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Noble David Cook explains, in vivid detail and sweeping scope, how the conquest of the New World was achieved by a handful of Europeans--not by the sword, but by deadly disease. The Aztec and Inca empires with their teeming millions were destroyed by a few hundred Europeans whose most important weapons, though the conquerors did not realize it at the time, were diseases previously unknown in the Americas. The end result of the colonizing experience in the Americas, whether of the Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, English, or French, was the collapse of native society.Read more
- Compulsory reading for students of the history of the Americas and European expansion
- Focuses on relationship of biological/environmental factors (especially epidemic diseases) and historical change
- Refines and extends arguments of Crosby, Stannard, and Thornton, while rejecting Henige
Reviews & endorsements
"The book challenges the Black Legend, which attempts to place all of the blame for the injustices of conquest on the Spanish, to demonstrate how all Old World peoples carried, literally though unwittingly, the germs of the destruction of American civilization." UC MEXUS NEWSSee more reviews
"...an important work that shows New World societies reeling from forces far beyond their control." Choice
"The book's strength lies in the extensive use of primary data from the various libraries. Those interested in medical history will find this monograph a pleasant and informative source of information. Overall, I found Born to Die a fascinating work that will appeal to anyone interested in the social, economic, and medical history of the New World immediately after its discovery and conquest." Robert C. Kimbrough III, MD; JAMA
"...[Cook] has produced a notable and well-written counterargument to some of the virulently anti-Spanish texts of the early 1990s." Foreign Affairs
"This is an important book which needs to be read by all who are interested in understanding the catastrophe that confronted the Amerindian peoples..." William T. Walker, Sixteenth Century Journal
"[Born to Die]...will become a standard reference in the literature of the European conquest of the Americas." J.H. Galloway, The International History Review
"Whether one is an expert or not in the role of diseases in the conquest of the New World, this book will prove an enlightening addition to your collection." Michael T. Campbell, Revista Interamericana
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- Date Published: February 1998
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521627306
- length: 268 pages
- dimensions: 215 x 170 x 17 mm
- weight: 0.37kg
- contains: 15 b/w illus. 4 maps 13 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. In the path of the hurricane: disease and the disappearance of the peoples of the Caribbean, 1492–1518
2. The deaths of Aztec Cuitlahuac and Inca Huayna Capac: the first New World pandemics
3. Settling in: epidemics and conquest to the end of the first century
4. Regional outbreaks from the 1530s to century's end
5. New arrivals: peoples and illnesses from 1600–1650
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