History of the Conquest of Mexico
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History of the Conquest of Mexico

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  159 ratings  ·  26 reviews
"It is a magnificent epic," said William H. Prescott after the publication of History of the Conquest of Mexico in 1843. Since then, his sweeping account of Cortés's subjugation of the Aztec people has endured as a landmark work of scholarship and dramatic storytelling. This pioneering study presents a compelling view of the clash of civilizations that reverberates in Lati...more
Paperback, 1056 pages
Published December 4th 2001 by Modern Library (first published 1843)
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Community Reviews

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erik d aker
Insanely good. The most impossible-to-put-down history book I've ever held in my hot little hands. And it's over 100 years old.
This book is astounding!

Like others, I suspect, I thought I had some decent grasp on the story of the conquest of the Aztecs by Cortés and his conquistadores. I was aware of the Aztec belief that a white god was returning in the very year that Cortés showed up, a belief that attenuated their response to his advent. And the fact that they were overawed by the horses and hardware. All that stuff. The truth, I found, was that I hadn't a clue until I read this splendid history.

It is an utterly fasci...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Other reviews can be found of this book in other formats, but all agree that it is an astonishing achievement.

William H Prescott was an American historian whose sight had reduced him to near blindness, and who had never visited Mexico, yet researched and reconstructed original documents to produce a thrilling account of an epic seriesof events. The year is 1520. Cortes embarks from Cuba with the aim of claiming Mexico for Spain. Arriving in the capital, he is made welcome by the divine ruler, Mo...more
This is a great read. It was written in the early 19th century and so has a charming archaic feel to it. But it is not so old as to read as if it were written in Olde English. The author strikes a nice balance between the demands of epistemic responsibility and vivid prose. At many points it reads like a novel, with excited descriptions of this battle or that, but it is also pretty scrupulous about evaluating its source material.

It is also animated by a dramatic ambivalence. Prescott is not afra...more
Absolute must read for those interested in historical accounts of the Contact Period. Sure, it's a very old book (written in the 1800's) and suffers mildly from both period bias and research limitations, but this book gives a sweeping narrative that is as informative as it is entertaining. All other existing accounts were built on the strong narrative of Prescott. Every other text owes a debt... Rec'd as a beginning text for students and casual readers, as I'm sure any self respecting Contact 'a...more
I listened to this book as an audiobook and the story was enthralling. I travel to Mexico often and have some understanding of Mexican history. But I had no idea what an incredible and improbable and cunning feat the conquering of the Aztecs and the valley of Mexico by Cortes was. Nor did I feel bad for the downfall of the Aztecs given how brutal and oppressive their culture was, which was of course a key ingredient in their downfall that Cortes so famously exploited.
really a first rate adventure novel. learned more from this than the dozen dry acedemic modern books i read for class.
This was atough slog but well worth it. How did Mexico turn out the way it did? read this book.
R.J. Wheaton
Nov 24, 2012 R.J. Wheaton marked it as to-read
Shelves: paused
Loving these C19th sentences.
"History of the Conquest of Mexico." William H. Prescott 1843. Although reputedly blind and having never traveled to the Americas, Prescott's seminal account of the conquest of the Aztecs is as highly respected by historians today as it was in the 19th century. Cortez's clash with the Aztecs is arguable one of the most dramatic histories of the age of exploration. Drawing from numerous first hand accounts from both the Spanish and the Aztecs, Prescott, like the majority of anthropologists of tod...more
Clive Warner
No cover but imagine a beige hardback somewhat disintegrating around the edges - this is because it's the original edition of two books.
It's fascinating to read this account, made even more interesting by little facts such as the idea of malaria being caused by "bad air" (mal - air - ia)
I also have a much more recent Mexico history, "Fire And Blood" which provides a more modern view, but Prescott's account is rich in detail of the fighting between the Aztecs and the invading Conquistadores and I...more
read by Kerry Shale

**See also The Royal Hunt of the Sun by Peter Schaffer**

Those chief Aztec bods wore gold shoes with pearls studded on, even the soles were made of gold.

This was written in *sit yourself down* eighteenfortythree and it reads brilliantly.

Such a gruelling part of history; no matter how many times I come across Montezuma's incarceration and death it is still very hard to take. sad, sad, sad.

As all adherents of history have to have a sturdy stomach by default I have no problem...more
Kyla Squires
Very vivid action writing. Seems very modern apart from the author's taking for granted that the Aztec's are savages who worship a devil and should be saved. This book is a play by play of events, so no real history analysis, but an interesting read just the same. It really illustrates that Cortez was a real dick, which is funny as he is clearly the hero of the tale.
Jul 04, 2014 Public_enemy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everybody
Shelves: history
One of the best books I have ever read. It's more than just a history book. You'll find brilliant observations (analogies) on every page. In addition, writing style is pure state of the art. Read this book; you will hardly find another fun, informative and unbiased history.
Jean-Pierre Labonté
I would give this book six stars. It is the most fascinating history book I ever read. Full of details, not only about events, but also about the people involved. Incredibly well written, it reads like a novel, an epic adventure with Hernando Cortes at its center.
Although the historiography of this work can be problematic, and Prescott's descriptions of the native Mexicans comes across as racist to modern readers, this is still an entertaining read and is a solid work of military history.
Good book overall. The drawback of this book is the new studies that have disproved a lot of Prescott's research. Although outdated it provides for a terrific read.
D. Jason
Reading the epub downloaded from Munseys.
Usman W. Chohan
gripping account of hernan cortes' conquest of tenochtichlan and his battle against the montezumas
new hero: guatemozin
Michael Van
Excellent, one of my favourite books. Prescott lays out the tale with vivid details and I couldn't stop reading.
Read this back in college when i was in the ROTC and actually really enjoyed the history of it
Magnificently written, sympathetic to the indigenous peoples despite what you might think
A beautiful, poetic account of one of the ugliest acts in colonial history...
This is the absolute best! What an exciting story.
Rose Stevens
Read this many moons ago.
Chris brown
Chris brown marked it as to-read
Jul 29, 2014
John marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2014
Lauren Bell
Lauren Bell marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2014
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William Hickling Prescott
U.S. historian. Born to a prosperous family, Prescott graduated from Harvard University in 1814 but was prevented by poor health and eyesight from a career in law or business. His friends, including Washington Irving, led him to his life's work: recounting the history of 16th-century Spain and its colonies. He is best known for his History of the Conquest of Mexico (1843)...more
More about William H. Prescott...
History of the Conquest of Peru: With a Preliminary View of the Civilization of the Incas History of the Conquest of Mexico/History of the Conquest of Peru History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella the Catholic V2 History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic - Volume I (Dodo Press) The World Of The Incas

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