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Andalus: Unlocking The Secrets Of Moorish Spain

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  234 ratings  ·  19 reviews
As Islam and the West prepare to clash once again, Jason Webster embarks on a quest to discover Spain's hidden Moorish legacy and lift the lid on a country once forged by both Muslims and Christians. He meets Zine, a young illegal immigrant from Morocco, a twenty-first century Moor, lured over with the promise of a job but exploited as a slave labourer on a fruit farm. Jas ...more
Published January 3rd 2005 by Black Swan (first published April 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  234 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was OK. The author's premise is that Spanish culture is imbued with Moorish influences from its long occupation by Arabs, but that this is denied or concealed today. So he sets off on a road trip to discover the "hidden treasures". I had a couple of problems with this. Just how "hidden" is a Moorish influence that has produced the Alhambra, Seville's Alcazar, Cordoba's Great Mosque, and many other major monuments? He also spends a lot of time pointing out the numerous words in Spanish ...more
Feb 12, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
9th book for 2016.

I have the suspicion that after the success of his first novel on flamenco, the author was put under pressure to come up with an idea of a second, and having a knowledge of Arabic and having lived in Egypt it probably seemed like a no-brainer to write a book exploring the continuing (and hidden) influence of the Moorish occupation on temporary Spanish society.

The problem is that there is nothing hidden about the influences that Webster explores. He talks about the Arabic orig
Elen Ghulam
Jul 22, 2015 rated it liked it
As an Arab who had traveled to Spain many times, I couldn't help but notice the Arabic influence in Spanish culture. I was hoping this book would provide more depth, but sadly I was disappointed on that front. Outside of mere observations of buildings, food, words that anybody familiar with Arabic culture would make while travelling through Spain there isn't much more to this book. However despite my disappointment, I still enjoyed reading the book. I felt like I was travelling through somebody ...more
Aug 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-2008
jason Webster, who speaks Arabic and Spanish and has a Spanish wife, starts off on his journey around Spain with the idea that 800 years of Moorish identity must have left many traces in Spain beyond the obvious ones of architecture and language. For many years this was suppressed; the Moors had always been the enemy, the other. After the Reconquest in 1492, they were first forced to convert and then expelled from Spain.
Patricia Eichenlaub
Jun 16, 2015 rated it liked it
There are some gems in this book about the moorish influence in Spain. But for the most part it is tedious.
May 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Interesting but very unevenly written
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional writing in respect of the Moorish influences on Spain and with a contemprary twist in the friendship with Zine (the illegal migrant from Morocco).. some very bad things going on in the south spain in terms of the exploitation of foreign workers ! I did worry that zine was a bit exaggerated but good story no matter if that is the case as he used it to shine a light on modern contradictions ! He revealed the extent of denial of moorish influence although i did find the linkages to be a ...more
Ilona Acs
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: al-andalus, spanje
Met veel plezier gelezen. Ondanks zijn achtergrond als Arabist kan ik uit het verhaal niet herleiden of de feiten die hij aanhaalt voor de Moorse invloed op Spanje op echte wetenschap gebaseerd zijn. Neemt niet weg dat als dat niet zo is, ik zijn beschreven reis interessant en leuk vond, om eens meer na te denken over de identiteit en gevoeligheden van Spanje maar ook het Westen vs het Oosten.
Easy read

It was an easy read with some interesting notions. Personally didn't feel like much of the associations of language etc were explored in depth and I'm left feeling like I've skirted a topic rather than explored it.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading about the history of Andalusia, Spanish customs and etymology of Spanish words. Zine, for me, was a distraction and an annoying one, too. He was so unsympathetic, using women and behaving violently towards Jason, I couldn't stand him. ...more
John cluett
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Al-Andalus, described with passion and affection by Jason Webster.

Jason Webster explains the historic important of the debt to the Islamic world in the text of this book as Europe was lifted out of the Dark Ages by Muslims, Christians and Jews integrating in Spain, creating an important fusion of ancient literatures, philosophy, mathematics, science, and medicine that have had a significant impact on Western cultural and intellectual pursuits over the years.

The wonderful story of Zine, the Moo
Apr 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished, andalusia, 2011
This is a travelogue mostly suitable for those who are fascinated with the Andalucian history. It all started with La Llegenda del Moro Musa (The Legend of Musa the Moor) who was the richest, strongest and most powerful caliph who ever ruled in ancient Spain. He lived on top of a mountain in a luxurious palace with golden domed roofs and minarets that touched the sky. Seeing one day that Christian armies were advancing to conquer his lands, he decided to flee, but felt reluctant to leave his bea ...more
Sandra Danby
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spanish-culture
The ending to this book is so poignant, not what I was expecting, but is so fitting for the end of this unusual book. I struggle to define it. It’s part-memoir, part-travel book, part-Arabic history, part-language, and ALL Spain. As usual with Jason Webster, Spain comes alive off every page.
Here he travels around Spain looking for the Moorish heritage just beneath the skin of this modern country. And he finds it in abundance, in places he did not expect, and sometimes in uncomfortable circumstan
Outro livro que comprei para pesquisa. Foi minha introdução à herança árabe da Península Ibérica. Como eu tinha só 15 anos na época, não entendi muito bem tudo que me foi passado, mas gostei. Acho que merece uma re-leitura.
Aug 21, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: spain, travel-books, 2006
This was a great book to read while spending time in southern Spain. Webster explores the remnants of the ancient Moorish culture on the Iberian peninsula, and takes as his companion a young illegal Moroccan immigrant.
Becky Mears
May 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
An excellent book to read whilst visiting Andalucia. Really made you appreciate Spain's moorish history ...more
Gary Griffiths
Mar 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Absolutely fascinating, uncovering aspects of modern Spain and its' relationship to its' past that are not immediately apparent. ...more
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it

Ca va, sans plus...
Anneke de Bundel
May 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reisliteratuur
Starts out very good and promising but then it is unsure what the author wants to tell. Interesting if you want to know something about Arab influence on Spanish language.
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Jan 09, 2014
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Derek Mullin
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May 11, 2014
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Aug 06, 2019
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Jason Webster is a highly acclaimed Anglo-American author and authority on Spain whose work ranges from biography to travel, crime fiction and history. His books have sold in over a dozen countries, including the US, the UK and China, and have been nominated both for the Guardian First Book Award and the Crime Writers’ Association New Blood Dagger Award. He has been favourably compared with writer ...more

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