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Spanish History -- Book Recommendations?

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message 1: by Lianne (new)

Lianne (eclecticreading) Hi everyone! =)

Over the past year I've developed an interest in Spanish history (as a result of reading a number of novels either written by Spanish authors or were set in Spain). My main interest in history is a bit removed from the Iberian peninsula so I'm not familiar with historians who have written on region. I was wondering if anyone could recommend me some books, particularly if there's a book out there that gives a good introduction to Spanish history as a whole. I'm interested in Spanish history as a whole so any recommendations on any particular period would be greatly welcomed and appreciated!

Thanks in advance =D


message 2: by Jonathan (last edited May 23, 2010 06:53AM) (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 31 comments A lot of the best stuff, unfortunately, is in Spanish only and not translated into English. But the historian Américo Castro was important enough in the field that at least a few of his works got translated into English (it also helped that he taught here in the States for many years). His book "The Spaniards: An Introduction to their History" (Berkeley, 1971) could be a good place to start. Likewise, a selection of his major essays is available in English as "An Idea of History" (Ohio State, 1977). Since his ideas of Spanish history were not only influential but also somewhat idiosyncratic, another book, not by him but about him, could be useful, "Américo Castro and the Meaning of Spanish Civilization" (Berkeley, 1976). Hope this helps. ¡Buena suerte!


message 3: by Anthony, Trivial Pursuit Master (new)

Anthony (bluekabuki) | 43 comments Mod
I really liked The Battle for Spain, but it only covers the period around the civil war.The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Homage to Catalonia is an interesting, subjective take on the Civil War.


message 5: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 31 comments A new book of essays, published just his year by Yale Univ. Press, dealing with the visual arts and culture of Golden Age Spain in a historical perspective: The Arts of Intimacy. Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture, J.D. Dodds, M. Rosa Menocal and A. Krasner Balbale.

I have not yet read this book, but I came across a review that makes it seem very interesting and worthwhile:

"I am sure the Arts of Intimacy was a labor of love for the authors, but for the reader this brilliantly conceived book opens a window onto a marvelous new vista of Muslim Spain. The Islamic political enterprise in al-Andalus collapsed in 1492, and the human survivors of that debacle were soon either expelled or expunged in baptismal fonts across Catholic Spain. Tourists now stand in admiration before the great monuments of once Spanish Islam, the solemn grandeur of the Córdoban Mezquita and the dazzling but ineffably sad rococo of the Alhambra, truly the Moors’ last sigh in Spain. But in this happy collaboration of a photographer, an art historian and a belle de letters, we are shown other Islamic monuments in Spain, often silent and unassuming ones, but more popular than the imperial mosque of Córdoba and certainly more essentially revealing than the studied curlicues of the Alhambra.

After they had rid themselves of the professed Muslims, the Spanish Christians began feverishly to scrub out even their faintest traces in their need to guarantee a true limpieza de sangre. How poorly they succeeded is documented in the Arts of Intimacy. There, hidden in plain sight in the cities and towns of Castile, are the local monuments of the Moorish style, the Western Islamic view of life and art that had worked its way deep into the fabric of Spanish sensibility. Both before and after 1492 Islamic decorative art and architecture continued to manifest itself, like flowers in mid-winter, in unlikely places across profoundly Catholic Castile and in the unexpected settings so magnificently portrayed and unpacked and understood in the dense but lucid pages of the Arts of Intimacy. Like Her Catholic Majesty Isabella accepting the surrender of Muslim Granada arrayed quite unselfconsciously in her best Moorish apparel, the Art of Intimacy shows how Castile itself continued to adorn her public face in the gracious manner of the Moors and, indeed, in the end, thought it was her natural complexion."—F. E. Peters, New York University


message 6: by Lianne (new)

Lianne (eclecticreading) Thanks for the suggestions! It's too bad a lot of the material isn't translated in English but I'll be sure to look into Américo Castro's works. The book about Spain's Golden Age sounds intriguing as well =D

Anthony wrote: "I really liked The Battle for Spain, but it only covers the period around the civil war.The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939"

I think I rememebr seeing this book at the bookstore; glad to hear you enjoyed it! I just might check it out. I am rather curious about the civil war period, particularly in relation to society.

Thomas wrote: "Homage to Catalonia is an interesting, subjective take on the Civil War."

It does sound interesting! Catalonia is such an intriguing region (I've studied them a wee bit, but in terms of their language and national status within Spain).


message 7: by Michael (new)

Michael Flanagan (loboz) Hi I'm looking for a good book on the Spanish Inquisition, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


message 8: by Lianne (new)

Lianne (eclecticreading) Michael wrote: "Hi I'm looking for a good book on the Spanish Inquisition, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated."

I've never read anything on the Spanish Inquisition but The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision looks promising. I also remember seeing The Spanish Inquisition: A History at the bookstore that might be a good start =) Hope that helps?


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