49 books like Malintzin's Choices

By Camilla Townsend,

Here are 49 books that Malintzin's Choices fans have personally recommended if you like Malintzin's Choices. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story of the Meeting that Changed History

David Carballo Author Of Collision of Worlds: A Deep History of the Fall of Aztec Mexico and the Forging of New Spain

From my list on the Aztec-Spanish War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an archaeologist at Boston University with a transatlantic family that spans Spain and Latin America.  My research has primarily focused on Mesoamerica, and prehispanic central Mexico more specifically, but the deep roots of these transatlantic entanglements have always fascinated me personally and as a historically minded scholar.

David's book list on the Aztec-Spanish War

David Carballo Why did David love this book?

For a couple of decades, Restall has been at the vanguard of a group of historians developing what is known as the New Conquest History, an effort to balance the Eurocentrism of earlier histories of the Aztec-Spanish War and its aftermath. I’ve used an earlier book of his, Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest, in my teaching, as it is succinctly argued and provokes students to think critically about the early history of Latin America. This book builds on that and narrows the focus to how the historic encounter between Moctezuma, the Great Speaker of Tenochtitlan and the most powerful individual in Mesoamerica, and Cortés (on November 8, 1519) has been reinterpreted in the years since.  It ranges across five centuries of history, art, and aesthetics, and pop culture to poke holes in narratives that center Cortés’ presumed military brilliance and problematize notions that Moctezuma considered the Spaniards gods…

By Matthew Restall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Montezuma Met Cortés as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A dramatic rethinking of the encounter between Montezuma and Hernando Cortes that completely overturns what we know about the Spanish conquest of the Americas

On November 8, 1519, the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortes first met Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, at the entrance to the capital city of Tenochtitlan. This introduction-the prelude to the Spanish seizure of Mexico City and to European colonization of the mainland of the Americas-has long been the symbol of Cortes's bold and brilliant military genius. Montezuma, on the other hand, is remembered as a coward who gave away a vast empire and touched off a wave…


Book cover of The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico

David Carballo Author Of Collision of Worlds: A Deep History of the Fall of Aztec Mexico and the Forging of New Spain

From my list on the Aztec-Spanish War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an archaeologist at Boston University with a transatlantic family that spans Spain and Latin America.  My research has primarily focused on Mesoamerica, and prehispanic central Mexico more specifically, but the deep roots of these transatlantic entanglements have always fascinated me personally and as a historically minded scholar.

David's book list on the Aztec-Spanish War

David Carballo Why did David love this book?

A vivid account of life in the Aztec world and the tragic Aztec-Spanish War told by Indigenous scribes writing in Nahuatl during the decades following these events and the transformation to colonial New Spain. Mexican authors began publishing translations of Native-author sources in the late eighteenth century; yet, together with his former advisor, Ángel María Garibay, León-Portilla did more than any other twentieth-century scholar to elevate the voices and perspectives of Nahua peoples, the descendants of the prehispanic Aztecs. The Broken Spears was first published in Spanish in 1959 and translated to English in 1962. It has been translated into many other languages and revised versions since.  Its key sixteenth-century texts include portions of Book 12 of the Florentine Codex, compiled by the Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagún, and sections of the Annals of Tlatelolco. Within these composite sources, readers can sense the multivalence of the Native authors…

By Miguel León-Portilla,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Broken Spears as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For hundreds of years, the history of the conquest of Mexico and the defeat of the Aztecs has been told in the words of the Spanish victors. Miguel León-Portilla has long been at the forefront of expanding that history to include the voices of indigenous peoples. In this new and updated edition of his classic The Broken Spears, León-Portilla has included accounts from native Aztec descendants across the centuries. These texts bear witness to the extraordinary vitality of an oral tradition that preserves the viewpoints of the vanquished instead of the victors. León-Portilla's new Postscript reflects upon the critical importance…


Book cover of The History of the Conquest of New Spain

Alan Huffman Author Of Here I Am: The Story of Tim Hetherington, War Photographer

From my list on traveling to dangerous places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started out like most travelers, attracted to new places and to meeting people whose worlds were different from my own. Typically, this meant tried-and-true destinations in Europe until a book project required me to visit an utterly daunting place, the West African nation of Liberia during a civil war. I was in no way prepared for the experience and it changed everything. Seeing how people behave when faced with extreme circumstances profoundly altered my view of the world. Everything was magnified. Though I still enjoy a cup of espresso on the Piazza Navona, there is nothing like traveling to a forbidden zone and meeting someone destined to be a lifelong friend on the roof of a bombed-out building. It opens the world in ways that are challenging and scary, but also incomparably rewarding. 

Alan's book list on traveling to dangerous places

Alan Huffman Why did Alan love this book?

Any account of dangerous travel holds the potential for unexpected revelation, but this one taps a motherlode of rare insights and observations. Part of the reason is that Diaz, a twenty-something soldier of fortune in Hernán Cortés’ 16th-century expedition to the New World, became enchanted by the Aztec civilization that he and his compadres had come to pillage and destroy. Diaz writes vividly and lyrically, with a keen eye for graphic detail, and is unsparing in his accounts of the remarkable brutality on both sides. Five centuries later, his account remains illuminating and disturbing, and shows it’s not always necessary to like your traveling companion to gain insight into a perilous, previously unknown world.

By Davíd Carrasco, Bernal Díaz del Castillo,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The History of the Conquest of New Spain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The History of the Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Diaz del Castillo, a new abridgement of Diaz del Castillo's classic ""Historia verdadera de la conquista de Nueva Espana"", offers a unique contribution to our understanding of the political and religious forces that drove the great cultural encounter between Spain and the Americas known as the 'conquest of Mexico.' Besides containing important passages, scenes, and events excluded from other abridgements, this edition includes eight useful interpretive essays that address indigenous religions and cultural practices, sexuality during the early colonial period, the roles of women in indigenous cultures, and analysis of…


Book cover of The Buried Mirror: Reflections on Spain and the New World

David Carballo Author Of Collision of Worlds: A Deep History of the Fall of Aztec Mexico and the Forging of New Spain

From my list on the Aztec-Spanish War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an archaeologist at Boston University with a transatlantic family that spans Spain and Latin America.  My research has primarily focused on Mesoamerica, and prehispanic central Mexico more specifically, but the deep roots of these transatlantic entanglements have always fascinated me personally and as a historically minded scholar.

David's book list on the Aztec-Spanish War

David Carballo Why did David love this book?

The great Mexican author Carlos Fuentes wrote this book as a commemorative reflection of an earlier quincentennial, that of 1492-1992. Fuentes’ book is transatlantic in scope and considers the fraught history of Hispanic heritage in the Americas. The title metaphorically employs the mirror—both of the kind fashioned from obsidian by the Aztecs and the one bringing the viewer into Diego Velázquez’s masterpiece of Spanish golden-age painting, Las Meninas—in reflecting on this mixed inheritance five centuries later. Cultural mixing, or mestizaje, defines the creation of Latin America and its millennial-deep roots in the exchange networks, migrations, political alliances, and colonialism on the part of Mesoamerican and Iberian peoples, on both sides of the Atlantic. Fuentes is a gifted writer and Buried Mirror is what first got me thinking about these historical entanglements when I read it as a college student.

By Carlos Fuentes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Buried Mirror as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A best-selling and lavishly illustrated history of Hispanic culture from the "Balzac of Mexico," The Buried Mirror is a classic in its field.

The renowned novelist Carlos Fuentes has crafted a unique history of the social, political, and economic forces that created the remarkable culture which stretches from the mysterious cave drawings at Altamira to the explosive graffiti on the walls of East Los Angeles.

“A bittersweet celebration of the hybrid culture of Spain in the New World…Drawing expertly on five centuries of the cultural history of Europe and the Americas, Fuentes seeks to capture the spirit of the new,…


Book cover of Exquisite Slaves: Race, Clothing, and Status in Colonial Lima

Robert S. DuPlessis Author Of The Material Atlantic: Clothing, Commerce, and Colonization in the Atlantic World, 1650-1800

From my list on innovations in the first consumer revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always wanted to know why people acquire the things they choose, how they get them, and what they do with them. For years, too, I’ve been fascinated by the period when modernity was being born, a time full of worldwide exploration, the founding of new nations and societies, and the invention of new ways of making, transporting, and distributing all sorts of goods and services. I discovered that studying consumers, consumer goods, and trade from the mid-seventeenth to the late eighteenth century was the perfect way to satisfy my curiosity. The Material Atlantic is my report about what I’ve learned.

Robert's book list on innovations in the first consumer revolution

Robert S. DuPlessis Why did Robert love this book?

Luxury is not usually associated with slavery. But in the colonial Americas, it could be. Sometimes, because some enslaved men and women were tailors and seamstresses, and some of the clothing they created was costly. More often, however, because some enslaved people got their hands on expensive, fashionable clothing.

Historians have begun to tell this story, and few do it better than the young scholar Tamara Walker. In this superb study, Walker tracks down all sorts of sources, written and pictorial, to describe the many ways that enslaved individuals acquired fine clothing in Lima, Peru, a Spanish-American colonial capital renowned for its residents’ opulent apparel.

Exquisite Slaves adds a fresh dimension to the exciting scholarship that is revealing how marginalized groups have obtained goods usually forbidden to them.

By Tamara J. Walker,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Exquisite Slaves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Exquisite Slaves, Tamara J. Walker examines how slaves used elegant clothing as a language for expressing attitudes about gender and status in the wealthy urban center of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Lima, Peru. Drawing on traditional historical research methods, visual studies, feminist theory, and material culture scholarship, Walker argues that clothing was an emblem of not only the reach but also the limits of slaveholders' power and racial domination. Even as it acknowledges the significant limits imposed on slaves' access to elegant clothing, Exquisite Slaves also showcases the insistence and ingenuity with which slaves dressed to convey their own sense…


Book cover of Colonial Habits: Convents and the Spiritual Economy of Cuzco, Peru

Karen Graubart Author Of With Our Labor and Sweat: Indigenous Women and the Formation of Colonial Society in Peru, 1550-1700

From my list on gender in colonial Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a historian of gender in colonial Latin America. I'm always looking for surprises in these stories: men's and women's lives in the past were not narrower than ours, and I love to find their strategies for dealing with a system that was often stacked against them. I enjoy learning that my expectations were wrong, and thinking about the past as a living world. As a researcher who is always stumbling on unusual documents that I have to confront with fresh eyes, I really love a book that challenges me to think about how we can even know about the past, especially in terms of race and gender.

Karen's book list on gender in colonial Latin America

Karen Graubart Why did Karen love this book?

I've always wondered why Latin American colonial cities had so many convents, surely there were not enough nuns to populate them in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?

Kathryn Burns not only clears up this mystery but shows us that convents were more or less the banks of their era, taking in funds in the form of nuns' entrance fees and gifts and bequests and then investing and lending them out (at interest) to local notables, often relatives of the women inside.

Convents were not simply homes for religious women, but were places where young women were formed, Spaniards, Indigenous, and Black, for the sake of the new colonial society. I would not have thought I would find the history of convents a page-turner, but I loved the scandals, the race relations, and the unexpected economic history.

By Kathryn Burns,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Colonial Habits as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Colonial Habits Kathryn Burns transforms our view of nuns as marginal recluses, making them central actors on the colonial stage. Beginning with the 1558 founding of South America's first convent, Burns shows that nuns in Cuzco played a vital part in subjugating Incas, creating a creole elite, and reproducing an Andean colonial order in which economic and spiritual interests were inextricably fused.
Based on unprecedented archival research, Colonial Habits demonstrates how nuns became leading guarantors of their city's social order by making loans, managing property, containing "unruly" women, and raising girls. Coining the phrase "spiritual economy" to analyze the…


Book cover of Passing to America: Antonio (Nee Maria) Yta's Transgressive, Transatlantic Life in the Twilight of the Spanish Empire

Karen Graubart Author Of With Our Labor and Sweat: Indigenous Women and the Formation of Colonial Society in Peru, 1550-1700

From my list on gender in colonial Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a historian of gender in colonial Latin America. I'm always looking for surprises in these stories: men's and women's lives in the past were not narrower than ours, and I love to find their strategies for dealing with a system that was often stacked against them. I enjoy learning that my expectations were wrong, and thinking about the past as a living world. As a researcher who is always stumbling on unusual documents that I have to confront with fresh eyes, I really love a book that challenges me to think about how we can even know about the past, especially in terms of race and gender.

Karen's book list on gender in colonial Latin America

Karen Graubart Why did Karen love this book?

Truly one of the most exhilarating and surprising books I have read in a long time!

Abercrombie found a cache of documents left from the trial of Antonio Yta, born María Yta, who lived as a man after being tossed out of five different Spanish convents in the late eighteenth century. Yta ended up in South America, where he became a petty bureaucrat and married a Spanish woman who eventually turned him in to authorities. Along the way, Yta received permission from the Vatican to live and dress as a man. The story is not only full of ups and downs, but Abercrombie has transcribed a lot of the documentary record to show readers how Yta's family, friends, and colleagues struggled with who he was.

The book is divided into parts that tell the story, engage with different academic literature, and imagine Yta's life so that a reader can tailor…

By Thomas A. Abercrombie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Passing to America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1803 in the colonial South American city of La Plata, Dona Martina Vilvado y Balverde presented herself to church and crown officials to denounce her husband of more than four years, Don Antonio Yta, as a "woman in disguise." Forced to submit to a medical inspection that revealed a woman's body, Don Antonio confessed to having been Maria Yta, but continued to assert his maleness and claimed to have a functional "member" that appeared, he said, when necessary.

Passing to America is at once a historical biography and an in-depth examination of the sex/gender complex in an era before…


Karen Graubart Author Of With Our Labor and Sweat: Indigenous Women and the Formation of Colonial Society in Peru, 1550-1700

From my list on gender in colonial Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a historian of gender in colonial Latin America. I'm always looking for surprises in these stories: men's and women's lives in the past were not narrower than ours, and I love to find their strategies for dealing with a system that was often stacked against them. I enjoy learning that my expectations were wrong, and thinking about the past as a living world. As a researcher who is always stumbling on unusual documents that I have to confront with fresh eyes, I really love a book that challenges me to think about how we can even know about the past, especially in terms of race and gender.

Karen's book list on gender in colonial Latin America

Karen Graubart Why did Karen love this book?

This book introduced me to the concept of a "private pregnancy." Imagine that you are a wealthy young woman in the colonial Spanish empire. Your beloved asks to marry you, and you agree; based on that agreement, you begin to have sexual relations. You become pregnant. In many cases, this would not matter: marriage would eventually legitimate that child.

But what if he leaves or dies? You and your family have to create a fiction that you are not pregnant, place your child elsewhere, and hope you live an honorable enough life that the child can someday also benefit from your reputation. This is the kernel of Twinam's story of how Latin American elites manufactured notions of honor within their society and how Spanish monarchs ended up publishing a price list for legitimating illegitimate births after the fact. It really revealed the mindset behind elite society, not only colonial but…

Book cover of We People Here: Nahuatl Accounts of the Conquest of Mexico

Camilla Townsend Author Of Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs

From my list on the Aztecs by people who once knew an Aztec.

Why am I passionate about this?

Twenty-five years ago, I began to study Nahuatl, the language once spoken by the Aztecs—and still spoken today by more than a million Indigenous people in Mexico. This has opened up to me a world of great excitement. After the Spanish conquest, many Aztecs learned the Roman alphabet. During the day, they used it to study the texts presented to them by the Franciscan friars. But in the evenings, they used it to transcribe old histories recited for them by their parents and grandparents. Today we are beginning to use those writings to learn more about the Aztecs than we ever could before we studied their language.

Camilla's book list on the Aztecs by people who once knew an Aztec

Camilla Townsend Why did Camilla love this book?

There are several books purporting to contain Nahuatl (or Aztec language) accounts of the conquest of Mexico.

This one by a late great scholar from UCLA is by far the best. His helpful introduction sets the scene, and the careful translations bring us right into the center of the action. The Spaniards may have thought they were impressing the Indians, but in this account by the Indians, we learn that they were sometimes laughing at the Europeans!

By James Lockhart (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We People Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Historians are concerned today that the Spaniards' early accounts of their first experiences with the Indians in the Americas should be balanced with accounts from the Indian perspective. 'We People Here' reflects that concern, bringing together important and revealing documents written in the Nahuatl language in sixteenth-century Mexico. James Lockhart's superior translation combines contemporary English with the most up-to-date, nuanced understanding of Nahuatl grammar and meaning. The foremost Nahuatl conquest account is Book Twelve of the Florentine Codex. In this monumental work - volume 1 of a series, produced by U.C.L.A's Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, called the 'Repertorium…


Book cover of The Native Conquistador: Alva Ixtlilxochitl's Account of the Conquest of New Spain

Camilla Townsend Author Of Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs

From my list on the Aztecs by people who once knew an Aztec.

Why am I passionate about this?

Twenty-five years ago, I began to study Nahuatl, the language once spoken by the Aztecs—and still spoken today by more than a million Indigenous people in Mexico. This has opened up to me a world of great excitement. After the Spanish conquest, many Aztecs learned the Roman alphabet. During the day, they used it to study the texts presented to them by the Franciscan friars. But in the evenings, they used it to transcribe old histories recited for them by their parents and grandparents. Today we are beginning to use those writings to learn more about the Aztecs than we ever could before we studied their language.

Camilla's book list on the Aztecs by people who once knew an Aztec

Camilla Townsend Why did Camilla love this book?

Many people don’t realize that there were Indigenous people who chose to side with the Spaniards.

If they had reasons of their own to support the powerful outsiders, they sometimes did so. One such man had a great-great-grandson who became a writer in colonial Mexico. He took the family stories and did some research of his own, and then wrote this compelling account of the decisions his ancestor made and the actions he took.

I love his pride! (Warning: you have to like battle scenes to like this one.)

By Amber Brian (editor), Bradley Benton (editor), Pablo Garcia Loaeza (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Native Conquistador as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For many years, scholars of the conquest worked to shift focus away from the Spanish perspective and bring attention to the often-ignored voices and viewpoints of the Indians. But recent work that highlights the "Indian conquistadors" has forced scholars to reexamine the simple categories of conqueror and subject and to acknowledge the seemingly contradictory roles assumed by native peoples who chose to fight alongside the Spaniards against other native groups. The Native Conquistador-a translation of the "Thirteenth Relation," written by don Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl in the early seventeenth century-narrates the conquest of Mexico from Hernando Cortes's arrival in 1519…


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