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The Memoirs of the Conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo - Volume 1  By  cover art

The Memoirs of the Conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo - Volume 1

By: Bernal Díaz Del Castilllo,John Ingram Lockhart - translator
Narrated by: David Prickett
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Publisher's Summary

Relive the history, adventure, tension and dangers faced by the Conquistadors, led by Hernan Cortes - the Alexander of the Americas - as they make their way along the coast of the new world before delving deep into it’s heartland to clash wits and do battle with the mighty Aztec Emperor Moctesuma (aka Moctezuma, aka Montezuma). 

This memoir is an autobiographical account of the events as witnessed by Bernal Diaz - a Conquistador on that journey - a man from Spain who desperately hoped to carve out a life of riches for himself in the new world and instead found himself on an epic journey of conquest, whilst desperately fighting to stay alive, in previously unknown and unimagined lands. This is a true tale written in his own hand and translated into English.  

It is a gripping account of the events from the soldiers' viewpoint as each day becomes a battle for survival against incredible odds and could easily be mistaken for a work of fiction. Each chapter is filled with jaw dropping details of the journey into that world - a journey that has long since been forgotten and can now be rediscovered. It is a true tale of exploration, adventure and daring that recaptures the spirit of the age and the uncertainties of life as each side struggles to come to grips with the first cataclysmic meeting between two empires from the old and new worlds.  

This is a chapter by chapter account of how these two powerful forces dealt with the knowledge of each others existence and is a very personal account of the journey of this one Conquistador. A tale made even more compelling by virtue of the fact that it is 100 percent true – yet 100 percent unbelievable.

Public Domain (P)2018 David Prickett

What listeners say about The Memoirs of the Conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo - Volume 1

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wow!

everyone that cares about TRUTH in history, listen to this, amazing...both on the part of the Indians, and the conquistadors. Please, Please, do volume 2!

6 people found this helpful

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No spanish version!!!!

no good spanish pronunciation, difficult to understand, sometimes difficult to follow
you need to have the book in spanish

5 people found this helpful

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First hand account of the Conquest of Mexico

This is only one of a couple of first-hand accounts written about the conquest of Mexico. Which in my mind is one of the most amazing points of history. People ask if you could go back in time, what would you like to witness, for me this is it. I have read this book numerous times and enjoy it every time. It starts out a little slow as they move through the Yucatan and then into what is today Mexico. It is said that Diaz wrote his story after reading the account written by Cortes's secretary Gomara. Diaz felt Gomara had written the account to glorify Cortes rather than get the facts straight. Diaz wrote this in his old age while living in what is today Guatemala. It tells about the travel through Mexico, the tribes of Native peoples encountered, then the entrance into Teotihuacan and his meeting of the emperor. It talks about the Aztec people and their interactions with the Spaniards. Then the destruction of the Aztec empire.
It is an incredible story, take some of the details with a grain of salt and realize that another culture seen through a foreigners eyes can be difficult.
I read that there is a series coming out about this story on Amazon staring Javier Bardem, which if true I am really looking forward to. This is a great chance to get the book before the series comes out.
The narration is a little robot like, but stick with it.

5 people found this helpful

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Epic!! True!! Sad!!

Extremely Entertaining! especially if your into listening to true historical events, & there's no true historical event quite like this one

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Terrible narrator!

We were so excited to listen to this on our road trip but the narrator’s Spanish pronunciations were so bad we couldn’t listen to it! His Anglo pronunciations of Spanish names and places were horrendous. Needs to be narrated in English by a person that can speak Spanish too!

1 person found this helpful

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A must read for anyone in the Americas.

Beyond imagination the reality that Spaniards and Indigenous people faced.
Well written by a witness of the conquista of Mexico.

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A True Classic

I'd read a different translation of this book years ago so I knew the story going in but it was great even the second time around. There's a lot of different translations out there but they're all roughly consistent. The book I had read years ago had footnotes throughout explaining what the original text said and why they chose certain translations of that. But that's more for some diehard nerd not necessarily the casual reader/listener. One thing unusual about this book, not in a bad way, is that the 'chapter titles' are so very long. That was mentioned in the previous book I had read. Bernal Diaz wasn't a book writer and didn't seem to grasp that titles were supposed to be fairly short. But Bernal Diaz DOES understand linear storytelling. Even though the events related in this book were written half a century after the events took place the story doesn't have gaps or errors that say two different things (how could this person be in this place if he is mentioned as being at this other place hundreds of miles away at the same time?!?!) so it doesn't do that. Bernal likely forgot some things, forgot to write down the exact or correct dates of events (he even left placeholder empty spots for dates in the original text) but it's roughly accurate and embellished only as much as his memory has changed the events, He was trying to tell it as he remembered it and it truly is an epic story. This book was a response to a different book written in his life by Gomara which he repeatedly points out the inaccuracies of.
The narrator definitely makes some horrible Spanish pronunciation missteps but not so much as to distract from the story.

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wow

It was an amazing first hand account of the conquest of Mexico! Thoroughly detailed and entertaining!

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Are you kidding me! Why not use Spanish Narrator?

I found it difficult to understand most of the Spain and Mexica regions, territories, historical player's names, and battle names because of the narrator's British accent. It sounds like a narration of the movie '300'.

This was simple folks... A memoir written by a Spaniard should be narrated by a Spaniard or someone who can pronounce Spanish nouns.

I couldn't finish this... a wasted credit. It made Bernal Diaz de Castillo words seem inauthentic which is a huge disservice to a major historical event in American history.

Do better Audible.

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A first person eye witness to the Cortez invasion

Inca's called themselves Mexicans. The capital being Mexico. Cortez was sent to open trade with the natives. But they were spurred on by their revulsion of the frequent human sacrifices to their Gods and the allure of gold. Interesting.

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  • swampedbybunnies
  • 12-31-18

An Excellent First Hand Account

I read the old penguin edition of this many years ago, and was fascinated by it at that time, so decided to invest in this.

What set's Diaz's account aside from many other military memoirs is that he was there at the centre of it, and for most of the Conquest of New Spain. He never puts himself at the centre of the narrative or blows his own trumpet - he was a simple soldier in the midst of an extraordinary enterprise. He is also very humble, and he is at pains to point out that his account will differ in some essentials from those of more August Personages, because, well, it is actually the truth. Obviously the truth is a variable commodity in any history, but the reader does believe that Diaz is describing the events as he saw them, rather than inserting any political or self promoting narrative.

What also drives it is the cataclysmic thrust of events. Even with the benefit of hindsight and modern attitudes, the Aztecs were a totalitarian, blood soaked culture impossible to like (sorry cuddly apologists -see what actual archaelogists say rather than the politically motivated portraying them as an innocent Alternative Culture), and Diaz gives a human face to the band of roughneck adventurers that brought their Empire down.

I was a little thrown by the Reader's accent at first (Australian? New Zealand? Not Spanish?) but once I'd got over that I sat back and enjoyed the narrative. Hopefully Volume Two is soon to follow.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-02-20

Wow, just wow.

Very real written. Wow. It really takes you back to experience what they all went through. Just a remarkable story, cannot believe that really happened, but what better way to get an account of what happened than from someone there.
I want part 2 come on audible get it together.

1 person found this helpful