Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Conquistadors” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating


3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  177 ratings  ·  18 reviews
The Spanish conquest of the Americas in the sixteenth century was one of the most cataclysmic events in history. Spanish expeditions had to endure the most unbelievable hardships to open up the lands of the New World. Few stories, if any, in history match these for sheer drama, endurance and distances covered. In Conquistadors Michael Wood travels in the footsteps of some ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 3rd 2003 by BBC Books (first published November 23rd 2000)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Conquistadors, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Conquistadors

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 338)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I'm pretty willing to pick up any of the books Michael Wood has written. They're obviously more popular history than anything, pitched at BBC documentary level, but that is the level of knowledge I have for a lot of historical subjects. Conquistadors is in the usual format familiar from Wood's book on Alexander: he retraces the steps of the conquistadors, in some cases clarifying their routes where they weren't completely known before.

This is a period of history that's not entirely new to me, bu
Pete daPixie
I think I've read all of Michael Wood's books now. His style of writing is a constant throughout. The reader is taken on an expedition, in the footsteps of...'and here even today the place where such and such did whatever'.
In Conquistadors Woody takes us back-packing in the tracks of Cortes into the heart of the Aztec New World. We break camp at dawn to set off in pursuit of Francisco Pizarro's clan, to follow the conquest of the Incas in Peru. We then trek the Andes mountain passes in search o
I suspect what I was taught about South American history at school could be written in a couple of pages and, as for the tremendous importance of the Spanish seizure and colonialization of most of the continent, it scarcely warranted a mention. After all, we were British, and had much to be taught about the superiority of the Englishman and his benign ownership and administration of the world that really mattered between the start of the 18th century and the middle of the 20th. No time for all t ...more
K. Ravichandar
One of the few books I'll give a five on five for. I found it in "Landmark" and because I was a history-enthusiast and because I did not have any reference book with me on pre-Columbian American history, I purchased this book. It did not appeal much to me the first time I read it. But since then, I've read and re-read the book over probably a hundred times and once, I start reading I never feel like keeping it down. Michael Wood's sensitive and unbiased portrayal of the Spanish conquest of the A ...more
Jon Box
Covers the Spanish conquest of the Americas: Cortez's conquest of the Aztec Empire, Pizarro's conquest of the Incan Empire, Orellana's Amazonia trek and Cabeza de Vaca's Southwestern US/Mexico marathon. Interesting stories of adventure and tantalizing accounts of the savagery of both the indigenous peoples and the Spaniards. Actually a sad account of Spanish greediness . . . I found the Cabeza de Vaca story most compelling as a native Texan--I had never really known and understood the historical ...more
Jason Golomb
This was the book that really ignited my passion and interest in New World exploration. Woods combines contemporary quotes and descriptions with his own modern-day journeys in detailing the adventures of four seminal Spanish explorers - Hernan Cortes, Francisco Pizzaro, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, and Francisco Orellana.

This book was written as a companion piece to Woods' PBS documentary, but it stands alone fine without the video. While recounting the adventurers and their adventures, Woods (an
Alex Telander
In this latest work on the Spanish conquistadors, an adaptation from the BBC television series, by Michael Wood, we have a whole new aspect of how the conquistadors behaved with their control over the New World.

It is almost as if Wood had once been a conquistador himself, as he retells of those brave soldiers walking in this alien terrain and fighting for their lives in an effort to civilize (or ethnically cleanse, perhaps?) those savage Indians who don’t know better. While this may come as a sh
Easy to read and covers the 1500s when Cortes took on the Aztecs, Pizarro and friends destroyed the Incas and various other Conquistadors killed off numerous other tribes, cultures and people for gold, fame and Christ.

Wood follows some of the journeys but his best parts is in relating the stories of the Spanish and their belief in themselves, their brutality and discern for the way others lived their lives. A sad story of the conquerors and their victims.
Neil Morgan
A topic I knew little about and a book I thoroughly enjoyed. A journey through the Americas and time. An inspiration to delve deeper into the topic, a genocide that is little known generally in the UK. Presented in a style that is easy to follow and allows you to take note of the aspects that you want to explore. The first of Wood's books that is have read and it won't be the last. Highly recommended.
Barry Sierer
Michael Wood’s book is a rare of example of a historian who is passionately in love with his subject. Wood gives detailed accounts of Cortez, Pizarro and other conquistadors and scrupulously compares European accounts of the conquests against indigenous records.

I originally felt that this book warranted a five star rating till the author went off track on a couple of occasions by turning present day examinations of ancient sites into discussions of his own travel adventures.
C.Y. Chong
A very enjoyable read. There is much research and the different characters and events are so well described.
Grant Lauritsen
Conquistadors is a detailed account of some of the conquistadors (including Cortes, members of the Pizarro family and Cabeza de Vaca) who conquered the Americas during the 16th century. It is also an account of Michael Wood's journey to follow in their footsteps. Accounts of events by the Spaniards and the natives are given. Wood asserts that the native Americans knew their assailants were humans (not gods), but they were decimated by superior weaponry and infighting. A fascinating and shocking ...more
Christopher Earl
Like the series excellent education
Michael Wood's study of the Spanish Conquest may not be authoritative, but it is entertaining, readable and thought provoking. A written version (with pictures and maps, hurray) of the BBC mini series, it's really quite good. But, like all the BBC productions, it predictably takes the British self-loathing view of Western culture. This isn't bad history per se, but becomes so when you start painting overly rosy pictures of pre-conquest American society.
Excellent introduction to the topic, especially with the inclusion of primary source material.
Sam Motes
Wood does a good job of portraying the unbridled ambition that drove the conquest of the new world. This wa a very engaging read that mixed the history with the modern day quest to see the areas and understand the people of today that remain from the indigenous first people and the mixing of the foreign invaders.
Its a good read for those who like a blend of history and adventure, the events that the author depicts are truly astonishing and the book is provactive, enriching and gripping.

Jo Anne
Interesting journey through Latin America during the times of the Mayans and Incas etc.
Kram marked it as to-read
Mar 22, 2015
Sarah marked it as to-read
Mar 21, 2015
Michael marked it as to-read
Mar 06, 2015
Miik marked it as to-read
Mar 03, 2015
Bill Thompson
Bill Thompson marked it as to-read
Feb 26, 2015
Molly marked it as to-read
Feb 22, 2015
Scott marked it as to-read
Feb 28, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest
  • The Conquest of the Incas
  • The New World (A History of the English Speaking Peoples, #2)
  • Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire from Columbus to Magellan
  • The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico
  • Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham, a Real-Life Indiana Jones, and the Search for Machu Picchu
  • Lost City of the Incas
  • Catastrophe: An Investigation into the Origins of Modern Civilization
  • History of the Conquest of Mexico
  • The Inquisition
  • River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana's Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon
  • The Last Alchemist: Count Cagliostro, Master of Magic in the Age of Reason
  • The Mystery of the Crystal Skulls: Unlocking the Secrets of the Past, Present, and Future
  • New Europe
  • In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture
  • Dr. Johnson's London
  • The Genius of China: 3,000 Years of Science, Discovery, and Invention
  • Selkirk's Island: The True and Strange Adventures of the Real Robinson Crusoe
Librarian Note: There's more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Michael David Wood is an English historian & broadcaster. He's presented numerous tv documentary series. Library of Congress lists him as Michael Wood.

Wood was born in Moston, Manchester, & educated at Manchester Grammar School & Oriel College, Oxford. His specia
More about Michael Wood...
In Search of the Dark Ages Shakespeare In Search of the Trojan War In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great: A Journey from Greece to Asia The Story of India

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »