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Editorial Reviews

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
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Publisher's Summary

Spain has played a unique and essential role in Western civilization. To understand the unfolding of Spain's epic history is to come to terms with one of the West's great cultures, and to grasp its enduring presence and impact on the world stage.
In these 24 accessible lectures, Professor Salisbury presents a broad and enthralling panorama of Spanish history, covering the centuries from the first prehistoric settlement of the peninsula to Spain's 20th-century civil war.
Linking one seminal era with the next, the course begins with how early Spain drew a range of peoples from ancient Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East, who formed vibrant communities on the peninsula. From there, you'll witness the rule of the peninsula by both Rome and Visigothic peoples, leading to the spellbinding drama of Islamic Spain and the Reconquista, Catholic Spain and the Inquisition, and the opening of the New World. Finally, you'll travel into the kingly dynasties and the dazzling artistic heritage of the Habsburgs and Bourbons, and you'll track Spain's emergence into the modern world.
Together with the unfolding of Spanish history, Professor Salisbury illuminates Spain's iconic cultural forms - such as flamenco music and dance, and the ritual of bullfighting - and its phenomenal contributions to art, architecture, literature, music, theology, and learning.
Across the centuries, you'll explore jewels of Spanish architecture, from the resplendent Moorish Alhambra and Alcázar of Seville to the sublime Sagrada Familia cathedral of modernist Antoni Gaudí. And you'll encounter Spain's geniuses of the visual and written arts, including such masters as the painters Velasquez, el Greco, Goya, and Picasso, and writers from the philosophers Averroes and Maimonides to literary greats Lope de Vega and Cervantes.
Travel with us to this remarkable culture, and savor the beauty and the great human drama of the history of Spain.
©2017 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2017 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 10-22-17

As much travelogue as history

Prof Salisbury starts her first lecture acknowledging her love for Spain and Spanish culture, which is fair enough, perhaps even to be expected. She follows through with a parade of colorful highlights, a 12-hour whirlwind from Phoencians to Franco.

Often she gets a little carried away. Spain's is not all that fertile a soil, for example, nor do I think she really believes it's difficult to think of an architect on par with Gaudi. This kind of cheer-leading, paired to a brisk, skimming pace, can gives the lectures more of a feel of travelogue or a pre-collegiate world cultures course than of collegiate level history. Good news for casual listeners, bad news for history buffs in search of some meaty analysis. As a history buff, I was disappointed, but recognize that this kind of enthusiasm can go a long way to holding the interest of someone who typically finds lectures dry and awful.

Sometimes, however, she takes the adoration too far, charitably understating the more... problematic aspects of topics like colonialism, bullfighting, slavery, guerillas, and the Spanish Inquisition. She prefers celebrating reform to identifying the problems needing reform. Bring a healthy dose of cynicism to your listening.

Full marks for Salisbury's speaking voice, which I could follow even in a noisy work environment, and for an unusually low incidence of verbal tics.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Devan Pennington on 08-05-17


I thoroughly enjoyed this lecture series and learned a lot. It has inspired me not only to visit the Iberian Peninsula, but to delve into the histories of other nations as well.
I enjoyed Prof. Salisbury's presentation and the overall presentation in general.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By mcsmall on 03-17-18

Overview of Spanish history

Inevitably, a broad over view is likely to feel superficial, and this is no exception.However, for someone with little or no previous knowledge, it would be a useful introduction.If you have any previous knowledge, it would be better to focus on particular periods.
The narration was a little too fast at times.

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4 out of 5 stars
By muovikassi88 on 03-02-18

A good introduction

A good introduction to Spanish history, I learned a lot. At times there was too much religion and architecture for my taste, and given the limited amount of lectures in depth analysis was understandly somewhat lacking. Regardless I recommend this to anyone with even a passing interest in Spain, it covers a huge amount, and explained many things about modern Spain to me even though I speak Spanish and have lived here for five years.

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