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Iberia Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett Crest Books by Ballantine Books (October 12, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449207331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449207338
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 2.7 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

I read the book before I went to Spain and found that Michener was right.
James B. Johnson
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.
JIM SHIVE
I really wanted to read this book, even though it's outdated, to get background for a trip that's planned.
wicked witch

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 82 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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32 of 33 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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25 of 26 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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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I rather like the un-Michener form of this personal travelogue. It's a fun break from his usual format. Moreover, you can tell throughout the book that he was profoundly moved by Spain. His observations at times have profound clarity and hs writing in parts soars to pinnacles of great beauty. However a certain arrogance and petulance also shine through. The most trying times are when he is expressing the very partisan views of the French historian Louis Bertrand. These tend towards the extreme pro-conquistador and anti-moorish who dismisses mesoamerican civilization out of hand and explains the origin of Spanish personality quirks (at least in stereotypes) as having come from the moors. I prefer a little more balance, and a bit more support if one does make sweeping statements. But I still found it to be an enjoyable glimpse into Franco-era Spain.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 3, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is not a Michener novel but a Michener personal travel journal about the Spain he traveled in for thirty years and knew very well. It is rich with information about all aspects of Spanish culture and life. Michener was a writer who loved people, and loved talking to them . And this book contains the accounts of hundreds of conversations on all aspects of Spanish life.

It describes in great detail some of the main areas and cities of Spain, Madrid, Cordoba, Salamanca, Sevilla, and the Entremurada region.

It gives a tremendous amount of detail on different kinds of food and places of accomodation.It is often in this regard very critical.

Michener is a very good writer but not a great one. And there are passages of the book which are very interesting but fail to reach a higher level of poetic inspiration.

A number of the set pieces in the book are truly wonderful. I greatly enjoyed his account of the medieval Jewish traveler Binyamin Mitudela and the comparison Michener makes between his travels and times and Mitudelas.

The book is dated in certain ways. It is of course not up - to- date politically. But also in attitude. I think no editor today would allow the passage in which Michener talks about why all young married Spanish women are fat and content. And how they know in the land of no- divorce their husbands will not leave them even though all the husbands definitely take more attractive women as mistresses.

Michener writes a lot about bullfighting a sport he admires. I however found many years ago in the one bullfight I attended a lot of cruelty. I think more people today would share my concern that the cruelty to the animals simply does not justify the glorious spectacle of the bullfight.

On the whole I think it is possible to learn a lot from this book about Spain, and too about James Michener.
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