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Open Access The politics of publication: Bartolomé de las Casas's 'the devastation of the Indies'

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The politics of publication: Bartolomé de las Casas's 'the devastation of the Indies'

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[First paragraph]The Devastation of the Indies: A Brief Account. BARTOLOMÉ DE LAS CASAS. Translated by Herma Briffault. Introduction by Bill M. Donovan. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992. 138 pp. (Paper US$ 11.95)The 1992 Johns Hopkins University Press publication of Bartolom� de las Casas's The Devastation of the Indies: A Brief Account has been, I am told, a commercial success. Regrettably, it is a scholarly failure. The translation - a reprint of a 1974 version - is so inaccurate that it barely deserves to go by the name, and the introductory essay that accompanies it repeats the old clich�s and familiar misunderstandings that one commonly reads about Las Casas's life and work. The shortcomings of both the translation and the introduction could have been overcome by a deeper engagement with Las Casas's works and greater attention to basic information about sixteenth-century Spanish history.

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