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Into the Arena: The World of the Spanish Bullfight Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books(GB) (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846683351
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846683350
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.3 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,911,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"'Whether or not the artistic quality of the bullfight outweighs the moral question of the animals' suffering is something that each person must decide for themselves - as they must decide whether the taste of a steak justifies the death of a cow. But if we ignore the possibility that one does outweigh the other, we fall foul of the charge of self-deceit and incoherence in our dealings with animals.' Alexander Fiske-Harrison"

About the Author

Alexander Fiske-Harrison was born in 1976 and is an English writer and actor. He is best known for writing and acting in The Pendulum in London's West End and contributes regularly to Prospect, Financial Times and the Guardian.

More About the Author

Author of Into The Arena: The World Of The Spanish Bullfight

Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book Of The Year Award 2011

Listed in the "most inspiring sports book for Christmas" Sunday Times 2011
Listed in top Sports Books for Christmas. Sunday Telegraph 2011
Listed in "best summer holiday reads." Sunday Telegraph 2011
Listed in "essential summer reading." Sunday Times 2011

"Complex and ambitious. Compelling and lyrical." Mail on Sunday ****

"An engrossing introduction to Spain's 'great feast of art and danger'...brilliantly capturing a fascinating, intoxicating culture." Sunday Times

"A compelling read, unusual for its genre, exalting the bullfight as pure theatre."Sunday Telegraph

"An informed piece of work on a subject about which we are all expected to have a view." Daily Mail

"Thrilling. An engrossing introduction to bullfighting." Financial Times

"Fantastic. A fascinating insight into a world we know little about but are quick to judge." Metro
"An informative and breathtaking volume of gonzo journalism" The Herald (Scotland)

"Intoxicating. Pulses with the writer's love of the world and the people he has found himself among." The Australian (Australia)
"An entertaining account seeks a demonstration of the values which distinguish bullfighting from butchery." The Spectator

"Particularly good. Transposes spectacle into words with great success, conveying the drama with eloquence and precision." Literary Review

"An engaging adventure story of a young man pursuing a dream with determination and courage." The Times Literary Supplement

(Read in full with photographs at www.intothearena.co.uk)

From the front cover:

"A hero from another age, a fearless Englishman touched by madness. This endeavour owes as much to Captain Oates as to Ernest Hemingway, as much to Flashman as to Don Quixote." Giles Coren

"Arguably the most engaging study of bullfighting by an English speaker since Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon. His willingness to get his hands dirty, and his eye for detail, make this a compelling read for anyone interested in Spain's 'national fiesta'. Controversial, thought-provoking and highly recommended." Jason Webster, author of Duende: A Journey In Seach Of Flamenco

"Bold, provocative and morally searching, Fiske-Harrison writes about the bizarre and arrogant world of bullfighting with passion, deep knowledge, and readiness to risk his own neck in the arena. His descriptions lucidly capture the near indescribable thrills of the corrida." Michael Jacobs, author of Factory Of Light: Life In An Andalucian Village

From the back cover:

Alexander Fiske-Harrison spent a season studying and travelling with the matadors and breeders of famous "fighting bulls" of Spain (and France and Portugal. ) He ran with the bulls in Pamplona and found himself invited to join his new friends in the ring with 500lb training cows. This developed into a personal quest to understand the bullfight at its deepest levels, and he entered into months of damaging and dangerous training with one of the greatest matadors of all, Eduardo Dávila Miura, to prepare himself to experience the bullfight in its true essence: that of man against bull in a life or death struggle from which only one can emerge alive.

From Chapter 2:

"The sensation of being the focus of such fury is a unique one. I stopped halfway along the wall, slowly turned, put my hands on the safety-rail and looked down at the explosive paranoia of horn and muscle less than five feet away from me. I moved the little finger of my left hand and his head flicked towards it. Then I moved the little finger on my right, and his head shot towards that. I kept my movement-level low, trying to gauge it so that I kept his attention but didn't exceed whatever psychological tipping point existed within that bovine brain. My overwhelming feeling at that moment was of smiling and thinking, perversely you may say, that this was an experience I would like to take further. However, it was enough for a first meeting with a bull."

From the inside cover:

"The bullfighter-philosopher." John-Paul Flintoff in The Times.
"Whether or not the artistic quality of the bullfight outweighs the moral question of the animals' suffering is something that each person must decide for themselves - as they must decide whether the taste of a steak justifies the death of a cow. But if we ignore the possibility that one does outweigh the other, we fall foul of the charge of self-deceit and incoherence in our dealings with animals." Alexander Fiske-Harrison (writing in Prospect magazine in 2008)
"It is one of the best pieces ever written on the subject. An almost literally terrific piece of work." Frederic Raphael (on Fiske-Harrison's 2008 essay).
Alexander Fiske-Harrison was born in 1976 and is an English writer and actor. He studied biology and then philosophy at the universities of Oxford and London and trained in acting at the Stella Adler Conservatory in New York. He has written for The Times, Financial Times, The TLS and Prospect magazine. He wrote, and acted in, The Pendulum which debuted in London's West End in 2008.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By N. Peritore on October 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
the author had the courage to actually face the bulls on the ring, and so no facile or self righteous critiques of the taurine festival infest this book.very well done.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By dhsullivan on October 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book in preparation for a trip to South America to attend my first bullfight. Reading the book was invaluable. The writing is superb. In addition to an engaging first-hand account of his training as an amateur matador, the author offers a sophisticated analysis of the moral aspects of bullfighting that presents a different perspective than that which we typically encounter in the United States (and, judging by some of what the author writes, the United Kingdom as well). I understood various aspects of the bullfights I saw far better than I would have without reading this book -- even after reading Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon and The Dangerous Summer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Smith on August 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. It is filled with history and personal experience. I very much enjoyed reading Fiske-Harrison's account of his personal experiences with the Spanish people, his personal misgivings of the bullfight, and his description of his personal triumph. I plan to see a bullfight next month, and believe that I am much better prepared to appreciate the danger, history, art, and beauty of a Spanish Bullfight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. H. Jensen on July 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I chose to read this book after experiencing my first live bullfighting. I wanted to know more and I wanted to explore both the historical background and the current issues surrounding bullfighting. This book completely lived up to the expectation. Fiske-Harrison paints pictures and describes the drama so you feel you are standing right there with him. He also describes all of his own thoughts, doubts and fascination regarding bullfighting and for me as a novice it was very interesting to be able to mirror my own thoughts in his. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in knowing more and thinking more about bullfighting.
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