HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Aztec: Indians of Mexico
Author: Sonia Bleeker
Illustrator: Kisa Sasaki
Publisher: Morrow, republished in 1967
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 12-16
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Bleeker, Sonia. The Aztec: Indians of Mexico (published in 1963 by William Morrow and Company Inc., 425 Park Ave. S., New York City, NY 10016). As history is often presented today, the native peoples of the New World lived an idyllic existence of perfect peace and harmony in a Utopian paradise, at least, that is, until those mean, old European conquerors came to rape, pillage, and plunder them. Uh, nothing could be further from the truth. The Aztec: Indians of Mexico is the kind of book formerly used in public schools, before the progressives hijacked history for their own purposes, which simply tells the truth rather than promoting the leftist agenda. The opening chapter outlines in general terms the Aztec Empire of Mexico, one of the three great pre-European empires of the Americas along with the Maya of Central America and the Inca of South America. It began in 1168 and ended in 1520. The Aztecs were originally a poor tribe known as Tenochca who wandered in from the Northwest to the valley of Mexico and then conquered or absorbed the already existing tribes, extending their reach east and west through central Mexico and south to Guatemala. Succeeding chapters discuss the village life, city life, religious practices, military success, and eventual conquest of the Aztecs, with a final chapter on “The Aztec Today.”
Author Sonia Bleeker, an anthropologist, does not shy away from pointing out that the Aztecs practiced human sacrifice, including that of children, with a couple of frank and somewhat graphic, yet not gratuitously gruesome, descriptions of how they went about doing it, as well as exposing their practices of slavery, polygamy with its subjugation of women, and genocide in warfare. The same modern multiculturalism which apparently has no qualms about soundly condemning the Spaniards for the evils which they perpetrated on the Native Americans is always so strangely silent when it comes to the evils which the Native Americans perpetrated on each other. To be fair, Bleeker is quite even-handed, also mentioning the looting and mass killing done by the Spaniards. One reviewer said that the book is “refreshingly informative, and appropriate for young readers (upper elementary reading level).” It is one of some sixteen other books by the same author about various Native American peoples, such as the Maya, Inca, Eskimo, and different North American Indian tribes. Though it is out of print, any homeschool study of this period would greatly benefit from this sort of information.