Example Of The Broken Spears By Miguel Leon Portilla, Book Review Book Review
Type of paper: Book Review
Topic: Literature, Books, Message, Colonialism, Colonization, Colonial, Colony, History
The Broken Spears by Miguel Leon Portilla is a good attempt to dispel the false accounts by the Spaniards about the conquest of Mexico. While previous historical books have been biased by telling the story from Spaniards perspective, Portilla’s book presents to the reader the story from the Aztec’s society point of view. There is no better way than obtaining the details of an epic event first hand. The message that Portilla is trying to pass across is that the victims of the conquest also has a story that should also be illuminated. The role of culture in the conquest and how cultural clash created resistance is emphasized too.
The book is to students and non-specialists, because perhaps the author felt that the other audiences like historians are already contaminated with the biased account. However, the students and non-specialists in historical matters have no preconceived convictions of the events, therefore they probably receive the book with an open mind and make own unbiased judgments.
The book was written at a time when postcolonial nations are trying to break away from the colonial chains and forge forward with the post independence goals. The message is thus timely because it supports the hypothesis that the colonized were not passive players, rather they resisted, adapted and survived the inhumane treatment from the colonial masters. However, some oppressive postcolonial governments are still singing the tunes of the colonial masters, and the message that Mexicans tried to resist the Spaniards, despite being greatly overpowered, drives the message home that citizens should resist neocolonialism.
Furthermore, the author’s personal context allows him to present a diverse historical sources and documents, to support his claim. For instance, the texts written by the natives are way of calling the reader’s attention to understand the point of view of the indigenous people. Although the different accounts in the same context are somehow confusing, it is significant for one to read how cultural differences could cause so much conflict.
Portilla, Leon Miguel. The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006. Print.