Description - A Land So Strange by Andre Resendez
This is the gripping story of a doomed mission to North America - and the four survivors who journeyed for a decade across the new world just discovered by Christopher Columbus. Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca was a fortune-seeking Spanish nobleman and the treasurer of an expedition sent to claim for Spain a vast area of today's southern United States. Delayed by a hurricane and then knocked off course by a colossal mistake of navigation, the mission was doomed to failure when its' leaders decided to separate the men from their ships on the Florida coast. The expedition quickly turned into a harrowing struggle for survival that included a long march through Florida, a dangerous raft passage, and, for those few who lived, a decade-long struggle to cheat death and make their way home. Of the 300 men who set out to colonize Florida in 1528, only four would survive - Cabeza, two other Spaniards and an African slave. All told, the four spent almost ten years living alternately as conquistadors, slaves and then miracle healers. They journeyed through regions of the American Southeast and Southwest that no other outsiders had seen before.
Determined to escape to Spanish-controlled territory on the Pacific coast, they planned their escape and ended up crossing the entire continent on foot. Their incredible journey transformed the men completely. In an age when Europeans were still debating whether or not the native peoples of America had souls at all, the four castaways spent years among them, learning their languages and understanding their culture. It was this knowledge that ultimately enabled them to escape. Cabeza de Vaca ultimately wrote a brief but extraordinary chronicle of his journey, which is now in print in several editions. In it, he describes the scores of natural and human obstacles the group encountered as they made their way across an unknown land. The chronicle contains a trove of ethnographic information, including descriptions and interpretations of native cultures. In the first book for general readers, scholar Andrew Resendez conjoins the facts recounted by Cabeza with his own research in the history and culture of 16th century North America to describe this epic journey and these extraordinary first contacts as they must have been perceived by all parties.
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(210mm x 140mm x 29mm)
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
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Author Biography - Andre Resendez
Andres Resendez, is Professor of History at the University of California.