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The Aztecs

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  233 ratings  ·  22 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 1st 1992)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  233 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Timothy Boyd
A pretty decent history book. It goes a little to much into archeology for me but overall it was an informative books. Recommended
Jun 20, 2015 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;
Nov 15, 2013 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
Jan 29, 2011 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.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
After reading The Aztecs: A Very Short Introduction I was interested in reading a bit more on the topic and this book was conveniently available at my library. It took me a bit of time to get around to reading it, but it proved to be quite readable and informative. I especially liked a map of the Valley of Mexico that I referred back to repeatedly while reading the history of the empire to get a better sense of how things related to each other. I just wish that some of the broader focus maps had ...more
Sean Nichols
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
S. D. Howarth
Very informative and a good research tool with Ross Hassig's work. The two complement each other, with this work filling out the social side particularly well.
Mar 21, 2020 added it
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great and comprehensive introduction to the history, culture and society of the Aztecs, the greatest empire in Mesoamerican history!
Fredrick Danysh
In this history of the Aztec much is discussed regarding their culture and customs. Photographs of artifacts are included in the work. This is an interesting read on of one of the Native American groups of present day Mexico.
Morgan Sanchez
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
An incredible, easy to read insight into one of the world's most intriguing civilizations.

This generous, glossy book is an incredibly detailed historical account of the Aztec civilization, from its mythologized beginnings to its exceptionally bloody end.

Stories of gods, heroes, and the native peoples of Mexico's way of life will delight readers, even those with copious knowledge of the civilization. Illustrations paint a picture of the highly scientific and religiously motivated civilization, a
Stephen Simpson
Mar 20, 2016 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.
Silvio Curtis
Dec 18, 2014 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.
Joe Spencer
Mar 01, 2008 rated it liked it
A very good overview of Aztec history and culture.
Another comprehensive overview of Aztec history, though again with a Mexican bias. Focuses more on the "imperial project" than the Smith book.
David Barney
Nov 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Good, yet it didn't keep my attention.
Very thorough, unbiased, in-depth. Review forthcoming.
I loved the picture in this book, aztec history is so fascinating
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.
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an exquisite volume dedicated to a thorough introduction to the Aztec world and mind. A must fro students of Mesoamerican cultures.
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Richard Fraser 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 Sacr ...more

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