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Brutal Journey

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  • Brutal Journey

    New book out about Spaniard Conquistadores. Anyone read it yet? Sounds great. I'll be reading it this summer.

    From Publishers Weekly
    Despite his failure to suppress the rebellious Cortés in Mexico, would-be conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez was given another chance by the king of Spain, who awarded him governorship over the entire Gulf Coast of the modern United States. But Narváez's luck was no better this time: the expedition, which arrived in 1528, was a complete disaster. Out of the 400 men who went ashore in Florida, only four made it to Mexico eight years later, long after Narváez himself was lost at sea in a makeshift boat. Schneider (The Adirondacks) has only two firsthand documents to work with, but he ably combines the raw narrative with a wealth of secondary research to create a vivid tale filled with gripping scenes, as when natives lead the starving Spanish forces into a swamp ambush. Though primarily concerned with the Spaniards' experiences, Schneider also provides well-rounded portrayals of the indigenous cultures they came in contact with—among them tribes that came to regard the handful of survivors as magical healers who could raise the dead. The ethnographic balance takes a thrilling adventure and turns it into an engrossing case study of early European colonialism gone epically wrong. Illus., map. (May 5)
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    From Booklist
    Schneider presents would-be conquistador Cabeza de Vaca's incredible survival story. The treasurer of an attempted conquest of Florida in 1528, de Vaca was one of four remnants of the disastrous Narvaez expedition and wrote a memoir about his ordeal. Working off that central document, Schneider seamlessly fixes it to contextual sources (archaeology; records of the ensuing de Soto and Coronado expeditions) to render a perceptive sense of the country the fugitive Spaniards traveled through and the Indians they encountered. Under the theme of inverted expectations, Schneider relates the Spaniards' incremental descent from violently self-assured superiority over Indians, to dependence, and, finally, enslavement for the last of the living. That one of them, Esteban, already a slave, helped lead the band to Mexico, and received re-enslavement for his pains, enhances Schneider's excellent development of cultural self-perceptions. Equally able in his dramatizations of the privations and brutalities suffusing this extraordinary tale, Schneider scores big with fans of historical (mis)adventure. Gilbert Taylor
    Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
    Love. Where does it come from?
    from The Thin Red Line

  • #2
    Dolley, this seems like a fascinating subject. I'd like to know if you've read the book yet and if so, what's your take on it?
    Vivos voco Mortuos plango Fulgura frango

    I call the living, I mourn the dead, I chase the lightning.


    From the Imre Nagy Memorial, Budapest Hungary

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