Cabeza de Vaca and the Epic First Crossing of North America
"Schneider's thorough research and vivid writing create a fast-paced, moving story, one that is difficult to believe and impossible to forget."
—The New York Times Book Review
A gripping survival epic, Brutal Journey tells the story of an army of would-be conquerors, bound for glory, who landed in Florida in 1528. But only four of the 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's gold-drenched Mexico. The survivors of the Narváez expedition brought nothing back 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. They became, in other words, whatever it took to stay alive.
On Good Friday of 1528 an army of four hundred Spaniards, Africans, and Caribbean natives landed in the vicinity of Tampa Bay, Florida, under the command of a middle-aged conquistador with a last-chance license to conquer...