The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami

The Moor's AccountReview by Lois Plale

This is a fictional account of the conquistador Panfilo de Narvaez expedition to claim what is now the Gulf Coast for the Spanish crown.  In the actual expedition, there were only four survivors and this story is told from the viewpoint of one them – a Moor slave from Morocco.  Although nothing is really known about this slave, the author has written this as if it were his memoirs detailing how he became a slave in the first place on through the end of their failed expedition.  It shows their encounters with the Native Americans as well as the attempts of the Spanish to conquer them.

This is a well-researched book, partly based on an account of one of the survivors, and anyone interested in this time period would enjoy it.  It also shows that, contrary to what we are taught, Africans also played a part in the exploration of the New World and that the Native Americans were not just silent witnesses to it.  The author is originally from Morocco but now lives in the United States and this is her third book. 

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About the reviewer:  Although new to Tredyffrin Public Library, Lois was previously with the Dauphin County Library System in the Harrisburg area for 15 years.  She is a history buff and has her Bachelor’s Degree in History.