Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Story of Spain” as Want to Read:
The Story of Spain
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Story of Spain

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  234 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Ships from Spain. Please allow 10-18 business days to arrive at UK address (10-21 worldwide) due to postal service checks and customs. A story of kings and poets, saints and conquistadors, emperors and revolutionaries. A story of Torquemada, Cervantes, Picasso, Franco, Saint Theresa; of the Alhambra and the Escorial. This is the story of Spain.
Hardcover, 287 pages
Published November 30th 2000 by Ingram (first published July 1st 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Story of Spain, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Story of Spain

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  234 ratings  ·  31 reviews

Sort order
Anna Hiller
May 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People with a passing interest in Spanish history
Recommended to Anna by: Amazon
Shelves: spain, history
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 ...more
Zach Adams
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I give this 5 stars in terms of fulfilling its overall purpose. I give it 2 stars in terms of enjoyment.
Apr 22, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this in preparation for a trip to Spain (actually I only made it about 2/3 of the way through before I got to Spain, but anyway...), and it was ideal for that purpose. It is a comprehensive overview, which is a lot to ask of 350 pages, so parts of it feel rushed and with the constant turnover of the various incestuous royal dynasties there is considerable name dropping that probably won't stick unless you really, really are determined to remember. That said, I felt like it covered most of ...more
Gabriel Miller
Overall, this book was an good book on the history of Spain. It did a fairly decent job at giving a good overview of the country. But I have two problems with the book. The first is how confusing everything got by the Middle Ages with all the different kings, queens and other historical figures. This continues until the end of the book. But that is a minor nitpick. I'm not very familiar with Spanish history, so it is quite forgivable. Still, I think the author could have made it easier to unders ...more
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Since I bought this book for 1 euro in a second-hand shop, I can't really complain. It is a good & easy read. With 287 pages not a very detailed, but once in a while some nice details are included to make the book enjoyable.
Some simplifications are made, that aren't really wrong, but not entirely correct either - in my opinion. Overall, not a bad book at all.
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Interesting broad overview of the complex history of Spain from prehistoric times up till the early 2000s. Good background to now get corrected by more nuanced historians.
Sep 09, 2014 added it
A short but delightful treatment of Spanish history for tourists. At the end of each chapter is a brief listing of famous sites illustrating the period covered in different cities.
The author gives a great deal of space to etymology (names of places, buildings, rulers' nicknames, even the use of español for the language of Castille. Interesting to me were latin origins of place names: pompaeio -> Pamplona, Caesaraugusta -> Zaragoza, Cartago Nova -> Cartagena, and Barca (Hannibal's fam
May 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book covers an enormous amount of time; literally from the famed pre-historic caves of Altamira to the death of Franco in 1975. In general, history is way too complicated to be summarized in this fashion; many of the historical figures we are introduced to are summed up neatly for us when in reality they were involved in much more messy, intricate historical timelines. Yet this is precisely why this book deserves praise. Williams manages to take the most important people and events in Spani ...more
Jim Rimmer
This is about as fast and loose as popular history comes. I had been quite staggered by the difficulty is sourcing an English language general history of Spain, so ended up with Williams' volume.

A number of glaring typos (barely excusable) and historical errors (not least being the confusion regarding Saint James - totally inexcusable). Not a reference anywhere to be found despite some quite staggering assertions.

Easily and quickly digested but unfortunately a little too close to the historical
Wesley  Gerrard
This is a full history of Spain. It gives a good, full overview of the Spaniards, from prehistory through to the present day. The chapters are neat and easily digestable and each conclude with nice references to museums and locations of interest throughout Spain. I felt the book came into its own when discussing the height of Spanish Royalty. I have read more detailed histories of the Moorish period and also of the Spanish Civil War although the chapters in this book were good summaries of these ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Starting well. I like that the author presents a view of pre-Classical culture.

A decent overview. The author hides his biases mostly until his coverage of the 20th Century, with the minor exception of declaring Spain, "the greatest empire in history". Really? Heard of Rome?

A decent entry into a broad swath of Spanish history.

Spolier Alert:

The summary essentially becomes that Spain is simply another country that becomes cursed by its overwhelming wealth. This seems to have destroyed any initi
David Melvin
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read only parts of this book, but from the parts that I read I thought the book was very good. It describes the history of a country that has had a lot of influence in the history of the world. The Spanish language and culture is responsible for the first novel ever written in recorded history, as far as we know. The author Miguel de Cervantes wrote Don Quixote. I never read it but it might be a hard and difficult read even in English translation. Here is a link about the author @ http://www.b ...more
May 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
If you want a brief run down of the entire history of Spain this is the book for you. I liked how the book went through so much history. At the same time I feel like certain parts of the book, like the monarchs and the Spanish Civil War were rushed through. I think this is a good book to start to learn about Spanish history. It gives you enough information to decide which aspects you want to learn about. This book is like the Spark Notes version of the history of Spain.
Susana Sassi
Dec 24, 2013 rated it liked it
I have dipped into this book many times over the years. It is am easy read in many ways being very anecdotal and light. However, it has been rerelease and the later editions see to be almost badly copy and pasted. Very disjointed and uneasy to follow if you haven't got a clear understanding of Spain's timeline
Feb 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
I was looking for a good short history of Spain to provide context for walking the camino to Santiago de Compostela. This was perfect. Not too long, just enough detail--a good quick overview of Spanish history for background.
Mar 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
My favorite history of Spain. It actually talks about places you can still see today and puts things into great perspective.
Feb 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Educational, but very dry. I was hoping for something more enjoyable, something that made me want to keep reading it. With this book, I had to force myself to finish it.
Haakon Nilsen
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Covers a lot of ground and is engagingly written. The contemporary updates in the latest edition seemed hastily added.
Lauren Albert
Mar 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history-european
A decent basic popular history. It got mostly very good reviews but it didn't make an impression on me.
Emily Marcum
Jul 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Very detailed, but comprehensive.
Dec 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Everything you'd ever want (or not) to know about Spain's history.
Linda Collard
Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good read if visiting Spain and want to find out more about the complex history and culture of the country.
Mar 23, 2010 rated it liked it
I bought this book in Spain six years ago and have finally read it. While very informative, it's not particularly well-written, which was pretty disappointing.
very basic history, but probably the easiest book to read to get a general idea of spain's history, just don't expect anything off the status quo.
Aug 06, 2008 rated it liked it
This is a very comprehensive book, but can be dry and too detailed at times.
Aug 04, 2013 added it
Reading this book coincided with me getting two goats. So I named them Isabella and Ferdinand.
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book. Too bad more history books are't as clear and easy to follow as this one.
Oct 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for an all-encompassing review of Spanish history. This is the book. The subject wasn't really to my liking so that's why it only got 3 stars
Mar 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Spain is mostly spanish
Francisco De Aldana
rated it really liked it
Mar 01, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Ancient Worlds: The Search for the Origins of Western Civilization
  • China: Its History and Culture
  • The New Spaniards
  • Hidden Dangers: Mexico on the Brink of Disaster
  • Democracy: A Very Short Introduction
  • The Oxford History of Britain
  • The Woman Reader
  • General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales
  • In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis
  • Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince
  • The Gospel According to Tolkien: Visions of the Kingdom in Middle-Earth
  • The Bridge in the Clouds
  • Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerrillas
  • The Ridge (Amanzimtoti, #1)
  • Russia: The Once and Future Empire From Pre-History to Putin
  • Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys Into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East
  • Aliénor d'Aquitaine
  • The Great Betrayal: The Memoirs of Africa's Most Controversial Leader
Mark R. Williams is a freelance writer living near San Francisco. He has also worked as a contributing writer for the International Herald Tribune (Paris) and senior staff writer for Lookout Magazine (Spain). Williams has a Masters degree in History from the University of California, Santa Barbara.