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  • España

  • A Brief History of Spain
  • By: Giles Tremlett
  • Narrated by: Luis Soto
  • Length: 8 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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España

By: Giles Tremlett
Narrated by: Luis Soto
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Summary

Best-selling author Giles Tremlett traverses the rich and varied history of Spain, from prehistoric times to today, in a brief, accessible primer for visitors, curious listeners and hispanophiles.

Spain's position on Europe's southwestern corner has exposed it to cultural, political and actual winds blowing from all quadrants. Africa lies a mere nine miles to the south. The Mediterranean connects it to the civilisational currents of Phoenicians, Romans, Carthaginians and Byzantines as well as the Arabic lands of the Near East. Hordes from the Russian steppes were amongst the first to arrive. They would be followed by Visigoths, Arabs, Napoleonic armies and many more invaders and immigrants. Circular winds and currents linked it to the American continent, allowing Spain to conquer and colonise much of it.

As a result, Spain has developed a sort of hybrid vigour. Whenever it has tried to deny this inevitable heterogeneity, it has required superhuman effort to fashion a 'pure' national identity—which has proved impossible to maintain. In España, Giles Tremlett argues that, in fact, that lack of a homogenous identity is Spain's defining trait.

©2022 Giles Tremlett (P)2022 W F Howes
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

"Lively and well-informed.... At once a history, a journalistic inquiry and a travel book." (Sunday Telegraph)

"Tremlett writes with humour, modesty and a great affection for his subject." (Daily Telegraph)

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Arturo Pérez-Reverte, but for English speakers

Great audiobook which moved at the right pace through Al Andalus/Spain's intricate history and kept me intrigued throughout. From the editorial approach of Ghosts of Spain to the historical exercise of International Brigades, Tremlett has shown that he can stand with the Hoopers and Prestons, but I really enjoyed Spain as a mixture of the two approaches. Soto's narration was excellent as he spans English and Spanish effortlessly. 5 stars for me.

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Infuriating

I loved Tremlett’s ‘Ghosts of Spain’, but this is, frankly, difficult to follow - the story of Spain is fascinating but this book is spoiled by the narrator who speaks way too fast with little nuance or modulation and, in a book narrated for English speaking listeners, infuriatingly uses impeccable but annoying Spanish pronunciations of names and places. Potentially great book but best read not listened to!