Fifth Sun: A New History Of The Aztecs
ISBN: 0197577660
EAN13: 9780197577660
Language: English
Release Date: Jul 1, 2021
Pages: 336
Dimensions: 0.9399999990412" H x 8.1899999916462" L x 5.549999994339" W
Weight: 0.78925489796 lbs.
Format: Paperback
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Book Overview

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In November 1519, Hernando Cort s 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 Americans were intrigued by the Roman alphabet and, unbeknownst to the newcomers, they used it to write detailed histories in their own language of Nahuatl. Until recently, these sources remained obscure, only partially translated, and rarely consulted by scholars.

For the first time, in Fifth Sun, the history of the Aztecs is offered in all its complexity based solely on the texts written by the indigenous people themselves. Camilla Townsend presents an accessible and humanized depiction of these native Mexicans, rather than seeing them as the exotic, bloody figures of European stereotypes. The conquest, in this work, is neither an apocalyptic moment, nor an origin story launching Mexicans into existence. The Mexica people had a history of their own long before the Europeans arrived and did not simply capitulate to Spanish culture and colonization. Instead, they realigned their political allegiances, accommodated new Read More chevron_right

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Book Reviews (6)

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   Re-writes Aztec History
Thus is a wonderful book about how the Spanish Mexica preserved their history before and after the indigenous conquest. It is bursting with facts on genealogy, geography, political divisions, conflict and royal families. It was thought that the Spaniards destroyed the recorded culture of Nahua, but the book shows how it was preserved using the Roman alphabet. The book is not just filled with facts, but also preserved with the dialogue of a very advanced and intelligent people. In a wonderful bibliography for the serious student, additional value is present to study this period and civilization further. I am not a fan of end notes, but I found it necessary to use two bookmarks to flip back and forth to them because they were immensely educational and often entertaining.
   Great book on the Aztecs
I am now on a Mesoamerican history binge. Before reading Fifth Sun, read about 8 other books. It reads like a story, which is so pleasant compared to the dry archeological texts, the likes of anything written by Michael D. Coe. It is a deep intro to the Aztecs and the author's analysis is great enough that I will walk away from the book with a fresh perspective on the subject. I did get a bit lost in the large number of people described and partly due to the names being so foreign that they are hard to log in my head. That is certainly not a critique of the book, but if you are like me, keep reading.
   its actually quite a short book
Approximately 50% on my kindle, the book ended save for notes, appendices etc. I enjoyed it, but was expecting more depth to social history - maybe its just not known? I kinda wanted more of the Spanish narrative of the history of contact and after to supplement the other sources and flesh out the narrative a little more, but I guess that would be a different book. The most illuminating element for me was the Aztec fear of being attacked by others, influencing their reaction to the Spanish first contact group as they realized they could not defeat them. Altogether, a more tenuous imperial governance and hold of power over other groups than I have read elsewhere. In other words, it was pretty easy for the Spanish to secure local allies ; they did not need much convincing.
   A disappointment to me but might please others--not your ordinary history and archaeology.
If you are expecting the usual rendering of history and archaeology, you will probably be disappointed. That is not to say that there isn 't much good and accurate information here ; it is just that the author has made up historical people and put them into the scene of the fictional action. It was very frustrating for me, but it may please other readers who like her style. I put the book down and gave up on it, but I do give it two stars because of the obvious expertise and enthusiasm of the author.
   An essential work for all future study
As provocative as it is. Her commanding the masterful grasp of the material source is the hallmark of the primary scholar. As a layman, I am equally impressed by the depth of her work and how accessible it remains to an amateur like myself.
This is a great book, I am shocked that I am only the fourth reviewer. Millions of us visit Aztec sites each year, but the little we know of them has come from Spanish texts after the conquest to us. As it turns out, natives pressed into service of the Friars, learned our phonetic writing and a few compiled their previous oral histories in the Nahua language. The author compiled the language, learned the available texts and now gives us a native history stretching back to about 80 years pre-conquest. You will see their reaction to conquest. You have the added fun of the learn to pronounce it like a native '' game throughout the book. The epilogue and the last bit about how the narrative was compiled is as good as the story. This is not real reading, but it is as close as you are to a light history of these peoples.