In November 1528, almost a century before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, the remnants of a Spanish expedition reached the Gulf Coast of Texas. By July 1536, eight years later, Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (c. 1490 - 1559) and three other survivors had walked 2,500 miles from Texas, across northern Mexico, to Sonora and ultimately to Mexico City. Cabeza de Vaca's account of this astonishing journey is now recognized as one of the great travel stories of all time and a touchstone of New World literature. But his career did not begin and end with his North American ordeal. Robin Varnum's biography, the first single-volume, cradle-to-grave account of the explorer's life in 80 years, tells the rest of the story.
During Cabeza de Vaca's peregrinations through the American Southwest, he lived among and interacted with various Indian groups. When he and his non-Indian companions finally reconnected with Spaniards in northern Mexico, he was horrified to learn that his compatriots were enslaving Indians there. In Río de La Plata he tried to keep his men from robbing the Indians, enslaving them, or exploiting them sexually - policies that caused grumbling among the troops. When Cabeza de Vaca's men mutinied, he was sent back to Spain in chains to stand trial before the Royal Council of the Indies.
"Robin Varnum has written a masterful and highly readable account of Cabeza de Vaca's adventures in both North and South America." (Andrés Reséndez, author of A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca)
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A bit too many dates
- Simon le Sorcier
Spain and the New World
Not sure-I only listened to the audio version.
The story and the characters were fantastic! I never realized that Spain's history in the New World was so fascinating; the narrator really brought all of the characters to life for me!
No-this was my first.
I just really enjoyed the story-it was riveting. I feel like I have a more comprehensive understanding of the history that shaped humankind.
I had a tough time keeping track of the many names that were being read, especially since many of those names were unique to Spain.
I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review.