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The Quest for El Cid
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The Quest for El Cid

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  111 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Rodrigo Diaz, the legendary warrior-knight of eleventh-century Castile known as El Cid, is remembered today as the Christian hero of the Spanish crusade who waged wars of re-conquest for the triumph of the Cross over the Crescent. He is still honored in Spain as a national hero for liberating the fatherland from the occupying Moors. Yet, as Richard Fletcher shows in this a ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 240 pages
Published June 20th 1991 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published September 30th 1989)
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(showing 1-30 of 297)
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Jim Coughenour
I read Fletcher's book along with The Poem of the Cid, which increased both my appreciation for the poem and deepened my knowledge of medieval Spain. Fletcher is an excellent writer – what might have been heavy going flashed by, illuminated by his dry sense of humor. Also – plenty of maps, because who can keep all those kingdoms straight?

I've had Fletcher's controversial history of The Barbarian Conversion on my shelf for years. After his Cid, I'm looking forward to reading it, one of these deca
Mar 30, 2012 Jeremy rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
My favorite kind of nonfiction book - written by an acknowledged expert in an easy to read style. I originally read this while in college for fun (when else will I have access to a library like that?), and found it again wandering around a used bookstore.

My first (and only other) experience with El Cid was in the computer game Age of Empires II. You play several missions that replay various parts of El Cid's life, so I sort of knew what had happened to El Cid before reading the book.

The book is
Oct 27, 2015 Willis rated it it was ok
Written more for the historian than for a general audience. The author recognizes the limitations in trying to write about someone from the 11th century given the paucity of original sources about the Cid. He tries to separate the man from the myth and seems to do a good job of that. He does take the whole first half of the book to talk about his contemporaries and set the stage before he even begins to talk about Rodrigo Diaz (The Cid) so it took a while to get to the main subject and even then ...more
Paul Cornelius
Mar 19, 2013 Paul Cornelius rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-medieval
First, this is a good book. Informative, trenchant, and convincing, despite the author's occasional awkward syntax or frustrated word choices. It reminds me of an era of historical study not so long ago that avoided sentimental assurances meant to assuage contemporary feelings or, alternatively, settle for psychologically driven needs to reinforce disintegrating national mythoses.

Instead, the Spain that Fletcher describes emerges from the Visigothic remnants of the sixth century to the disintegr
Jun 20, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The is another case of Charleton Heston leading me to seek out a real historical figure, based on his portrayal of Diaz in the movie. I read the epic poem, I loved the movie when it was released in 1961, the year I turned 10. Here Fletcher has taken as much of the historical record, gathered from across the western Mediterranean, as it has been possible to track down, compared and contrasted, evaluated the nearness to the events, and has compiled what is, pending new discoveries of documents, cu ...more
Mar 03, 2014 John rated it really liked it
Even drier than "The Medieval Spains," up until the end. I'll leave it there.

"Spains" covers the life of Medieval Spaniards from the close of the Roman Era to the cusp of Modern Spain just before the discovery of the New World. "Quest" however follows the historical journey of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar and compares it to the poetic journey that the Cid took after his death in 1099.

If you like history, and enjoy the Heston classic, check this book out.
Faisal Shamas
Dec 14, 2015 Faisal Shamas rated it it was amazing
The most secular man in 11th Century Spain, loved by all, a true legend
Cliff Davis
Aug 16, 2012 Cliff Davis rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-ages
Richard Fletcher gives us a Cid stripped of mythical accretion, a real man, neither a flawless superhero nor the callous rogue that later critics made of him in reaction to the historic panegyrics. If he was no jewel, he was at least a bit of solid stone around which Spain could create a pearl, as it developed from feudal city states into a nation.

Every reader with an interest in Spain should read this book, to understand whence came this nation, what forces shaped her culture and what she look
May 08, 2008 Mike rated it really liked it
I don't call my fantasy baseball team The Cids for nothing. This is the real story about the guy who was quite advanced for his times, and could be a good role model, too. He was a mercenary, and not exactly what Charleton Heston was paid to portray in the movie, but still quite a character, and this book keeps the eye moving.

I like this one, and might have kept it in a box somewhere. Who knows?
Jan 26, 2012 Eva rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fic
Learned something about El Cid, although a good portion didn't deal with the Cid directly, it was still an interesting read. Fletcher does a good job of giving a large comprehensive look at Spain during the Cid's time. Most interesting this book is for the person that wants to separate the person Rodrigo Diaz from the myth of El Cid.
Nov 07, 2013 Badger rated it really liked it
Shelves: europe-history
What I most liked about this book and what was a revelation to me was in the Forward or Introduction where the author talks about researching that time and place and the particular problems with Spanish historical documents as compared to those of other places in Europe. Fascinating.
- History nerd.
Mar 03, 2014 Autumn rated it really liked it
Fletcher is the expert on all things Cid and 11th century Spain. Well-researched, Quest offers an overview of the rich social and economic developments of the iberian peninsula and Cid's European contemporaries.

Fletcher's prose is cliched at times, but I enjoyed reading it.
RK Byers
Nov 28, 2010 RK Byers rated it really liked it
i had no other information to compare it to so it's not like i'm disappointed to find out that El Cid wasn't some kind of Great Holy Man. or was he?
Well written, well researched, lots of context and very even handed judgement of El Cid and his contemporaries.
Steven Muhlberger
Jan 17, 2015 Steven Muhlberger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clear, meant for those of scholarly tastes.
Apr 06, 2011 Matthew rated it liked it
Not as interesting as one might hope.
Oct 13, 2008 Carmen rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. It reads like fiction.
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May 04, 2011 Man Solo marked it as to-read
I'm looking forward to reading this....
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Richard A. Fletcher was a historian who specialized in the medieval period. He was Professor of History at the University of York and one of the outstanding talents in English and Spanish medieval scholarship.

Obituary @ the Times Online
More about Richard Fletcher...

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