Friday, May 6, 2011

Conquistador Reveals Bloody Apostle

Traveling from Veracruz to Mexico City is not a major journey - unless you do it on foot, wearing full metal armor, offroad without good maps, and with thousands of ferocious warriors trying to kill you. Who would attempt this? Only one guy. Buddy Levy's book Conquistador allows us to march alongside one of history's most insanely-courageous leaders: Hernan Cortes.

The book compels readers eagerly down this deadly road for God, gold and glory. Despite an avalanche of facts, the complexities of weapons, battles, alliances and negotiations are made clear without slowing the riveting drama.

The narrative documents three controversial propositions. 1) Hernan Cortes was a military genius of Napoleonic or Alexanderic magnitude. He pulled off an incredibly-ballsy, nearly-impossible feat, regardless of how we view it ethically.

2) This wasn't a simple confrontation between Europeans and Natives. What Cortez orchestrated was a new-world civil-war, pitting Aztecs against oppressed neighbors, who hated them enough to fight bravely with Cortes as the lesser of two evils.

3) Despite foul hypocrisy and kindergarden theology, Hernan is to the Americas what Constantine is to Europe: a bloody apostle who spread the Word with the help of swords and prophetic visions. (Constantine saw a cross in the sky by which he'd conquer; Montezuma saw a kingdom from across the sea by which he'd be conquered. These two omens helped propel an Asian called Jesus into a global faith.)

If you doubt the long-term religious influence of the cruel Cortes, consider my recent experience. Visiting a remote Chinantec village in Mexico, I commented on what looked like a Day of the Dead altar. Villagers rebuked me insisting "We are Catholics, this is an All Saints' Day altar, and Day of the Dead is pagan necromancy!" Point taken. To say Hernan Cortes was merely a marauder with no spiritual impact is to say you haven't traveled Latin America much. Admire him or hate him, this guy matters, so the gripping Conquistador matters too.


  1. Really nice...Thanks for sharing the link otherwise I wouldn't have really known about all this stuff. I will keep an eye on your blog!

  2. Gladys Serra AlavezMay 10, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    It was a Mexican conquistador adventurous and restless spirit, he had the urge of greed as he was ever ready to conquests.
    Hernán Cortés took pride in his knowledge of Latin, romance and history, which allowed him to express himself freely and dapper style in his various writings and particularly in his Letters of relationship.

  3. Hernan Cortes was a positioner of land, and a founder tha new citys...

  4. Hernan Cortes was an ambitious person, their goal was to steal the gold from the natives, not being a Catholic missionary, his ambition was so great that it was a racist and discriminatory person besides being a murderer.

    Jose Antonio B.

  5. I considere that Hernan Cortes was an opportunist talking advantage of the people. Gold an glory were important for him

  6. Nice publication, the book content is very good, Hernan Cortez is person Interesting.