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Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  42 ratings  ·  7 reviews
In November 1519, Hernando Cortés walked along a causeway leading to the capital of the Aztec kingdom and came face to face with Moctezuma. That story--and the story of what happened afterwards--has been told many times, but always following the narrative offered by the Spaniards. After all, we have been taught, it was the Europeans who held the pens. But the Native ...more
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published October 4th 2019 by Oxford University Press
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Ashlee Bree
Forget everything you thought you knew about the Aztecs. Or the Mexica, as they were more commonly known amongst themselves. A fresh and insightful, sometimes familiar, history splashes across these pages which will open your eyes, ears, and heart to Nahua culture pre-and-post colonization. It resounds in a way that makes you realize how - for far too long - we’ve been missing more than half of the story, and it’s one we all need to hear. To learn. To know.

Townsend winds a vibrantly complex and
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating look at indigeneous culture and society in Central Mexico, and its remarkable relative resilience in the face of Spanish conquest.

The people we know as Aztecs -- who called themselves the Mexica -- had arrived relatively recently in Central Mexico themselves, perhaps from Utah. They effectively played regional politics, which Townsend describes as being cemented by polygamous marital alliances among the nobility of the various city-states. (The commoners practiced
Well I've only just started reading this, but this page 2 quote:

"Libraries are generally thought to be very quiet places, whether they shelter stacks of rare, leather-bound books or rows of computers. Another way to think of a library, however, is as a world of frozen voices, captured and rendered accessible forever by one of the most powerful human developments of all time--the act of writing. From that perspective, a library suddenly becomes a very noisy place. In theory, it contains fragments
Gitai Ben-ammi
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Most histories of the Aztecs have been based on European sources because historians were too lazy to learn Nahuatl. This one is based on Nahuatl histories written by indigenous historians. I cannot recommend it highly enough. So many misconceptions, so many self serving narratives from colonizers, so many falsehoods are rectified. It was the first history of the Aztecs that made me think brightly of my ancestral connections to them and made me understand the continuing power of the Aztec imagery ...more
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very readable historical account of Mexica (Aztec) life before and after the Spanish conquest. An interesting summary of what appears to be the current scholarly view of the Aztecs. Townsend is a capable historian and presents the information well while also identifying disputes among the experts. I appreciate her commitment to giving a proper account.
Jason Park
A history book that will immerse you in Aztec culture and politics from their own sources and point of view, not that of Europeans. My full review:
Elizabeth Scott
Very illuminating, especially about Malintzin.
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Camilla Townsend (Ph.D., Rutgers University) is professor of history at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ). Her special interest is in the relations between indigenous peoples and Europeans throughout the Americas.