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Publisher's Summary

Cabeza de Vaca's mode of transportation, afoot on portions of two continents in the early decades of the 16th century, fits one dictionary definition of the word "pedestrian". By no means, however, should the ancillary meanings of "commonplace" or "prosaic" be applied to the man or his remarkable adventures. Between 1528 and 1536, he trekked an estimated 2480 to 2640 miles of North American terrain from the Texas coast near Galveston Island to San Miguel de Culiacán near the Pacific Coast of Mexico. He then traveled under better circumstances, although still on foot, to Mexico City.

About a year later, Cabeza de Vaca returned to Spain. In 1540, the king granted Cabeza de Vaca civil and military authority in modern-day Paraguay. After arriving on the coast of Brazil in 1541, he was unable to find transportation by ship to the seat of his governorship. He then led a group of more 250 settlers through 1200 miles of unchartered back country, during which he lost only two men.

Cabeza de Vaca's travels are amazing in themselves, but during them he transformed from a proud Spanish don to lay advocate of Indian rights on both American continents. That journey is as remarkable as his travels. It was this "great awakening" that landed him in more trouble with Spaniards than Indians. Settlers at Asunción rebelled against the reformist governor, incarcerated him, tried to poison his food on two occasions, and finally sent him to Spain in irons. There he was tried and convicted on trumped-up charges of carrying out policies that were the exact opposite of what he had promoted - the humane protection of Indians.

This book examines the two great "journeys" of Cabeza de Vaca - his extraordinary adventures on two continents and his remarkable growth as a humanitarian.

©2012 Texas State Historical Association (P)2017 Texas State Historical Association

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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The Great Pedestrian

Before reading this book, I had never heard of Cabeza de Vaca. His adventures seem to have been surpassed by those of Cortez, Desoto, etc. The book was interesting, but a little hard to follow as an Audible version. The names of people, Indian tribes & dates made it hard to keep straight; I'm sure it would have been much easier if I had a visual version to follow.

The narrator did a pretty good job, but was a little boring at times. Also, in listening instead of seeing, the way some of the book was written was bothersome. The narrator would be talking in third person, then suddenly switch to first person. I'm sure in the written book, there would have been quotations around these parts.

II enjoyed learning more about another Spanish explorer who helped shape the history of our nation. So many of the things that I learned about the early Spanish Conquistadores made them out to be brutal in their travels that this look at a more humanitarian one was refreshing.

I was provided a copy of this audiobook by the narrator/author/publisher and chose to review it.

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Incredible

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

This was a very succinct view of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and the two journeys of this life; his travels between two continents and his role as a humanitarian.

This was very interesting and I really enjoyed learning new things about North and South America and about conquest in general, most of which is seen through Cabeza de Vaca’s experiences, which were incredible.

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Excellent and very resourceful

What made the experience of listening to Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca the most enjoyable?

The narration was great for this historical context. I enjoyed it!

Any additional comments?

This review copy audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost."

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Great History lesson!

Any additional comments?

This is a good easy to listen book, it tells about the travels and adventures of Alvaro Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca in America. Great history lesson!

I like Charles Henderson narrations very much, and as usual, he did an excellent job, however there were a few Spanish names and words that needed better pronunciation, but I only noticed it because Spanish is my first language :, overall he did great!

I received this audio-book free for an honest review by the author, narrator, or publisher. Thank you!!!

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History! You really can learn from the past!

**I was given this audio book for free from Audiobook Boom and the narrator for a honest review.**

This book examines the two great "journeys" of Cabeza de Vaca - his extraordinary adventures on two continents and his remarkable growth as a humanitarian.

I love history. I love learning new things, from new perspectives. Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca does just that! This is an adventure like no other from 1528 to 1541. Most of the information about the Indians and surrounding country side of North and South America at that time was from the misfortune of Cabeza de Vaca. Although misfortune seemed to plague him throughout these years, Donald E. Chipman portrays the tale in such a way that you don't feel sorry for Cabeza de Vaca. Even at the lowest point of his journey, when he thinks he is sure to be killed or tortured there is a lesson to be learned and strength to be gained from sure knowledge.

I know throughout history we are shown that no single race benefited from the exploration and expansion into North and South America. The natives in the areas were both threatening and threatened, as were the explorers. There were both hardships and unique bonds to be had, just as there were instances where the relations between everyone was a peaceful one, but the greater outcome seemed to be one of war and death. This brief novel shows how humans can either turn a situation into a positive outlook or a negative one, which is seen many times throughout history.

Charles Henderson Norman did a good job with narrating this book. At times I had to turn down the volume and I had brief feelings that I was being yelled at by a General or angry grandparent, but his clear speech and not stumbling the names and stating them in the manner he did made me keep everyone straight. There were a lot of names throughout this book and although they are unique to me, were not unique to the time.

If you are interested in learning more history of North and South America in the 1500s, Indians and their culture, or have a better understanding how other countries went about conquering other lands the Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca would be a great addition to your library. If you are wanting to learn more about the man himself and understand his transformation from conquering Spaniard to ruling Governor where he was trying to bring peace to the natives then this novel MUST be added to your collection today!

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Great story, performance can use some work

Where does Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Somewhere in the middle. It was a great story though!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Cabeza de Vaca -- it's about him.

Did Charles Henderson Norman do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Yes.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.

Any additional comments?

This book would be an "A+" book if it were narrated by someone who could speak Spanish as the thick American accent was the most difficult thing to listen to. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.