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The Aztecs

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  136 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews

Second Edition, Fully Updated and Expanded

A portrait of a fascinating, complex civilization. Beginning with the story of the Spanish conquest, the text then charts the rise of the Aztecs from humble nomads to empire builders. Within 100 years they established the largest empire in Mesoamerican history and, at Tenochtitlan, built a vast city in a lake, a Venice of the New W

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Paperback, 2nd Edition Ancient People and Places, 232 pages
Published March 1st 2000 by Thames & Hudson (first published June 1992)
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Popol Vuh by AnonymousBreaking the Maya Code by Michael D. CoeThe Maya by Michael D. CoeAn Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient ... by Mary Ellen MillerThe Aztecs by Richard F. Townsend
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Stephen Simpson
Mar 20, 2016 Stephen Simpson rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
A solid overview of Aztec culture and, to a lesser extent, history. It's not really an academic work, but rather reads like a "greatest hits" of scholarly works that can give a regular reader a decent grounding in the subjects (as well as a bibliography for further reading). Given that it's largely an overview, there are a lot of subjects where the depth isn't great, but it's a short, very readable book that's enjoyable to read.
Kylie
Jul 20, 2015 Kylie rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I have been fascinated with the Aztecs on and off since childhood, when I first saw a photo of a statue of Coatlicue in a mythology encyclopaedia. I was horrified, frightened and utterly, utterly in love. Funnily enough that photo is in this book too.

Even though it’s a textbook it isn’t overly scholarly, and is quite readable (it just took me a while). However, due to the structure of the book I wouldn’t recommend it for someone who doesn’t have a little bit of knowledge on the subject already;
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Heidi
Apr 23, 2011 Heidi rated it liked it
Townsend and smith disagree on some point, but then this is still a growing subject and you can kind of expect that.
Juris
Nov 15, 2013 Juris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was given to me by someone who had taken a course on Aztec society. Since I had very little knowledge on the subject, I decided to give the book a chance. It explains the rise and fall of a great civilization, taken over by Hernan Cortes and the Spanish. It is a good book to read before diving into heavier, more specific texts on the subject.

Keep in mind this is a text book. Do not expect to say it is something that you cannot put down. It does give great information on subjects like Aztec relig
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Silvio Curtis
Dec 18, 2014 Silvio Curtis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another textbook about Aztec history. Unlike some, most of this is organized thematically rather than by narrative. Solid, but some parts, like the ones about the Conquest, tend more toward sensationalism than helpful and show signs of not having been revised recently.
AskHistorians
Another comprehensive overview of Aztec history, though again with a Mexican bias. Focuses more on the "imperial project" than the Smith book.
Rhea
It's not a bad book by any means. It has a lot of good information. However, it's on the dry side, especially compared to Smith's book on the Aztecs.
Jaime Contreras
This is an exquisite volume dedicated to a thorough introduction to the Aztec world and mind. A must fro students of Mesoamerican cultures.
Richard Baker
Jul 25, 2010 Richard Baker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A concise and balanced introduction to one of the most import civilisations of the Americas.
Carlina
I loved the picture in this book, aztec history is so fascinating
Joe Spencer
Mar 01, 2008 Joe Spencer rated it liked it
A very good overview of Aztec history and culture.
David
Very thorough, unbiased, in-depth. Review forthcoming.
Robert
Jun 17, 2011 Robert rated it it was amazing
Fascinating information about a lost society.
David Barney
Nov 22, 2013 David Barney rated it liked it
Good, yet it didn't keep my attention.
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Richard Townsend, a noted expert on pre-Columbian culture, received his Ph.D. from Harvard University for his work on the art of Tenochtitlan. He is now Curator of the Department of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at The Art Institute of Chicago. He has conducted extensive field research at Aztec sites and is the editor of the major exhibition catalogs, The Ancient Americas: Art from Sacred Land ...more
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