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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.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
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.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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.
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.