The subject of this book is the life of the Mexicans—the Mexica, as they said themselves—at the beginning of the sixteenth century. At that time, in the early 1500s, nobody, from the arid steppes of the north to the burning jungles of the isthmus, from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico to the shore of the Pacific, could have believed that this enormous empire, its culture, its art, its gods, were to go down a few years later in a historic cataclysm.
The period with which this book is concerned is distinguished from all others by the wealth of its written documentation. The Mexicans were interested in themselves and in their history; they were tireless speech-makers and great loves of verse, thus an immense quantity of books and legal documents came into being. Drawing on this rich recorded history, Soustelle creates a memorable portrait of Aztec society.
"The author of a new book on the life of a dead civilization brings unique qualifications to his book. In , Jacques Soustelle views a stormy past with the eyes of an ethnologist who has been deeply involved with the strife of the present."
"For the student who wants an informed and knowledgeable book about the Aztecs, this is highly recommended. . . . This excellent translation brings to life the Aztec people of the first part of the sixteenth century."
"In Daily Life of the Aztecs Soustelle has presented a precise and lively picture of Aztec life on the eve of the Spanish conquest. . . . A most exciting book on the exciting life of the Mexicans at the beginning of the 16th century."
Mexico City News
"Soustelle's great book about the Aztecs . . . takes us deep into the life of this great society. . . . Soustelle has the rare quality of entering into the minds of those he is studying and seeing things from their point of view. . . . [His] book is one of the best ever written about the Aztecs, his portrait of their society is a triumph of scholarship, understanding, and literary skill."
The Times Literary Supplement
"An able condensation of the enormous mass of material on Aztec life, comparable to the non-historical parts of Vaillant's Aztecs of Mexico or that fine classic, Joyce's Mexican Archaelogy. Soustelle embellishes his faithful picture of Mexican life with many acute, well-turned observations."
"A precise and lively picture of Aztec life. . . . The sources on which Soustelle has based this analysis of Mexican life are very complete. . . . A most exciting book."
Mexico City News
"Probably the best general summary available of Aztec culture, both for the general reader and for the student."
Hipanic American Historical Review