Mexican and Latin American Works from Plaza Books

Plaza25

Mexican and Latin American Works from Plaza Books


By Michael Stillman

List 25 has just been issued by Plaza Books of Santa Rosa, California. Plaza specializes in books from south of the border, that is, Mexico and Latin America. Of course, as many of these are quite old, their home state of California was once part of Mexico as well. In other words, some of these books extend into what is today the United States of America. Here are some of the items Plaza has available this time.

Item 15 is a rare look at the Spanish conquest of Mexico from the natives' point of view. Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl was a descendant of the royal family of Tezcoco, allies with the Spanish during their conquest but later disillusioned by their treatment. Ixtlilxochitl was not present at the time of the early 16th century conquest, his writing coming almost a century later in the 1600-1608 period. However, he had access to ancient hieroglyphic writings plus the words of elders who carried on the oral tradition. His account was passed around in manuscript form for two centuries before finally being brought to print. Offered is a second edition from 1838 of his Cruautes Horribles des Conquerants du Mexique (Horrible Cruelties of the Conquerors of Mexico). Priced at $1,200.

Here is another early Mexican history that sat around in manuscript form for a quarter of a millennium before making it to print. Item 30 is Libro Segundo de la Cronica Miscelanea... by Fray Antonio Tello, published in 1891. He wrote his chronicles of what is now northwestern Mexico and the southwestern U.S. around 1650. Tello had access to the conquistadors and friars who explored these not well known regions during this time. Item 30. $1,800.

There are few fields with more enthusiastic collectors than railroading. Item 2 is the History of the Mexican Railway by Gustavo Baz and E.L. Gallo. This is the first English edition, published in Mexico City in 1876 (the first Spanish was completed in 1874). It recounts the building of the railway from Mexico City to the coast at Veracruz, a project completed in 1873. It includes numerous beautiful lithograph plates of the new railroad. $6,500.

Item 18 is an account of some exploring in northern Mexico and Arizona just before the Revolution: New Trails in Mexico. An Account of One Year's Exploration in North-Western Sonora, Mexico, and South-Western Arizona 1909-1910. Carl Lumholtz provides a look at the area, its natural history and native tribes, in the days just before revolution swept through Mexico and Arizona became a state. $400.

Item 33 is an early California rarity: El Apostol Mariano representado en la vida del V.P. Juan Maria Salvatierra, by Miguel Venegas. Father Salvatierra was an Italian by birth who joined the Jesuits and was sent to the Mexican missions. He was assigned to northern Mexico where he became interested in sending missions into California. Venegas chronicles this not particularly successful enterprise during the early years of the 18th century. $10,500.

Plaza Books may be reached at 707-546-3544 or plazabks@sonic.net. Their website is www.plazabooks.com.