A Revolutionary History of The Aztecs

Ben Ehrenreich at The Guardian:

It is to Townsend’s credit that she does not attempt to be comprehensive. The cosmology of the Aztecs, their calendar, gods and myths, get only glancing treatment here. This is a brief history, and one told subtly and well, primarily through the lives of individuals. First among them is the woman baptised by the Spanish as Marina and known in Nahuatl as Malintzin, re-hispanicised as Malinche – a name that would become a synonym for traitor. Born to a noble lineage of a people unhappily subject to Aztec rule, she was offered as a tribute payment to the Mexica and then sold to the Chontal Maya on the Yucatán coast, one of the first communities to encounter Cortés’s ships. Given away again to the Spaniards, she survived by making herself indispensable, serving as Cortés’s concubine and interpreter as he tortured and slaughtered his way around the continent. Townsend has elsewhere devoted an entire book, Matlintzin’s Choices, to her resurrection. She emerges here as a complex and sympathetic figure, able – as indigenous Mexicans would be for generations to come – to hold many worlds within herself at once.

more here.