Andres Resendez – A Land So Strange

In 1528, a mission set out from Spain to colonize Florida. But the expedition went horribly wrong: Delayed by a hurricane, knocked off course by a colossal error of navigation, and ultimately doomed by a disastrous decision to separate the men from their ships, the mission quickly became a desperate journey of survival.

Of the 300 men who had embarked on the journey, only four survived – three Spaniards and an African slave. This tiny band endured a horrific march through Florida, a harrowing raft passage across the Louisiana coast, and years of enslavement in the American Southwest. They journeyed for almost 10 years in search of the Pacific Ocean that would guide them home, and they were forever changed by their experience. The men lived with a variety of nomadic Indians and learned several indigenous languages. They saw lands, peoples, plants, and animals that no outsider had ever seen before.

In this enthralling tale of four castaways wandering in an unknown land, Andres Resndez brings to life the vast, dynamic world of North America just a few years before European settlers would transform it forever.

Author: Andres Resendez
Narrator: Jonathan Davis
Duration: 7 hours 13 minutes
Released: 11 Jul 2010
Publisher: Audible Studios
Language: English

User Review:

bassist noticeable

Why can not history be taught like this? Through the means of an amazing tale we learn about Spanish colonization, navigation, clashes of empires and how our beliefs (religious or otherwise) affect the way we view and interact with different cultures.

As other reviewers note, Resendez is working with very little documentation and a lot of hearsay and supposition. Only rarely does he push my buttons and jump to unwarranted conclusions: does he really think it is just a likely that these men performed miracles as that the placebo effect or regression to the mean explains the “healings”? The story is rather thin and even a short book like this one is padded in spots with unnecessary background information, but it is worth it to hear this little-known story.

I believe this is my first listen to Jonathan Davis and I was very pleased with his pronunciation of Spanish names and places. Too often it seems narrators do not take the trouble to learn the appropriate pronunciation.

Nothing to do with the recording, but I wonder why the cover of the book says “An extraordinary tale of a shipwrecked Spaniard who walked across America” although the book tells the tale of four men – three Spaniards and a black slave and it was not really a shipwreck as we think of one.