Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest
. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.Hassig, Ross.
Mexico and the Spanish Conquest.
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2006.
The two monographs under review within cover facets of the Spanish Conquest of LatinAmerica in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Matthew Restall’s
Seven Myths of the SpanishConquest,
chose to take a successive approach to seven popular myths as the title suggested.While such a monograph certainly has its place in modern scholarship, one is left withoutspecifics of the conquest itself, and therefore unable to make independent deductions. Restall’smonograph was better suited for those already fluent in specifics and ongoing scholarly debate of the Spanish Conquest of America. Enter Ross Hassig’s
Mexico and the Spanish Conquest
, amonograph which from the beginning chose to be a retelling of what Hassig determined wasmost likely correct information drawn from a pool of first and secondhand accounts as well assuccessive scholarship centuries later. Hassig chose to use a narrative approach to history toallow his readers to make their own interpretations of the events. These were the fundamentaldifferences between the two recent publications. Though neither are necessarily more practicalthan the other, different audiences will appreciate one or the other inevitably. This reader contends the debunking attempts of Restall, however, are insufficiently defended when comparedwith Hassig’s more thorough depiction of this period in history.The first major discrepancy between the two monographs is that of the conquistadors andtheir men. Were they soldiers, or were they as Restall contends merely fortune seekersinexperienced with combat and most certainly not soldiers? Hassig used great details insuccessive chapters covering the early encounters of the Spanish and Mesoamerican natives. Inthese retellings, the reader is convinced the Spanish had superior fire power in gun powder,suitable armor that kept wounds to the limbs, and stronger steel blades that kept their edge
Andrew S. Terrell
- HIST 6393: Atlantic America to 1750 1 September 2010