A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca

( 3 )

Overview


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 survived—three Spaniards and an African slave. This tiny band endured a horrific march ...

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A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca

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Overview


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 survived—three 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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465068418
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 1/5/2009
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 381,505
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


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.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    America in another time

    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.

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  • Posted October 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Enjoyable and Easy

    The story of Cabeza de Vaca is enjoyable, interesting, and even comical. The book reads like a narrative of adventure and not a history book filled with facts and dates. Don't get me wrong, the author provides all the information necessary to grasp the events of their journey, but he does so in a fluent and easy-reading manner. I was caught up in the story as if it were fictional.

    Their journey is very interesting--the interaction with the natives and their method of survival serve as a foundation for understanding the Spanish perspective of the continent. I say it's comical because the lack of information the expidition based their journey on was minimal. The fact that they didn't fully understand the power of the 'Gulf Stream', which forced them to land on the western shore of Florida instead of their destination (Northeast Mexico), was the beginning of my whimsical perception of the journey.

    I strongly suggest this book for anyone interested in early American history, Spanish exploration, adventure, or anthropolgy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2008

    A reviewer

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2011

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