William Hickling Prescott (1796-1859) was one of those rare historians who effectively melded history and literature in an elegant, compelling writing style that appealed to the casual reader, while still meeting the strict criteria of the scholar. Prescott was the first American historian to achieve international recognition with his critically acclaimed History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. Plagued by poor vision and chronic health issues, he was determined to make his mark as a historian. His follow-up work, The History of the Conquest of Mexico, is considered his masterpiece. Prescott went on to write A History of the Conquest of Peru, History of the Reign of Philip II and a 200-page addendum to William Robertson's History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V. Drawing on correspondence and journal entries, this book traces the life of one of America's most celebrated historians.
After a long career in the banking industry, Peter O. Koch now runs a small online business. The author of several books, his research interests include American Indian cultures and the New World expeditions of the Spaniards. He lives in Bradenton, Florida, USA.