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The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook Paperback – July 21, 2000
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About the Author
David M. Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson, specialists in Hispanic studies at the University of Rhode Island, met on the Road on their first pilgrimage to Santiago in 1974. Davidson has written several scholarly works on the pilgrimage to Compostela with co-author Maryjane Dunn. Gitlitz is the author of various books on Hispanic and Sephardic culture, including the prize-winning Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews. Their first book written together, also from St. Martin's Press, was A Drizzle of Honey: The Lives and Recipes of Spain's Secret Jews, for which they won the National Jewish Book Award and the award for Distinguished Scholarship form the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
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Top Customer Reviews
First and foremost, it is essential to recognize what this book is NOT designed to do.
The handbook is not a trail guide.
It does not list refuges or explain where to camp.
It does not tell you where to eat or what to pack.
If this is what you are looking for, find another book.
With that said and done, the handbook did provide me with an extremely valuable reference in establishing a cultural context for the sites that I was visiting. I am not an expert in Romanesque architecture, nor do I know the lives of Roman Catholic saints well enough to recognize the major figures in a Retablo. I never had the opportunity to extensively study the history of the pilgrimage. Left to my own devices, I would most certainly never have read much in the way of medieval Spanish poetry. In all honesty, even after walking the pilgrimage route, I am still far from expert in all of these areas. However, the handbook did provide me with enough information that I was able to appreciate much more of the sites that I was visiting.
As other individuals have noted, time for sightseeing is often short. I found the handbook to be extremely useful in prioritizing my time and determining which sites would be most interesting to visit. As an example, none of the other sources that I consulted noted the existence of the Blacksmith forge at Compludo which may very well have been my favorite part of the trip.Read more ›
It offers a variety of insights on history, lore, architecture, terrain, and other "bonuses". It's a quick read, but allows you enough of the whole to enitce you to explore and gain the rest on your own industry.
Of all the guidebooks I've purchased, this is the ONLY one that will be travelling in my pack on the Road to Santiago.
It's strengths are not in the trail directions it gives. There are much better guides for that. I suggest you consult one of the Camino web sites to find out the most current and recommended version of those. the operative word is current. The Camino does change from year to year, new alberges open, others disappear, the trail moves, street names change (Franco related ones are definitely on the outs), etc.
That said, this is a wonderful book for the historical background and descriptions of the countryside it provides. I read this book and I became fixated on doing the Camino. If you are going to do the Camino or are just interested in the Camino, read this book. If you know someone who is going to do the Camino, get them this book. It is the best book I've ever read in terms of Camino cultural information.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a pilgrim of the Camino, it was interesting for historical facts but not as a guide to the trails. I would recommend the Camino website for more details. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Traveler
I liked this book so much that I bought it again for my Kindle and carried it along when we walked the Camino Frances.Published 4 months ago by Karen L
This guide gives so much cultural and historical information about the places people walk through on the Camino. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Hilary A Brown
This a very useful book for Camino hikers. It is a great supplement to books about hiking the trail for those that are interested in the history of the towns along the camino.Published 10 months ago by J. Cooper
This book is loaded with history. Most precise on all trails. Well described Cathedrals, Museums, Arts, festivals, parades, hostels. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Diana Janes