainly on History, Endurance Sports and Science/Speculative Fiction books.
Maybe not again, but it has inspired me to learn more about the Inca's Aztecs and Mesa-American cultures. Fascinating.
In the later part of the book the author describes the yearlong trek of several ship wrecked Conquistadors that were the archetype of "going native". I found this particularly interesting and provided a lot of insight into the daily lives of native people.
I thought he did a great job, and he added to the story in many ways. His British accent was well suited to the primary material and his Spanish affectations were helpful in distinguishing Incas rules in particular. Well done.
I am not really a movie fan. This book is broken into 3 primary stories, all of which are well known through historical documentation. the author travels to these areas and brings the stories to life through his first person account of the terrain and people he encounters. I have a novice interest in anthropology and this provided a great introduction and overview into this subject.
This book is not revisionist history, nor does it attempt to rationalize European colonialism. It is a fair account of a difficult period in world history, but one that had some level of inevitability. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding more about how the Americas were formed. Very well done.
Its a great Audiobook I really enjoyed it its hard for me to rank it but its one of my favorites so far.
I can compare it to Warlords Of Mexico both are rich in details and makes you feel like your their in 1500s america. also i love how both authors add quotes from the original conquistadores and mention their written testimonies in the audiobook.
For me was with Cabeza de Vaca's travels and how he confronted the spaniards at the end of his travels.
Audiobooks that I enjoy i seldom listen to them in one sitting i prefer to listen to them at different times to take time think and imagine the world witin the book.
Love how at the end of the audio book the author adds the testimony of the repentant conquistador, and how he asks forgiveness from god from the atrocities he suffered upon the indians of the americas!
I expect historical books to be dry and boring reads. The author in this books takes great steps to keep the story of the conquest of the new world live. The book reads more like a story unfolding rather than a statement of the historical record. The events are made even realer by the authors descriptions of the current places which he encounters as he follows the footsteps of the conquistadors.
This is a great book that is well worth a second listen. This is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages. My 12 year old son has been listening to it, and finds it to be very enjoyable.
The author presents a one sided story of this paradigm era in history of the New World. It would have read far better if the author had not conceived a conclusion prior to chapter 1.
Wood does a good job of portraying the unbridled ambition that drove the conquest of the new world. This wa a very engaging read that mixed the history with the modern day quest to see the areas and understand the people of today that remain from the indigenous first people and the mixing of the foreign invaders.
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