Book Review of The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming, Free Essay

Published: 2022-09-26 12:59:19
Book Review of The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming, Free Essay
Type of paper:  Book review
Categories: American history
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 925 words
8 min read

John Hemming was a traveling explorer who in his heyday had the chance to document the historical events when the Spanish invaded the Incas tribe of Peru. The author gives this timeless historical account through the book 'The Conquest of the Incas' in which he captures how the Spanish contingent arrived, prepared, conquered, and vanquished the Incas. Early 15th century witnessed a fleet of fatigued Spanish explorers succeed in cutting through the Panamanian forest where they encountered the vast waters of the Pacific Ocean. They decided to camp at this point from where they plotted exploration schedules as they hoped to exploit the unfamiliar waters with the main objective been an expansion into the new lands. They spent slightly over half a decade in this base scouting for new territories to invade and that marked the beginning of the end of the Incas as a successful Peruvian civilization (Hemming).

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Authoring the highly acclaimed book remains to be the legacy of John Hemming because it accounted for one of the most exciting invasion and subsequent victory recorded in history with no other book coming close to surpassing its authentic contents. Incas was a tribe which had established a culture of civilization with breakthrough technology in building and construction that had made them a successful people in the Americas. A small band of Spanish explorers infiltrated their lands after which more adventurers were welcomed with a view of conquering and toppling the mighty empire that the Incas had established. It took the Spanish four decades to execute the last Inca tribesman after they had strategized and unleashed untold terror on the ruling elite of this once esteemed Peruvian civilization. John Hemming convincingly narrates these historical details with accuracy by capturing the bloodshed, rebellion, and vanquishing that it took the explorers in getting rid of a tribe that historians refer to as the Romans of the Americas.

'The Conquest of the Incas' contains details that focus on the period that followed the Spanish conquest of the Incas. Intricate yet complex details on the politics of the day and the tense relations between the Spanish exploring delegation and the few people of the remaining population who included the surviving members of the then Inca ruling elite (MacQuarrie). Royal family members who survived the wrath of violent Spanish conquerors were trying to wriggle their way out of the jaws of their new masters, a situation that was foreign to them as they were the previous masters of their once vibrant kingdom. The book does not cover much on what actually happened before the Pizarro landed in the Peruvian land of the Incas. This is one of the core criticisms leveled against the author because he should have painted a vivid picture of the preceding events before the first invasion by the Spanish.

Civil wars, violent conflicts, and bloody battles are captured in the book through captivating words that make the reader despair without any hope for humanity. The tortures, treachery, murders, and deception depicted in this historical account come alive in the minds of the reading audience because they applied to the Incas just lie they are evident in contemporary societies. However, unlike in the modern society where these conflicts are fueled by ethnic, racial, religious, or political divisions, the Spanish ere decimating the Incas in their own background purely due to their insatiable greed for minerals like gold and silver besides expanding into new lands. The underlying motives of the Pizarro clan are well articulated in this traveling memoir in which the other tribes that fought with them are exposed together with the reasons that pushed the same clans into fighting against the Pizarro.

The extremely violent civil wars among the Indians are also accounted for in this historical journal together with the constant wrangles among the family members of the Inca royal family for power and succession. Readers try to empathize with the Incas since the Spanish landed on their territory throughout the forty years until the last Inca, a Tupac Amaru, was finally decapitated (MacQuarrie). Of all the characters through which John Hemming gives this historical account, the character of Manco Inca stands out because he took advantage of his Peruvian geographical landscapes to resist the Spanish conquistadores by retreating to the Vilcabamba Mountains, until he was eventually betrayed and slain by the Spanish renegades who had become his friends. The author captures the social and colonial history of the Inca descendants with the book culminating in the discovery of the magnanimous Macchu Picchu historical sites (Hemming and Ranney).

I liked the book very much because it is well written and goes in deep details to explain the subject of the conquered Incas tribe in an interesting manner. Historians, scholars, students, and other readers would find this book an interesting read. It is insightful as it tells the Inca story pre- and post-conquest with an accurate account of the puppet successors installed on the Inca throne by the Spanish. Ardent readers of history, particularly that of the South America, will find this text quite helpful as it helps to fill the knowledge gaps on the Incas, their mighty civilization, its brutal demise, and the takeover by the forty years of Spanish invasion and endless violence that led to the conquest of the Incas.

Works Cited

Hemming, John, and Edward Ranney. Monuments of the Incas. London: Thames & Hudson, 2010. Print.

Hemming, John. The Conquest of the Incas. London: Pan Books, 2004. Print.

MacQuarrie, Kim. The Last Days of the Incas. Simon and Schuster, 2008. Print.

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