Books: Old New World

THE BERNAL DÍAZ CHRONICLES (414 pp.)—Translated by Albert Idell—Doubleday ($5).

THE CONQUISTADORS (404 pp.)—Jean Descola—Viking ($5).

The myth of New England is profoundly different from the myth of New Spain, and so are the realities. Both parts of the New World may now be good neighbors, but the heirs of the Pilgrims have a hostile notion of all that the Spanish fathered in Latin America. The austere image of the Puritans of 1620 kneeling on the bare beach at Plymouth has obscured in the U.S. mind the more complicated grandeur of the equally devout men...

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