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Summary

In November 1519, Hernando Cortes 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 obligations, adopted new technologies, and endured.

©2019 Oxford University Press (P)2020 Tantor

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  • Christopher Rodesch
  • 02-07-20

Game of thrones for the Americas

This is a stunning story of the evolution of what we now know as the Aztecs. Long before and after Cortez appeared in Mexico, the rich traditions and complex politics, culture and history of the natives is carried on through a series of individuals devoted to the transmission of history. While there is much focus on the obvious carnage brought by the Europeans; concurrently, a detailed story of how the Spanish and indians became intertwined in a way that reveal the complex roots of today's society. This book brings together the stories of a huge swath of history yet maintains an admirable richness by recounting individual stories as might be told between generations.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-09-20

Fantastic, but too short!

A really excellent, interesting and unique history and an amazing story. Narration is impressive with lots of difficult Nahuatl names and phrases.

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  • Robert P.
  • 07-07-20

Wonderful History

Detailed account of a great civilization, interesting view of early settlers, the church and the profound on native people.

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  • yoanna
  • 28-06-20

I really wanted to like this book

My friend actually recommended this book to me. And I really wanted to like it & history books of ancient civilization were usually my favorites. But for some reason, this one just keeps on putting me to sleep (it works better than even the audible sleep collection). Maybe the paper format would be better?