From the moment that I opened The First Letter from New Spain to its conclusion, I found myself ridiculously excited about the material. At many points I questioned my own objectivity in reviewing a book whose topic created a childlike glee. In the end John F. Schwaller and Helen Nader did not disappoint. In ways the book unfolds like a conquest story of its own. The authors start with a sense of discovery, the type that every historian hopes to uncover, by discussing Schwaller's landing at the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain, and his discovery of an unknown document. In the introduction Schwaller places the work squarely within the “New Conquest History” yet clearly points to how the book bridges the divide between this new scholarship and earlier historiography of the conquistadores, such as James Lockhart's The Men of Cajamarca...

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