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Conquistadors
Cover of Conquistadors
Conquistadors
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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.

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.

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About the Author-
  • Michael Wood has worked as a journalist, broadcaster, and filmmaker and is the author of several highly acclaimed books, including Legacy, In Search of the Trojan War, and The Story of England. He has numerous documentary films to his name, among them Legacy, Saddam's Killing Fields, and In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great. He lives in Hampstead, North London, with his wife and two daughters.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 1, 2001
    In Conquistadors, journalist and filmmaker Michael Wood (In Search of the Trojan War) travels the routes of the Spanish explorers and conquerors (and often by the same means, including a homemade balsa raft on Coca River rapids) the length and breadth of South and Central America and some of North America as well. With photos, maps and illustrations adorning nearly every page, the book examines records of the conquests both by the invaders and the native peoples. A 1613 letter from Peruvian historian Waman Poma to the king of Spain appealing for humane treatment of Indians, Gonzalo Pizarro's catalogue of the infamous El Dorado misadventures, Cabeza de Vaca's account of crossing North America and Geronimo de Aguilar's diary of the Night of Tears (when Aztecs fought back and killed 600 Spaniards) are among the numerous firsthand accounts Wood presents.

  • Amazon.com, editorial review "[An] accessible, literate, and lively book."
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    Blackstone Publishing
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Conquistadors
Conquistadors
Michael Wood
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