Mirrors of a Disaster: The Spanish Military Conquest of America

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Overview

In Mirrors of a Disaster, Gérard Chaliand narrates the major events that followed the Spanish conquest of Mexico and Peru with the scope and rhythm of an epic poem. He seeks to make meaningful the strict chronicle of a conquest through those who lived it. Human details and the broader political background bring to life one of history's great tragedies.

A new introduction by the author is included in this paperback edition. The comprehensive work is organized into three parts: "The Conquest of Mexico," "The Conquest of Guatemala and Yucatan," and "The Conquest of Peru." In each section, the author provides a summary prior to, in many cases, a day-by-day account of the events as they unfolded. Enriched by significant contemporary documents Mirrors of a Disaster relates the many facets of the conquest, presenting the Indians' perception of their defeat by the Spaniards, the conquerors' narratives of the same events, and the author's own retelling of a tragedy in which, he says, "the vanquished could not, ultimately, but be vanquished."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This superbly written book reads like an adventure story. With epic inspiration, Chaliand conveys both the hopeless situation of the vanquished and the shrewd military strategy of the conquerors."

– Le Figaro Litteraire

"The author narrates the conquests of Mexico and Peru, using Spanish and Indian testimonies, like two great tragic epics, with their human details and grand discourse, all rhythmed by the steps of destiny."

– L'Express

"I find your evaluation of the incredible events surrounding the conquest of Mexico and Peru to be both lucid and well balanced. My congratulations!"

– Letter from Jacques Soustelle, anthropologist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412804714
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/5/2005
  • Pages: 257
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Gérard Chaliand was a professor at Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA), Paris, Collège Inter-armée de Défense, Paris, and director of the European Center for the Study of Conflicts, Paris. Currently he is visiting scholar at the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies in Afghanistan. He is a world-renowned specialist of conflicts, strategic problems, guerrillas, and terrorism. He has spent years as a participant-observer of guerrilla movements and other armed conflicts. Among his publications are The Penguin Atlas of Diasporas,The Art of War in World History,The Strategic Atlas, and The Kurdish Tragedy.

Gérard Chaliand was a professor at Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA), Paris, Collège Inter-armée de Défense, Paris, and director of the European Center for the Study of Conflicts, Paris. Currently he is visiting scholar at the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies in Afghanistan. He is a world-renowned specialist of conflicts, strategic problems, guerrillas, and terrorism. He has spent years as a participant-observer of guerrilla movements and other armed conflicts. Among his publications are The Penguin Atlas of Diasporas,The Art of War in World History,The Strategic Atlas, and The Kurdish Tragedy.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I The conquest of Mexico
1 "Men from distant lands" 7
2 The Aztec omens 29
3 Reconnaissance 32
4 The march on Mexico 55
5 The siege and fall of Mexico 85
Pt. II The conquest of Guatemala and Yucatan
1 The conquest of Guatemala 103
2 Alvarado's letters to Cortes 107
3 The conquest of Yucatan 113
Pt. III The conquest of Peru
1 Cajamarca 127
2 The assault on Cuzco 187
3 The Inca empire 199
4 The expedition to Quito 203
5 The great rebellion 208
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