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The Story of Spain

Tekijä: Mark R. Williams

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
1336209,227 (3.37)-
The Story of Spain is a very readable, one-volume introduction to this nation's fascinating history & culture, placed within a context of Europe & the Americas. The book is a popular history of Spain from prehistoric times to the present day, as well as the Spanish Empire (1492-1898). It includes description & analysis of political, social, economic & cultural events, which together shaped this distinctive country. The author brings to life all the dominant historical figures, including El Cid, Columbus, King Philip II, Cervantes, St. Theresa, Goya, Franco & Picasso. Chapters are included on ancient Iberia, the Roman era, medieval & Moorish Spain, the Reconquest, Spain's discovery & conquest of the Americas, its Golden Age & decline, the coming of the Bourbons, Napoleonic wars & the modern era leading up to the Spanish Civil War & Franco's dictatorship. After ten years in print, this revised edition features a new chapter covering contemporary Spain & the transition to democracy (1976-2000). For travelers to Spain, historic places to visit are listed, as well as 16 pages of color photos & dozens of other illustrations, a dynastic chart, bibliographic sources & index. Author Mark R. Williams received an M.A. in history from the University of California & lived in Spain for several years, where he worked as a teacher & journalist. Distributed through Golden Era Books, P.O. Box 5603, San Mateo, CA 94402. Website: www.GoldenEraBooks.com.… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
The only positive thing I have to say about this book is that it is accessible to the lay reader, the non-expert, someone who has a burning passion to know more about the basics of Spanish history (but not culture). The author clearly has done his research, and has done a capable job of distilling the major conflicts and trends of Spanish history into an easily digestible product. However, he falls too frequently into an essentialization of Spanish history, saying over and over again that Spain repeats its past mistakes, and that these mistakes simply reincarnate in the form of (yet another) civil war. There is also some lamentable writing that happens in the book, and there is really no attempt to remain objective on the part of the author. The subtitle gives the first clue, about Spain being Europe's "most fascinating country" -- this is just an updated example of the exoticizing of Spain that has been going on since time immemorial.

I am a professor of Spanish Literature, and I would not recommend this book to my students in any way, shape or form. However, I would recommend it to family members who are still trying to figure out why on earth I got a Ph.D. in the humanities. This book, with its "fascinating" portrait of Spain might explain how it is I fell in love with this -- in my opinion -- tortured nation. ( )
  voncookie | Jun 30, 2016 |
The only positive thing I have to say about this book is that it is accessible to the lay reader, the non-expert, someone who has a burning passion to know more about the basics of Spanish history (but not culture). The author clearly has done his research, and has done a capable job of distilling the major conflicts and trends of Spanish history into an easily digestible product. However, he falls too frequently into an essentialization of Spanish history, saying over and over again that Spain repeats its past mistakes, and that these mistakes simply reincarnate in the form of (yet another) civil war. There is also some lamentable writing that happens in the book, and there is really no attempt to remain objective on the part of the author. The subtitle gives the first clue, about Spain being Europe's "most fascinating country" -- this is just an updated example of the exoticizing of Spain that has been going on since time immemorial.

I am a professor of Spanish Literature, and I would not recommend this book to my students in any way, shape or form. However, I would recommend it to family members who are still trying to figure out why on earth I got a Ph.D. in the humanities. This book, with its "fascinating" portrait of Spain might explain how it is I fell in love with this -- in my opinion -- tortured nation. ( )
  anna_hiller | Jun 22, 2016 |
This book is a very satisfying short history of Spain, providing an accessible, concise, and well-written view of the country's past I made my first trip to Spain this fall, and realized that, despite a great deal of reading in British and general European history, I was woefully ignorant of the country I was visiting. This may be due in part to the fact that Spain really is "different", as the author suggests, or it may simply reflect the Whig version of history with which I grew up: what mattered was England, and neighbors who were rude enough to fight with England in recent centuries. In any event, I found this book very illuminating -- it explains many of the ways in which Spain really is different, and helped me better understand some of the art that I saw.
  annbury | Oct 25, 2014 |
Reading this book coincided with me getting two goats. So I named them Isabella and Ferdinand.
  karrinina | Nov 13, 2013 |
"Every country and society is different, but Spain is a bit more different." Julian Pitt-Rivers

A history of Spain, from the pre-historic painters of the Altimira cave-paintings, up to Spain's entry into the EEC (although for most of the historical period there wasn't actually such a country as Spain).

One thing that was extremely interesting, was the incompetence of most of the Spanish kings, who allowed their country to remain backward and practically bankrupt, only propped up by the treasure ships from their American colonies. The nobles despised business and trade, but unlike their counterparts in Britain they even found farming beneath them, and their vast estates (one noblewoman could travel from the East coast to the Portuguese border without leaving her own lands) were left largely untilled.

If you have a look at the family tree of Carlos II, the last Hapsburg king of Spain, you can see that his father and two of his great-grandfathers all married their nieces. There are also three marriages between 1st cousins, one between 2nd cousins and one between two people who are both first and second cousins (being the children of uncle/niece couples).

Madness and health problems ran in the family, so it's not much of a surprise that after so much inbreeding Carlos II was a physical and mental wreck. He didn't learn to speak until he was four or walk until he was eight, and according to the book, his nurse used to hold him up with strings like a marionette. He surprised everyone by living for thirty-nine years.

An interesting book about a European country that really is different from the rest. ( )
  isabelx | Feb 13, 2011 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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The Story of Spain is a very readable, one-volume introduction to this nation's fascinating history & culture, placed within a context of Europe & the Americas. The book is a popular history of Spain from prehistoric times to the present day, as well as the Spanish Empire (1492-1898). It includes description & analysis of political, social, economic & cultural events, which together shaped this distinctive country. The author brings to life all the dominant historical figures, including El Cid, Columbus, King Philip II, Cervantes, St. Theresa, Goya, Franco & Picasso. Chapters are included on ancient Iberia, the Roman era, medieval & Moorish Spain, the Reconquest, Spain's discovery & conquest of the Americas, its Golden Age & decline, the coming of the Bourbons, Napoleonic wars & the modern era leading up to the Spanish Civil War & Franco's dictatorship. After ten years in print, this revised edition features a new chapter covering contemporary Spain & the transition to democracy (1976-2000). For travelers to Spain, historic places to visit are listed, as well as 16 pages of color photos & dozens of other illustrations, a dynastic chart, bibliographic sources & index. Author Mark R. Williams received an M.A. in history from the University of California & lived in Spain for several years, where he worked as a teacher & journalist. Distributed through Golden Era Books, P.O. Box 5603, San Mateo, CA 94402. Website: www.GoldenEraBooks.com.

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