Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517-1570

Inga Clendinnen (Author)


In what is both a specific study of conversion in a corner of the Spanish Empire and a work with implications for the understanding of European domination and native resistance throughout the colonial world, Inga Clendinnen explores the intensifying conflict between competing and increasingly divergent Spanish visions of Yucatan and its destructive outcomes. In Ambivalent Conquests Clendinnen penetrates the thinking and feeling of the Mayan Indians in a detailed reconstruction of their assessment of the intruders. This new edition contains a preface by the author where she reflects upon the book's contribution in the past fifteen years. Inga Clendinnen is Emeritus scholar, LaTrobe University, Australia. Her books include the acclaimed Reading the Holocaust (Cambridge, 1999), named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, and Aztec: An Interpretation (Cambridge, 1995), and Tiger's Eye: A Memoir (Scribner, 2001).

Product Details

$27.99  $25.75
Cambridge University Press
Publish Date
February 10, 2003
5.4 X 0.7 X 8.4 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Inga Clendinnen is Emeritus Scholar in History at La Trobe University, Melbourne. Her publications include Aztecs (Cambridge, 1991), Reading the Holocaust (Cambridge, 1999), and Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517-1579 (second edition, Cambridge, 2003). Her memoir, Tiger's Eye, was published in 2001; her Boyer Lectures, True Stories, in 1999; and a collection of her literary essays, Agamemnon's Kiss, in 2006. Her book on the meeting between the First Fleet and Aboriginal Australians, Dancing with Strangers (Cambridge, 2003), won several awards, including the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize.


"This is a splendid book by a gifted historian. With great subtlety and imagination, Inga Clendinnen draws us into the swirls of missteps, ambitions, deceptions, and fantasies that constituted the conquest drama in Yucatan....Clendinnen has written a remarkably powerful and compelling book....This study ranks among the very best scholarship on the region and will dazzle any serious student of native American peoples, Christian missionaries, and colonial situations." American Historical Review
'This is a splendid book by a gifted historian.' Steve J. Stern, American Historical Review
'Ambivalent Conquests sets a high standard of elegance in style and argument.' Nancy Farriss, Hispanic American Historical Review
'This is an intricate story, by turns exhilarating and depressing, of cultural interaction among parties whose motives were consciously and unconsciously at variance. . . . Clendinnen's reconstruction is a model of historical intelligence and anthropological empathy couched in superbly crafted prose.' Frederick P. Bowser, Latin American Research Review
"Clendinnen's elegantly written work describes the devastating effects of Spanish conquest and settlement on the politically fragmented Maya of the Yucatan until 1570.... Her account of the 1562 investigation into Maya religious practices and the political conflicts that accompanied it makes fascinating reading." Choice