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Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs (2008)

by Buddy Levy

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3641871,429 (4.17)3
In 1519, Hernán Cortés arrived on the shores of Mexico with a roughshod crew of adventurers and the intent to expand the Spanish empire. Along the way, this brash and roguish conquistador schemed to convert the native inhabitants to Catholicism and carry off a fortune in gold. In Tenochtitlán, the City of Dreams, Cortés met his Aztec counterpart, Montezuma: king, divinity, ruler of a complex and sophisticated civilization with fifteen million people, and commander of the most powerful military machine in the Americas. Yet in less than two years, Cortés defeated the entire Aztec nation in one of the most astonishing military campaigns ever waged. Sometimes outnumbered thousands-to-one, Cortés repeatedly beat seemingly impossible odds. Journalist Levy meticulously researches the mix of cunning, courage, brutality, superstition, and finally disease that enabled Cortés and his men to survive.--From publisher description.… (more)
  1. 00
    The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico by Miguel León Portilla (JGolomb)
  2. 00
    Mexica by Norman Spinrad (JGolomb)
    JGolomb: Mexica is the fictional accounting of Cortes' story of conquest. Levy's history is equally as readable.
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English (17)  Italian (1)  All languages (18)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
A concise, easy to read book on the conquest of the Aztec Empire. The takeaway - don't bet against Hernan Cortes. A master politician with both "sides," Spanish and the Native Americans. Master of all things military (tactical, operational, strategic). I found the way he politically outmaneuvered his Spanish opponents to be the most entertaining. The appendices are very helpful, though the book could have included more maps on the area around Tenochtitlan. ( )
  czackwaltz | Feb 27, 2024 |
Engaging and informative. ( )
  fidgetyfern | Feb 23, 2021 |
I may be the crazy one here, because this has gotten rave reviews, but I just couldn't get into it. I gave it around a hundred fifty pages, and if I can't bring myself to like a book by then, it's most likely not going to happen. And life is too short to read books you don't particularly like.

Especially when there are other books waiting.

( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
I may be the crazy one here, because this has gotten rave reviews, but I just couldn't get into it. I gave it around a hundred fifty pages, and if I can't bring myself to like a book by then, it's most likely not going to happen. And life is too short to read books you don't particularly like.

Especially when there are other books waiting.

( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
An amazing story given its due.This is a somewhat complex story but one of high interest and great adventure. It's almost hard to believe. Calling it an adventure may not be politically correct in light of the death of a significant culture, but that is how people at the time saw it and the end result is the birth of modern Mexico, a violent merger of cultures. As in River of Darkness Levy focuses on combat but also provides bigger picture and politics. One can see patterns that would replay well into the 20th century between Europeans and natives. ( )
  Stbalbach | Jan 5, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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In 1519, Hernán Cortés arrived on the shores of Mexico with a roughshod crew of adventurers and the intent to expand the Spanish empire. Along the way, this brash and roguish conquistador schemed to convert the native inhabitants to Catholicism and carry off a fortune in gold. In Tenochtitlán, the City of Dreams, Cortés met his Aztec counterpart, Montezuma: king, divinity, ruler of a complex and sophisticated civilization with fifteen million people, and commander of the most powerful military machine in the Americas. Yet in less than two years, Cortés defeated the entire Aztec nation in one of the most astonishing military campaigns ever waged. Sometimes outnumbered thousands-to-one, Cortés repeatedly beat seemingly impossible odds. Journalist Levy meticulously researches the mix of cunning, courage, brutality, superstition, and finally disease that enabled Cortés and his men to survive.--From publisher description.

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