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38 Reviews
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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly and interesting
This must be a definitive review of Spanish society and culture in the last half century, and while it's certainly fascinating reading, it is oversaturated. It can be a bit difficult to get through learning EVERYTHING about Spain if you are a newcomer to the topic. The section on the press becomes passionately detailed. Hooper seems to give the names, political bents and...
Published on August 29, 2002 by Amazon Customer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but falls short.
This book is an interesting account of the colorful tapestry that is modern Spain. It gives a concise overview to the diversity of the regions and the history which gave rise to the differences which are vast and confusing to the uneducated student of this great country. Where it falls short is that it tries and fails to pull it all together in a coherent fashion. It is...
Published 3 months ago by CTSO


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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly and interesting, August 29, 2002
By 
Amazon Customer "cloudia" (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
This must be a definitive review of Spanish society and culture in the last half century, and while it's certainly fascinating reading, it is oversaturated. It can be a bit difficult to get through learning EVERYTHING about Spain if you are a newcomer to the topic. The section on the press becomes passionately detailed. Hooper seems to give the names, political bents and histories (behind the scenes and otherwise,) of every newspaper and magazine printed since 1936, as well as statistics about readership levels among various classes and regions over time which he compares to those of Britain and other European countries. Granted the information, with his analysis, does make for a very vivid portrait of the country, but you may feel a bit as though you're being hit on the head with a hammer when he starts doing the same thing in a chapter on television broadcasting. I simply couldn't keep track of the TV stations, and what they were up to, who was running them, how and why. Though I did get the point. Spanish love television, and they don't seem to have a problem with government control of the medium.
On the other hand the chapters on education, the arts, film, and the significantly independent regions of Spain, to wit, the Basque, the Catalan and the Galician regions, were much more breathable, and did fill in many gaps in my understanding,(though there were far too many personalities to keep track of, and all involved in very intricate negotiations,) as did earlier chapters about the general History of the country, and how the conflicts, between the various nations which came to form Spain, still exist today. In the minds of most Spaniards, the formation of Spain as a nation was never a forgone conclusion. And Hooper covers this national psychological fragmentation, and its present day outpourings and consequences, with startling detail.
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece of perception, February 9, 1998
As a spaniard I find incredible merit in this book. It is accurate like no other study (spanish or otherwise) and very entertaining. It has made me understand my country like never before through its very well documented and almost totally impartial overview of the Spain of recent years. Sometimes it takes a certain distance to see the whole picture and not corrupt the reality with stereotypes, myths repeated like mantras or official versions of the facts. For any Spain lover this is -the- book.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars COMPREHENSIVE ANALYSIS OF CONTEMPORARY SPANISH SOCIETY, May 12, 2001
By 
JIM SHIVE (BLOOMINGTON, ILLINOIS USA) - See all my reviews
I would categorize this book less as politics and current affairs and more as a complete sociological analysis of contemporary Spanish society. The author covers all aspects of modern Spain including its politics, economy, demographics, education, housing, labor, family, religion, and popular culture. The author explains the changes over the past 25 years from the ossified Franco regime to the modern nation involved politically,economically, and socially with the rest of Europe and the world. Very well written and organized with insightful analysis and illuminating explanation of Spanish society and mores.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Essential Work on Post-Franco Spain, January 3, 1998
By A Customer
After having visited the land of paella 19 times, I find that Hooper is dependably dead-on perfect in most all his observations and assessments of post Franco Spain. He masterfully explains how the country reached its present point, fitting a surprising amount of historic/cultural background into 470 pages. Hooper offers methodical analysis of every imaginable mileau (art, education, politics, crime, sex, religion, the press,etc etc), plus evocative (and unerring) portraits of each of Spain's strikingly different states. Indispensible for those traveling there, and a fascinating read for anyone even mildly interested in the region.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to Spain in all its variety, December 15, 1999
By A Customer
No praise is too high for this book, which is exceptionally entertaining as well as informative. Its most attractive quality is the way that it gets behind the newspaper headlines and gives a real sense of what life is like in the hugely different regions of Spain. Particularly interesting on the modern Spanish Catholic church and on youth culture.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is THE book to understand Spain, April 7, 2007
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This review is from: The New Spaniards, 2nd Edition (Paperback)
The first form of this book was simply called "The Spaniards" and was published in 1986. A completely revised version came out in 1995 with the title changed to "The New Spaniards." This second (2006) edition is significantly different that the first new and completely revised edition. This must sound convoluted, but the evolution of this book reflects the incredible changes that have taken place in Spain since the death of Dictator Franco in 1975. Indeed, some have argued that no other country has changed as much or as rapidly as Spain during the past 30 years.

British journalist John Hooper is intimately familiar with Spain. The well-researched, well-written book is as fine a survey of Spanish history, life, culture and attitudes as you are likely to find. His treatment is impartial and fair, though his love and respect for Spain cannot be obscured. It is everything you wanted to know and probably much you did not want to know. By that I mean that the strength of the book is also its weakness for some people. Though I am somewhat familiar with Spain, I learned a great deal and was fascinated with the breath, depth and accuracy of information Hooper provides. I also found myself slugging it out though seemingly endless statistics, economic studies and obscure names acronyms and personalities. Despite that, Hooper strikes a fine balance between academic excellence and readability. Even though you may be overwhelmed by more information than you can absorb, Hooper usually keeps your interest and gets the main point across.

If you are planning a vacation in Spain "The New Spaniards" may be more information than you care to know. Even a causal tourist, though, can benefit greatly from this book by intentionally focusing on what is interesting and relevant and not carrying the self-imposed burden of trying to remember or understand every detail. Of particular value is Hooper's firm grasp of the different peoples, languages and regions of Spain. If you are going to Spain as an exchange student or otherwise planning to spend an extended period of time in Spain, this is the place to begin your education.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine overview of Spanish culture, January 3, 2007
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Having made our reservations to travel to Spain, my wife and I set out to do some background study. Of several currently popular sources, I found "The New Spaniards" to be the most helpful overview of both history and of culture. Many Americans are generally familiar with the outlines of Spain's glorious past. We were seeking to know more of its present, beginning with the Franco era and including snapshots of its current culture. This book is well-suited to those of us who are interested in Spain's regions and the region-Madrid(national) tensions, the role of the press and modern social science poll results. These latter statistics are conversationally presented and by no means overwhelm the reader: rather, they give good understanding and form the basis for conversations with Spanish friends one might make along the way.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well organized dissemination of information, April 16, 2008
This review is from: The New Spaniards, 2nd Edition (Paperback)
I have traveled to Spain twice in recent years and am very curious about the country and its people. I have found this book to be a valuable resource to my understanding of Spanish history, its people and culture. The amount of information in this 400+ page book would be overwhelming if it weren't so well organized. Hooper gives us useful chapter divisions and chapters that are just the right length. This is particularly helpful if you are looking for information on a specific aspect of life in Spain. I have purchased a few other books on Spain and this one is the most useful and enjoyable, by far. My one quible would be the relative scarcity of visual graphics, photos and illustrations. Otherwise it is an excellent read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, well written by an author who knows Spain, though a little dated, August 20, 2006
By 
Jedrury "jedrury" (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
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Hooper writes well and knowledgeably, bringing the reader up through the Spain of the early 90s in a wide ranging and thorough examination of this fascinating country and society. His in-depth study of Espana stops about 1993; one would hope for an updated version for the intervening thirteen years.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Spaniards, October 22, 2007
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This review is from: The New Spaniards, 2nd Edition (Paperback)
This is a fascinating book on contemporary Spain. It is written in a very readable and accessible style. The text is full of vital information about this very old but "new" country. Hooper goes into so many different levels in this book. He discusses politics, sexual mores, art, music, history, regionalism, Francoism and the new Socialist prime ministers, Felipe Gonzalez and Luis Zapatero. His chapter on King Juan Carlos and the restoration of democracy to Spain is just fascinating. This is by far the best book I've ever read about contemporary Spain. If you plan to travel to Spain as a tourist, or just want to know more about this fascinating country, this book is a good place to start.
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The New Spaniards, 2nd Edition
The New Spaniards, 2nd Edition by John Hooper (Paperback - December 8, 2006)
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