Brutal Journey by Paul Schneider
The Epic Story of the First Crossing of North America

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Synopsis

A gripping account of four explorers adrift in an unknown land and the harrowing journey that took them across North America 270 years before Lewis and Clark

One part Heart of Darkness, one part Lewis and Clark, Brutal Journey tells the story of a group of explorers who came to the new world on the heels of Cortés; bound for glory, only four of four hundred would survive. Eight years and some five thousand miles later, three Spaniards and a black Moroccan wandered out of the wilderness to the north of the Rio Grande and into Cortes’ gold-drenched Mexico.

The four survivors of the Narváez expedition brought nothing back from their sojourn other than their story, but what a tale it was. They had become killers and cannibals, torturers and torture victims, slavers and enslaved. They became faith healers, arms dealers, canoe thieves, spider eaters, and finally, when there were only the four of them left in the high Texas desert, they became itinerate messiahs. They became, in other words, whatever it took to stay alive long enough to inch their way toward Mexico, the only place where they were certain they would find an outpost of the Spanish empire.

The journey of the Cabeza De Vaca expedition is one of the greatest survival epics in the history of American exploration. By drawing on the accounts of the first explorers and the most recent findings of archaeologists and academic historians, Paul Schneider offers a thrilling and authentic narrative to replace a legend of North American exploration.


 

About Paul Schneider

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Paul Schneider is the acclaimed author of Bonnie and Clyde, Brutal Journey, The Enduring Shore, and The Adirondacks, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book. He and his family live in West Tisbury, Massachusetts.
 
Published April 26, 2013 by Henry Holt and Co.. 384 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Schneider’s well-told tale begins with avarice and jealousy, as the conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez, having rebelled against the better-connected Hernán Cortés and been imprisoned for his troubles, nonetheless manages to convince the Spanish crown to let him take charge of conquering “the entire ...

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The New York Times

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In 1527, Pánfilo de Narváez led some 400 men on an expedition to Florida. Four survived.

May 14 2006 | Read Full Review of Brutal Journey: The Epic Stor...

Entertainment Weekly

In 1528, a Spanish military expedition floundered going from present-day Florida to Texas.

May 12 2006 | Read Full Review of Brutal Journey: The Epic Stor...

Tucson Citizen

This is part Lewis and Clark, part travel guide and part “Heart of Darkness.” Drawing on firsthand accounts and the most recent findings of archaeologists and academic historians, Schneider has written a narrative that is authentic, crisply written and highly recommended.

Jul 27 2006 | Read Full Review of Brutal Journey: The Epic Stor...

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