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

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

Paperback, 2nd Edition Ancient People and Places, 232 pages
Published March 1st 2000 by Thames & Hudson (first published June 1992)
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 The Aztecs, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Aztecs

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
5th out of 89 books — 28 voters
Collapse by Jared Diamond1491 by Charles C. MannThe Horse, the Wheel and Language by David W. AnthonyGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared DiamondAfter the Ice by Steven Mithen
Popular Archaeology and Paleoanthropology
26th out of 303 books — 102 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 543)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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.
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;
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.
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
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.
Another comprehensive overview of Aztec history, though again with a Mexican bias. Focuses more on the "imperial project" than the Smith book.
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.
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.
Very thorough, unbiased, in-depth. Review forthcoming.
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.
Arielle P.
Arielle P. marked it as to-read
Sep 24, 2016
Melissa marked it as to-read
Sep 24, 2016
Tulum marked it as to-read
Sep 24, 2016
James Carroll
James Carroll marked it as to-read
Sep 12, 2016
Sharon marked it as to-read
Sep 08, 2016
BookDB marked it as to-read
Sep 05, 2016
Chinmay marked it as to-read
Sep 04, 2016
Henry marked it as to-read
Sep 01, 2016
Simo Ibourki
Simo Ibourki marked it as to-read
Aug 31, 2016
George added it
Sep 23, 2016
Annmiller1968 marked it as to-read
Aug 28, 2016
Brandon Taylor
Brandon Taylor rated it really liked it
Aug 28, 2016
Lorrainenetcologne.De rated it it was amazing
Aug 20, 2016
Morgan Sanchez
Morgan Sanchez rated it it was amazing
Aug 19, 2016
Lisza marked it as to-read
Aug 18, 2016
Harvey Thomson
Harvey Thomson marked it as to-read
Aug 17, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 18 19 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Maya (Ancient Peoples & Places)
  • Aztec Thought and Culture: A Study of the Ancient Nahuatl Mind
  • A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya
  • Ancient North America
  • An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya
  • Aztec, Inca, and Maya
  • Maya Cosmos
  • Aztecs: An Interpretation
  • The Ancient Maya
  • Ancient Peoples of the American Southwest
  • Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth
  • El espejo enterrado
  • The Complete Pompeii
  • Popol Vuh
  • The Island of Seven Cities: Where the Chinese Settled When They Discovered North America
  • Conquest: Montezuma, Cortes and the Fall of Old Mexico
  • Letters from Mexico
  • Empires of Time: Calendars, Clocks, and Cultures
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
More about Richard F. Townsend...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »