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Iberia Mass Market Paperback – October 12, 1984

143 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“From the glories of the Prado to the loneliest stone villages, here is Spain, castle of old dreams and new realities.”The New York Times
 
“Massive, beautiful . . . unquestionably some of the best writing on Spain [and] the best that Mr. Michener has ever done on any subject.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“A dazzling panorama . . . one of the richest and most satisfying books about Spain in living memory.”Saturday Review
 
“Kaleidoscopic . . . This book will make you fall in love with Spain.”The Houston Post

From the Inside Flap

"Massive, beautiful...Unquestionably some of the best writing on Spain...The best that Mr. Michener has ever done on any subject...Stunning...Memorable."
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Here, in the fresh, vivid prose that is James Michener's trademark, is the real Spain as he experiences it. He not only reveals the celebrated Spain of bullfights and warror kings, painters and processions, cathedrals and olive orchards; he also shares the intimate, often hidden Spain he has come to know, where toiling peasants and their honest food, the salt of the shores and the oranges of the inland fields, the congeniality of living souls and the dark weight of history conspire to create a wild, contradictory, passionately beautiful land, the mystery called Iberia.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett Crest Books by Ballantine Books (September 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449207331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449207338
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.4 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 96 people found the following review helpful By J. K. Kelley on May 5, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is not like most Michener books, which are generally fictional; this is his personal travelogue of his impressions of many travels all over Spain. It should be understood that it was published in the late 1960s and that much has since changed in Spain since that time. While 'Iberia' is normally taken (in the USA, at least) to incorporate Portugal, Michener is writing almost exclusively about Spain in this book.
Michener clearly loved Spain and knew many Spaniards as friends. He discusses Spain's history, culture, art, literature, dance, geography, sports, and spirituality. Rather than putting all that into nice neat little buckets, he weaves it all together to paint an entrancing picture of the Spanish soul as he knows it.
Unlike many such authors, Michener uses photos very carefully to illustrate aspects of Spanish culture, from the assuredly adamant eyes of the Guardia Civil to the warm smiles of the poorest people. He also takes a lot of time to explain words that are difficult to translate and what they tell us about Spanish culture.
Recommended with equal enthusiasm whether from the viewpoint of history, religion, culture, or art. Also of special value to those living in Spanish-speaking countries or regions with large Hispanic populations, as Spain's influence on those cultures, as a mother country, is readily apparent.
Bravo, Sr. Michener. Faltan mucho a Ud.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As an avid fan of Michener's fiction, I decided to pick this book up to see how Michener dealt with nonfiction. I can without hesitation say that Michener is at his best in this genre. "Iberia" is a stunning achievement of meticulous care and fascinating recounting of events.
His account of Spain, though dated now by thirty years, made me feel as if I were there travelling side by side with Michener. It is wonderfully detailed and always engaging. There are long sections that are just descriptions of art and architecture, and being the art philistine that I am, these became a bit tedious. Still, my appreciation of these passages came less from the art described than from the obvious passion with which Michener describes them...
This book is a must-read.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By JIM SHIVE on May 12, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although I have read literally thousands of histories, geographies, and anthropologies over the years, I had always avoided Michener thinking he was a "popular writer" not an academic. After reading 'IBERIA', I know now that not only is he popular but is a knowledgable and insightful observer and analyst. He writes about Spain in a personal yet authoritative manner and manages to cover most of the major themes of the Spanish way of life without being pedantic. The only shortcoming I would ascribe to this book is that being written almost 40 years ago towards the end of the Franco regime, the book, in parts, is dated by more recent developments in Spanish history, politics, and societal change. This, of course, is to be expected in a book largely a history of then contemporary Spain. Michener has given us a snapshot of Spain as he knew it during the 1930's, '40s, '50s and '60s. Although Spain has changed along with and in many cases more than other parts of the world due to not having changed much for so long, Michener's descriptions and insights remain largely accurate and relevant even for readers in the 21st century. Even if some anachronisms are included, they still hold interest as a description of how much Spain has changed in the 25 years since Franco's death.
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61 of 70 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 19, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For my hundredth review, I wanted to describe a book that meant something very special to my husband and me. Although "Iberia" was originally published in 1968 (and spent the next seven months on the "New York Times" best seller list), we used it eleven years later to plan our first trip to Spain. It had not gone out-of-date. If it had aged at all, it was in Michener's less-than-balanced account of the Spanish Civil War (of course the same could be said of Hemingway).
"Iberia" is a massive, thousand-page love affair with Spain, part history, part travelogue, and part parador-and-tapa-bar guide. It is not 'merely' a tour guide to Spain, any more than Rebecca West's "Black Lamb and Grey Falcon" is 'merely' a tour guide to Yugoslavia. With the possible exception of his Pulitzer Prize winning "Tales of the South Pacific", I believe this to be Michener's finest work.
My opinion (or prejudice) is based on our unforgettable journey through Spain. Michener took us places we never would have found in the standard tourist guides. We pigged out in his tapa bars-"first comes the seafood--- the anchovies, eel, squid, octopus, herring, shrimp, salmon, five kinds of sardines, five kinds of fish; next come the boiled eggs, deviled eggs, egg salad, potato omelets cut in strips, vegetables, onions, salads; third are the cold meats in great variety, including meat balls, York ham, Serran ham, tripe, brains, liver in a variety of styles, beef, pork and veal; and finally the hot dishes..."
I booked us into many of the paradors that he recommended.
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