Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The End of Days: A Story of Tolerance, Tyranny and the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain Hardcover – December 31, 1995
See the Best Books of 2018 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
From School Library Journal
YA-Approximately 200 years of Spanish history (1300-1500) are the focus of this book. Paris sketches the medieval history of the Iberian peninsula, stressing the tolerance of most of the Islamic dynasties, the relative amity between the three major religions of the area, and the flourishing culture that this relatively peaceful era nourished. The 14th century brought division within the Catholic Church itself; a plague that killed 25-30% of the population of Europe; and, in Valencia in 1391, a pogrom that gave its Jewish residents the choice of conversion or death. The "end of days" refers to the second coming of Christ, which would happen only if all the Jews were converted. Over half of the Jewish residents of Spain converted in the 14th and 15th centuries. These "conversos" were the primary target of the early Inquisition. Paris describes the early period of the Inquisition, the motives and actions of the inquisitors, and the fate of those accused. The actual expulsion of the Jews (not the conversos) in 1492 and the Moors (who were also given the opportunity to convert) in 1502 mark the climax of the events of this book. Written in lively prose, this book is recommended for general reading and as a resource for reports.
Clodagh Lee, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This focus on the expulsion of the Jews from Spain traces the path of the Spanish Inquisition's lasting effects in the region. Before the reign of terror, Jews, Christians and Moors lived together in Spain in harmony: this title traces the underlying influences upon the decline of a rich and harmonious culture and the chain of events which followed. -- Midwest Book Review
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Paris stumbles when she attempts to explain popular support for the Inquisition. Why did Spain shift from becoming the most tolerant country in Europe to the least tolerant? Paris blames natural disasters, social instability and economic hardship. But after I read this book, it was not clear to me whether (or why) these problems were so much worse in 14th and 15th-century Spain than in other countries or other times. And the last chapter of the book would have been deleted by a more thoughtful editor; it drags in every conceivable social problem in order to argue that the U.S. or Canada could turn into 15th-century Spain.
As other reviewers point out, this book is not a masterpiece of sociological analysis. But I still thought it was vivid and informative enough to be worth the time I spent on it.
Here is a summary of the book's theme: The Catholic church, in general, and the Spanish Catholic church, in particular, have been attempting to eradicate the Jews for the last 1400 years (at least). In the year 712, Muslims brought multi-culturalism to Spain. The resulting golden-age of tolerance was ended by Catholic bigotry, lies and murders. The book retells Spanish history in terms of crimes against the Spanish Jewish people (people who practiced the Jewish faith and those whose Spanish ancestors were Jewish but practiced Catholic Christianity themselves). Particular attention is given to the anti-Jewish riots of 1391 and inquisition, but these events are linked to more contemporary Catholic crimes.
I found the details of Spanish history interesting. This period is particularly ugly to our modern sensibility and English speaking historians seem to avoid it. For example, Queen Isabella looks like a good candidate for modern feminist biography. She created one of the first modern states and financed the first European adventures in the Western Hemisphere. Despite this, the Amazon website has only 1 post-1950 biography on her. I suspect her role in establishing the Spanish inquisition seems decidedly un-feminist.
I don't recommend this book. The author naively accepts various first person accounts from the era when they support her case. At one point, she retells the miraculous story of Jewish children having visions of Christian crosses entirely without a modern skepticism. It simply happened. Less sentimental was her naive acceptance of the racist premise that being a 'converso' (Spanish Catholics with a Jewish ancestor) had some sort of biological reality. Somehow, the persecution of these Christians was a crime against the Jewish race because the biological reality of race was more important than the details of faith.
The conventional wisdom on the Spanish Inquisition, (see B. Netanyahu's "The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth-Century Spain") takes the view that the Spanish sovereigns let the 'coversos' be attacked in order to distract the outraged city masses and their leaders from turning against the royal establishment itself. In other words, it was a media campaign to control the 'masses' via propaganda. For example, King Ferdinand himself was a 'converso', but he continually used the inquisition to suppress opposition to his innovations in tax policy.
The 'revisionist' view (see The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision by H.Kamen) suggests the modern understanding of the inquisition is Marxist propaganda of the 20th century. If you can take this perspective for a moment, the fact Paris ignores the 13th century expulsion of Jews from Muslim Spain suggests Paris fits Kamen's critique. For Paris, the only villain is the Catholic Church.
This is a hard read as she skips back and forth and from place to place. She details the pogroms but not the accomplishments of the Jewish community. She virtually ignores the events in the rest of Europe and cannot tell us why Spain was different from France or Italy.