Andrés Reséndez is Professor of History at the University of California, Davis. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and has written numerous books and articles on such subjects as the history of Mexico and the American Southwest. He lives in Davis, California, with his family.
A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vacaby Andre Resendez
Of the three hundred men who had embarked on
In 1528, a mission set out from Spain to colonize Florida. But the expedition went horribly wrong: Delayed by a hurricane, knocked off course by a colossal error of navigation, and ultimately doomed by a disastrous decision to separate the men from their ships, the mission quickly became a desperate journey of survival.
Of the three hundred men who had embarked on the journey, only four survivedthree Spaniards and an African slave. This tiny band endured a horrific march through Florida, a harrowing raft passage across the Louisiana coast, and years of enslavement in the American Southwest. They journeyed for almost ten years in search of the Pacific Ocean that would guide them home, and they were forever changed by their experience. The men lived with a variety of nomadic Indians and learned several indigenous languages. They saw lands, peoples, plants, and animals that no outsider had ever seen before.
In this enthralling tale of four castaways wandering in an unknown land, Andrés Reséndez brings to life the vast, dynamic world of North America just a few years before European settlers would transform it forever.
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Great historical read. Somewhat short however. A full 100 pages of 260 are taken up by notes on references.
I'm very pleased. This was a good story to learn. For those of us looking for a diversion from our style of reading biographies this is a nice quick read with quite a few pieces of history thrown in. A Land So Strange is a history of an adventure across southern North America. Of 300 landing by accident on the west coast of Florida only 4 survive their trek to reach todays Mexico. Upon encountering numerous Indian civilizations they lose in numbers, although gaining useful tips how to survive. The reader will learn some geography here. Where best do the prickly pears grow? Those paper shell pecans? Did you know that at one time from 50 to 70 million Indians lived in North America, roughly the same population in Europe simultaneously. The survivors do make it to their original destination but only after years of wondering. Our author, Andre Resendez, manages to ferry the reader along in this adventure. A good historical read.
This was a very well written and well researched book. The writer's style made the book flow easily so that it read as an adventure novel, just as much as it read as a historical work. The story itself was utterly fascinating. I would recommed this book to anyone of any age who enjoys reading history or adventure works.