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In 1528, a mission set out from Spain to colonize Florida. But the expedition went horribly wrong: Delayed by a hurricane, knocked off course by a colossal error of navigation, and ultimately doomed by a disastrous decision to separate the men from their ships, the mission quickly became a desperate journey of survival. Of the four hundred men who had embarked on the voyage, only four survived-three Spaniards and an African slave. This tiny band endured a horrific march through Florida, a harrowing raft passage across the Louisiana coast, and years of enslavement in the American Southwest. They journeyed for almost ten years in search of the Pacific Ocean that would guide them home, and they were forever changed by their experience. The men lived with a variety of nomadic Indians and learned several indigenous languages. They saw lands, peoples, plants, and animals that no outsider had ever before seen. In this enthralling tale of four castaways wandering in an unknown land, AndrÃ©Resndez brings to life the vast, dynamic world of North America just a few years before European settlers would transform it forever.
About the Author
Andrés Reséndez is Professor of History at the University of California, Davis. His book The Other Slavery won the Bancroft Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. He lives in Davis, California, with his family.
"Once you start this book, it's nearly impossible to put it down."—Carolyn See, Washington Post Book World
"Reséndez's story is so riveting you'll wonder why so many history books ignore it."—Entertainment Weekly
"The story of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, and of his accidental journey across the American continent, is one of the most remarkable feats of endurance ever recorded.... Reséndez tells this gripping story with zeal....It is impossible not to be swept along by his enthusiasm."—Financial Times
"[Reséndez's] indefatigable scholarship, knowledge of the context, and craftsmanlike storytelling provide a model account: concise, solid, moving."—Times Literary Supplement