Vivid, powerful and absorbing, this is a first-person account of one of the most startling military episodes in history: the overthrow of Montezuma's doomed Aztec Empire by the ruthless Hernan Cortes and his band of adventurers. Bernal Diaz del Castillo, himself a soldier under Cortes, presents a fascinatingly detailed description of the Spanish ...
Vivid, powerful and absorbing, this is a first-person account of one of the most startling military episodes in history: the overthrow of Montezuma's doomed Aztec Empire by the ruthless Hernan Cortes and his band of adventurers. Bernal Diaz del Castillo, himself a soldier under Cortes, presents a fascinatingly detailed description of the Spanish landing in Mexico in 1520 and their amazement at the city, the exploitation of the natives for gold and other treasures, the expulsion and flight of the Spaniards, their regrouping and eventual capture of the Aztec capital. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust theseries to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-datetranslations by award-winning translators."
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This translation of a firsthand account is brief, factual, and to the point. Bernal Diaz was a participant and an excellent chronicler; the one referred to frequently by subsequent authors for authority on the subject of the conquest. Despite composing this account of events many years after the fact, his narrative is crisp, vivid, and not self-serving.
One of the most reassuring aspects of this account, and the translation thereof, appears when Bernal Diaz is reciting a long list of the names of the principles at an event and he freely admits that he cannot recall all of those whom he feels should be included. Similarly, when he is describing the amount and variety of tribute and treasure, he does not recite an exhaustive inventory, but recounts the most impressive and memorable along with a disclaimer to the effect that at the time of writing he can no longer recall all of the details of the less significant articles beyond being impressed with their quantity.
The events are described in a systematic, thorough, and convincing manner. When he is reciting details of events which occurred outside of his personal observation, Bernal Diaz states that fact clearly, giving even more credence to his account. Being a professional soldier myself, I was also impressed by the apprehension he relates in situations where he and his comrades were facing a superior number of opponents, especially the anticipation and restlessness among the soldiers prior to a battle.
Apr 27, 2007
Interesting and very will written.
This is very interesting book to read. I read it for a school project while in high school and read it several times there after. Its a book that keeps the reader interested at all times and very well written. It takes your mind and narrates in such a way that makes you feel you were part of that moment in time and history. It pays great attention to detail and time and places. I have read many books regarding this subject and they tend to go from once subject to another which leave the reader puzzled. I would highly recommend this book to anyone for a passion for history and or who simply just enjoys to read a very good book. I am pretty sure that once you have started to read the book you will want to read it again and again. Also, a great thanks to Alibris for giving myself and all others the chance to find these sometimes hard to find books.
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