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Conquistadors

Summer 2011

Buddy Levy: Historical investigator

In a fabulously snide review of the first episode of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded on the History Channel, a reviewer for The New York Times refers to investigator Buddy Levy, “who could be a bus driver but who is in fact an English professor at Washington State University and a freelance writer of magazine articles about adventure sports.”

Levy himself thinks that’s pretty funny.

“I’m cool with that,” he says. “I’m a bus driver who can write a narrative history of the Amazon.”

That narrative history, which our charming reviewer neglected to mention, is Levy’s latest book, River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana’s Legendary Voyage of Death … » More …

Winter 2008

Conquistador: Hernan Cortés, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs

I suspect I am a good example of the intended audience for this book, which is a popular account of the strange, tragic relationship between Cortés and Montezuma, and the destruction of a way of life. I can’t remember reading anything about Cortés or Montezuma since high school, other than an occasional National Geographic article. So, I am not the best person to comment on the scholarship. But I can comment on the readability as a popular history, and Levy captured me in the initial pages. He has a way of spinning a good story, of keeping the pages turning, and as the pages turn, … » More …