When Montezuma Met Cortés by Matthew Restall

When Montezuma Met Cortés

A dramatic rethinking of the encounter between Montezuma and Hernando Cortés that completely overturns what we know about the Spanish conquest of the AmericasOn November 8, 1519, the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortés 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—ha...

Details When Montezuma Met Cortés

TitleWhen Montezuma Met Cortés
Release DateJan 30th, 2018
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, North American Hi..., American History, Historical

Reviews When Montezuma Met Cortés

  • Avery
    This book's mission is actually a very cool one: it exposes the story of "Montezuma welcoming Cortez as the reincarnation of Quetzalcoatl" as a long, storied fabrication that actually began with the confusion of the conquistadors themselves. Evidence is presented that Cortez was neither a hero nor a villain, but merely a quick-witted con man who was possibly putting a Quixotic spin on the events around him to his fellow conquistadors even as they...
  • Jake
    It's meticulously researched and Restall brings up some interesting ways in which to think about history, I'll give him that. But if I had known the book was going to amount to a 350 page literature review with no real narrative to speak of (for example, the book starts with The Meeting, then shifts to pre-Cortez Aztec life, then jumps to Cortez's early life, then to Montezuma's death, then Cortez's legacy and later life then...you get the pictur...
  • James Murphy
    Next year will be the 500th anniversary of Cortes's entrance into Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec peoples of Mesoamerica. Such a long span of time helps explain the story's blurring. Much of what we think we know of the Aztecs and the Spanish conquest of Mexico is wrong. Restall calls his history a revisionist one because he tries to correct the misperceptions and exaggerations which have grown from the various histories written about thos...
  • Judy
    Matthew Restall certainly does his research. I find myself skipping parts, going ahead and then going back. This book should be of interest to any history buff. A whole different perspective on the Spanish invasion of Mexico. Not a quick read but very enlightening.
  • Randal
    Likely a polarizing title. OK, back up. All stories of conquest are polarizing; victor writes the history, etc., until recent pushback has gotten more vanquished tales in print. Columbus / Cortés are taking their kickings these days. But this one is likely to create a rift between scholars of Mesoamerica and everybody else, not because of the content but the way it's put together.The first third of the book is essentially a review of the literat...
  • John
    wow eye opener shedding away all the legendsgenocide to the tenth powerno spoiler alerts here--The author brilliant detective work--
  • Peter Goodman
    “When Montezuma Met Cortés: the true story of the meeting that changed history,” by Matthew Restall (HarperCollins, 2018). Long story short: Cortés was not the brilliant, courageous, visionary, world-striding conqueror he has long been presented as. Montezuma was not a blithering, cowardly, effeminate loser. The reverse: Cortés was a mediocre, not very enterprising, lower level conquistador with talents for self-promotion and survival. Mon...
  • Michael Flick
    Rethinking “the conquest of Mexico” from the native point of view—the “Spanish-Aztec War.” It’s fascinating but very tough because there is so little to go on from the Aztec side since they had no formal written language and records. And the Spanish preserved few if any memories of how things really were before their arrival, wiping it all clean. No religious texts, no history books, no philosophy treatises, no gossip and tales. No no...
  • Jose Luis (Liantener)
    Interesantísimo libro que desmitifica los hechos alrededor de la conquista de México.Basado mucho en la lógica y en una profunda investigación, Restall trata de discernir cómo debieron suceder los eventos que llevaron a la conquista de México, haciendo un énfasis especial en desmentir la pobre visión que se tiene de Moctezuma y la desproporcionadas reacciones (algunas muy positivas y otras muy negativas) sobre la figura de Cortés.Básica...
  • John A. Kristianson
    So this book is about 550 pages. The narrative is 350 of that. The rest is footnotes, cast of characters etc. The reason that I point this out is that this is a HISTORY book. Not a novel. It is very heavily researched and footnoted. A very good read on the mythistory (I think that is the word the author used) of the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish. The author peels away the myths surrounding Cortes and his conquistadors with their relations to...
  • Socraticgadfly
    This is "revisionist history" at its best. The book is dense at times and does jump around somewhat.That said, if one looks at Restall's author page, he's definitely got the background and the chops to know what he's talking about. His general reframing ideas are sound.For one reviewer who doesn't like Restall's calling the Aztec sacrifices 'executions,' how do you know that, too, isn't part of Spanish reframing?For the unfamiliar, Restall's thes...
  • Brian Denton
    A historically revisionist account seeking to recast the traditional Conquest of Mexico story as the Spanish-Aztec War wherein the mythistory of Hernan Cortes is decentered while his fellow conquistadors and the Nahua people themselves are elevated to principal roles in the narrative. What emerges from this telling is more a messy, brutal, lengthy, and chaotic war than a simple conquest. Restall argues against the traditional story of an all-conq...
  • Ann
    A lengthy treatise on the conquest of Mexico from the view of a Post Modernist and Revisionist- that said- this book was interesting and gave me plenty to ponder. Back in high school I read Captain from Castile - a fictionalized account of the life of Cortes and being from New Mexico I was better acquainted with the history of Mexico than most but there are volumes to read and study about the history of Mexico. I did study the history of Central ...
  • Karin
    For a history book, it was pretty good. At first, I felt like I should be taking notes. I also imagined how I would assign chapters to a class. The book highlighted how the Spanish depicted Cortes as a hero and a strong leader. And how the minimized Montezuma. How the meeting of the 2 was anything but recorded/reported correctly. The book was laid out to carefully construct his argument. What struck me was his comparison to a massacre in Vietnam ...
  • Brooks
    Exceptional. The author brings to life Montezuma II, ruler of the Aztecs, his capital city Tenochtitlan in 1519 AD, and similarly Hernan Cortes. He brings as much realism as possible to the events occurring in the months just prior to the meeting and the subsequent months and events to give background to the meeting between the two. After creating the setting, he deciphers what likely occurred at the meeting and the almost certain misinterpretati...
  • Emily
    Restall presents an interesting thesis on the fabricated "surrender" of Montezuma to the infamous Conquistador Hernando Cortés. Although I've been looking forward to reading this for weeks now, I found myself zoning out through certain chapters as the text can be a bit dense and meandering. Despite some lulls in the writing, the research is impressive (that bibliography!) and I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in a modern ana...
  • Hector Acevedo
    Really enjoyed this book. It emphasizes the importance of not forgetting the dead don’t write history. It also reminds us to be analytical and thoughtful learners. Meaning: Don’t trust a conquistador’s story.
  • Paul Heikkila
    A bit of a slog, but it picks up toward the end. Worth finishing. It is rather more a critique of historians, poets, librettists, and others who have taken Cortes to be something more mythic than historic.
  • Andrea
    The thesis of the book is eye opening and fascinating. The author uses logic and historical evidence to recast the historical view of Montezuma and Cortes. However, the organization is nonlinear and very confusing.
  • Kookie
    Well researched and well written retelling of a story that I thought I knew. So much to mull over. This never gets bogged down or boring. Well done.
  • Catherine Shereshewsky
    Too muchExhaustingly complete, with all the bickering of exhausting historians. More detail than needed...or wanted. I gave up, but learned a ton.
  • Denise Cameron
    I am currently reading this book. Only on the second chapter, but it extremely fascinating. It is true what they say, that the victors write history and more like they distort it.
  • Ruth
    I highly recommend this one. Restall went back to primary sources to break down the myths of the Spanish "conquest" and Aztec "submission". This is well written and documented. Very good!
  • David Searle
    Well researched & thought-provoking investigation into the historiography of the “Spanish Conquest”.
  • Olivia
    En intressant sammanfattning över en intressant del av historien. Den glorifierar inte heller spanjorerna och försöker ge en nyanserad och ganska objektiv bild från båda sidor.
  • Elliemae
    3.5 stars
  • Amy Steinman
    Very academic - difficult to read. Spent most of the time refuting other theories.
  • Kate S
    This was more academic than I was prepared for. I found I did not have enough basic knowledge of the history of Mexico and Central America to truly appreciate how much work this author did.
  • Prima Seadiva
    Audiobook. Reader good. Interesting recounting of the period when Cortes invaded Mesoamerica. I could have used less repetitive examples and a more linear recounting rather than a lot of jumping around. I was not unfamiliar with how different the history actually was compared to traditional history.I guess as a more casual reader I did not need so much detail. It could be that in print form the detail might have been more usefulThe author notes 1...