Conquistador Voices, Vol. I; The Spanish Conquest of the Americas as Recounted Largely by the Participants.

Author:Bucklin, Stephanie
Position:Book review
 
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Kevin H. Siepel; CONQUISTADOR VOICES, VOL. I; Spruce Tree Press (Nonfiction: History) 23.95 ISBN: 9780978646622

Byline: Stephanie Bucklin

Conquistador Voices is an interesting and wide-ranging look at a critical period in history.

In a two-volume work, Kevin H. Siepel offers a comprehensive look at the Spanish conquest of the Americas through the eyes of those who experienced it, interspersing extensive first-person accounts with his own commentary and framework.

The book is explicit about its intended audience, the general reader, and its hope to bring a historical period to life through first-person narratives rather than biased commentary. Siepel's analysis of the Spanish conquest of the Americas is presented under the umbrella of five narratives, centered around five different figures: Christopher Columbus, HernA n CortA[c]s, Francisco Pizarro, Alvar NA*A[+ or -]ez Cabeza de Vaca, and Hernando de Soto. Conquistador Voices is not so much a collection of first-person narratives as a historical account with heavy excerpting from primary sources. Even more impressive, Siepel mentions that he translated most of these accounts himself.

Siepel offers a more nuanced view of the conquistadors -- showing how they were at once bloodthirsty, religious, intelligent, able to endure suffering and more than willing to inflict it, and...

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