Cabeza de Vaca’s Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America describes the adventures of Cabeza de Vaca, a Spanish soldier who was shipwrecked in the state of Florida in the year 1528. The man traveled with a handful of his companions across the states of Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, in addition to the north of Mexico for many years following the shipwreck. He was sometimes looked upon as a slave, at other times he became a medicine man for the Native Americans encountered along the way.
The book describes Native Americans of the time in great depth. Even the flora and fauna of the time – much of which was unique to Cabeza de Vaca – may be seen through the eyes of the Spanish traveler (Covey, 1983). Indeed, this book is one of its kind not only for those that wish to discover more about the history of America but also ardent readers of accounts of adventures. Cabeza de Vaca’s experiences open up the mind.
After all, with all our modern conveniences, including excellent means of transport, the people of our time are not expected to become lost and develop enough courage to find their way out of misadventures as did Cabeza de Vaca. Moreover, entirely unique adventures such as those experienced by the Spanish traveler are not easy to experience nowadays with all sorts of information available to us in books and on the Internet. Perhaps this is the reason why the reader expects more from Cabeza de Vaca’s Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America.
There are no maps in this book, and the modern-day reader expects illustrations to boot. What is more, Covey’s translated and edited version of Cabeza de Vaca’s adventures is not quite easy to read. As an example, between sentences Covey has added material which may confuse the reader. The book was first published in 1961. Then again, Cabeza de Vaca’s adventures are thrilling enough for the reader to simply ignore the imperfections of this account.