The Basque History of the World
The Basque History of the World is the illuminating story of an ancient and enigmatic people. Signs of their civilization existed well before the arrival of the Romans in 218 B.C., and though theories abound, no one has ever been able to determine their origins. Their ancient tongue, Euskera, is equally mysterious: It is the oldest living European language, and is related...more
"The Basques share with the Celts the privilege of indu ...more
I know nothing about Basque history and I thought that this would be a good introduction. Instead, I found it very disjointed and schizophrenic. I've heard good things about Kurlansky, so this book was an even bigger disappointment. I read 100 pages and remember almost nothing, which is very out of the ordinary for me and I'm going to go ahead and blame it on the format and writin ...more
History is the beautiful, brightly lit foam on top of the annihilating tsunami of the unrecorded past. History books are the spectrographic analysis of the light glinting off that foam. Any attempt at making a book more than that is doomed to failure and tedium.
This is not a tedious or failed book. It's just...well...curiously insubstantial. I don't like the focus on the Great and the Good in place of the gestalt of the actions of the Basques. I know, I know, most people can' ...more
My first issue is t ...more
While the Basque are officially considered citizens of Spain, they consider themselves a separate group entirely. They are a mysterious group because anthropologists can't say exactly where they, or their native language, came from, only that both their physical traits and language have little in common with either the Fr ...more
The book discusses Basque language, cooking (including some recipes), culture, historically significant people, graffiti (3+4=1), sports (pelota), internal conflicts among the Basques themselves, the Spanish Civil War (the German bombing of Guernica), art, WWII, religion (Catholic versus secularism) and current issues. I didn't realize the Spanish government was so dictorial towards this culture.
The author is supp ...more
My interest in linguistics also predisposed me to totally eating up the sections about the Basque language, Eusker ...more
1) Because they were relatively geographically isolated i ...more
A comprehensive view of all things Basque, from the author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World (1997). The Basque History of the World is an honorable title, alerting readers to its singularly Basque-centric mix of cultural studies, history, and politics. The writing is direct and accessible, although limited by the occasional descriptive clichÇ (—jagged mountains” and “crisp fall days—). It’s most interesting w ...more
As a Basque myself, I see two aspects of this book that make it special:
First and foremost, the fact that is written by an outsider, with no conection with our people or ways whatsoever. It's simply beautiful to see that some foreigner can overcome the Media, the prejudices and the public image that is projected of our people and see things for what they are. This makes some p ...more
I was very interested in the Basque country after I learned that my family (ARMIJO) can be traced as early as the 13th Century to Laredo, Spain, a small resort beach town in the heart of Basque land. I learned a lot & reflected on a few customs that have been carried over in my family...for example, love of sardines & pride in my Spanish heritage. This was quite interesting to learn about the long history of the Basque people. It's amaz ...more
Regardless, I feel that my issues with the book were my own issues, and not the fault o ...more
I hope that one day I can take a train from Paris to Bilbao and get a passport stamp, in Euskera, by a man wearing a beret. 4+3=1
Also, watch this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzutvz...
The Basque History of the World (Mark Kurlansky)
- Highlight Loc. 63-64 | Added on Saturday, ...more
Since my interest in the Basque people stems from their language, I'll end this mini-review with some apothegmatic words from Sabino Arana: If you do not teach your children the language of your parents, they will teach you.
Kurlansky attended Butler University, where he harbored an early interest in theatre and earned a BA in 1970. However, his interest faded and he began to work as a journalist in ...more