Spain: A History

ISBN 13: 9780198206194

Spain: A History

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Sir Raymond Carr is one of the world's leading authorities on the history of Spain. In Spain: A History, he and eight other leading scholars--including Sebastian Balfour and Felipe Fernandez-Armesto--provide an authoritative overview of a country that has played a vital role in the history of the Western world.
Here is an up-to-date and engaging tour of Spain through the ages. We read of prehistoric Spain and of the imposition of Roman rule, which created the idea of Hispania as a single entity. There are knowledgeable discussions of the Visigoth monarchy, Moorish Spain, the establishment of an empire, and the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, all of which not only chart the political and economic development of Spain, but also examine the extraordinary artistic and literary achievements of the Spanish people. We read of the rise of liberalism in the nineteenth century, and of its fall, which ushered in a period of political instability culminating in the Civil War and authoritarian rule. The book concludes with a look at modern Spain as a fully integrated and enthusiastic member of the European community.
Attractively illustrated with eight pages of color plates and twenty-four black-and-white plates, Spain: A History is the best historical account of Spain currently available for general readers.

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Spain, influential historians once maintained, was an "exceptional" country--meaning that, in many key respects, it lay outside the course of European history. Unlike any other nation of Western Europe, Spain was for centuries the province of Islamic rulers, and the crowned heads of other parts of the continent scorned it as an "oriental," necessarily backward nation--when in many ways it was considerably more advanced than its neighbors.

The exceptionalist view of Spanish history was misguided and damaging, writes the eminent historian Raymond Carr, but it was one that many Spanish people accepted: to them, it helped explain why Spain, once so mighty and rich an empire, should have fallen behind while the rest of Europe grew stronger and wealthier, and why a retrograde ruler like Franco could have remained in power when democracy flourished elsewhere.

Carr and his colleagues, including several Spanish scholars, seek to restore Spain to the mainstream of European history in this highly useful survey. Taking in a view that extends deep into prehistory and forward to the recent presidential elections, the contributors emphasize the diversity of Spain's many peoples, whose union under the kings and queens of Castile and Aragon would bring so much of the world under Spanish dominion, and the difficulty of maintaining that political union in the recent climate of ethnic and regional rivalry. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:


Sir Raymond Carr is the former Warden of St. Antony's College, at Oxford University. He is the author of six books on Spanish history, including Modern Spain, 1875-1980, which was hailed in the TLS as "a turning point in Spanish historiography--nothing comparable in scope, profundity, or perceptiveness exists."

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