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Malintzin's Choices: An Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Dialogos)by Camilla Townsend
Synopses & Reviews
Advance man, press agent, and publicist extraordinaire, John M. Burke (1842and#8211;1917) was instrumental in turning William F. Cody into the iconic persona of Buffalo Bill. And with this biography, published in 1893, Burke put the finishing touches on the legend that persists to this day. This new, definitive edition includes the full text and all the photographs and line drawings of Burkeand#8217;s original, while providing critical background on the literary sources, historical characters, and events that figure in the work.
With and#8220;a few plain truths, unadorned,and#8221; Burke purported to give a frank account of Buffalo Billand#8217;s life. Hostile Indians, gunfights, cattle stampedes: Codyand#8217;s Wild West was fraught with peril at every turn. This and#8220;Chevalier Bayard of American Bordermenand#8221; exemplified courage and daring while often narrowly escaping certain death and earned the respect and admiration of not only his fellow frontiersman but also European royalty. Burke recounts Codyand#8217;s duel with Chief Yellow Hand; his role as army scout, buffalo hunter, Pony Express rider, and international celebrity; and his associations with well-known figures like Kit Carson, Sitting Bull, General Phil Sheridan, and Queen Victoria. A brilliant instance of mythmaking by a true believer, Burkeand#8217;s portrait of Buffalo Bill Cody as frontiersman and hero is a tribute to the romance of the Wild West and a canonical volume in the American story.
The complicated life of the real woman who came to be known as La Malinche.
Malintzin was the indigenous woman who translated for Hernando Cortés in his dealings with the Aztec emperor Moctezuma in the days of 1519 to 1521. "Malintzin," at least, was what the Indians called her. The Spanish called her doña Marina, and she has become known to posterity as La Malinche. As Malinche, she has long been regarded as a traitor to her people, a dangerously sexy, scheming woman who gave Cortés whatever he wanted out of her own self-interest.
The life of the real woman, however, was much more complicated. She was sold into slavery as a child, and eventually given away to the Spanish as a concubine and cook. If she managed to make something more out of her life--and she did--it is difficult to say at what point she did wrong. In getting to know the trials and intricacies with which Malintzin's life was laced, we gain new respect for her steely courage, as well as for the bravery and quick thinking demonstrated by many other Native Americans in the earliest period of contact with Europeans.
In this study of Malintzin's life, Camilla Townsend rejects all the previous myths and tries to restore dignity to the profoundly human men and women who lived and died in those days. Drawing on Spanish and Aztec language sources, she breathes new life into an old tale, and offers insights into the major issues of conquest and colonization, including technology and violence, resistance and accommodation, gender and power.
About the Author
Camilla Townsend is associate professor of history at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She is the author of Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma and Tales of Two Cities.
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