Spain and Portugal
The Alhambra
The Alhambra
Paperback      ISBN: 0674060334

Read the Bldg Blog interview with Mary Beard about the Wonders of the World series(Part I and Part II)

The Alhambra has long been a byword for exotic and melancholy beauty. In his absorbing new book, Robert Irwin, Arabist and novelist, examines its history and allure.

The Alhambra is the only Muslim palace to have survived since the Middle Ages. Built by a threatened dynasty of Muslim Spain, it was preserved as a monument to the triumph of Christianity. Every day thousands of tourists enter this magnificent site to be awestruck by its towers and courts, its fountained gardens, its honeycombed ceilings and intricate tile work. It is a complex full of mysteries--even its purpose is unclear. Its sophisticated ornamentation is not indiscriminate but full of hidden meaning. Its most impressive buildings were designed not by architects, but by philosophers and poets. The Alhambra, which resembles a fairy-tale palace, was constructed by slave labor in an era of economic decline, plague, and political violence. Its sumptuously appointed halls have lain witness to murder and mayhem. Yet its influence on art and on literature--including Orientalist painting and the architecture of cinemas, Washington Irving and Jorge Luis Borges--has been lasting and significant. As our guide to this architectural masterpiece, Robert Irwin allows us to fully understand the impact of the Alhambra.

American Baroque: Pearls and the Nature of Empire, 1492-1700
American Baroque
Pearls and the Nature of Empire, 1492-1700
Hardcover      ISBN: 1469638975

Pearls have enthralled global consumers since antiquity, and the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella explicitly charged Columbus with finding pearls, as well as gold and silver, when he sailed westward in 1492. American Baroque charts Spain's exploitation of Caribbean pearl fisheries to trace the genesis of its maritime empire. In the 1500s, licit and illicit trade in the jewel gave rise to global networks, connecting the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean to the pearl-producing regions of the Chesapeake and northern Europe.

Pearls--a unique source of wealth because of their renewable, fungible, and portable nature--defied easy categorization. Their value was highly subjective and determined more by the individuals, free and enslaved, who produced, carried, traded, wore, and painted them than by imperial decrees and tax-related assessments. The irregular baroque pearl, often transformed by the imagination of a skilled artisan into a fantastical jewel, embodied this subjective appeal. Warsh blends environmental, social, and cultural history to construct microhistories of peoples' wide-ranging engagement with this deceptively simple jewel. Pearls facilitated imperial fantasy and personal ambition, adorned the wardrobes of monarchs and financed their wars, and played a crucial part in the survival strategies of diverse people of humble means. These stories, taken together, uncover early modern conceptions of wealth, from the hardscrabble shores of Caribbean islands to the lavish rooms of Mediterranean palaces.

The Arab Conquest of Spain: 710 - 797
The Arab Conquest of Spain
710 - 797
Paperback      ISBN: 0631194053

This book, now available in paperback, is a challenging and controversial account of the history of Spain in the eighth century. In it Roger Collins assesses the political and cultural impact on Spain of the first hundred years of Arab rule, focusing upon aspects of continuity and discontinuity with Visigoth Spain.

An Arab-Syrian Gentleman and Warrior in the Period of the Crusades: Memoirs of Usamah Ibn-Munqidh
An Arab-Syrian Gentleman and Warrior in the Period of the Crusades
Memoirs of Usamah Ibn-Munqidh
Paperback      ISBN: 0231121253

The life of Us mah ibn-Munqidh epitomized the height of Arab civilization as it flourished in the period of the early Crusades. His memoirs present an uncommon non-European perspective and understanding of the military and cultural contact between East and West, Muslim and Christian. His writing is remarkable for its narrative clarity, its humanity, and its wealth of perceptive details.

The Archaeology of Bronze Age Iberia: Argaric Societies
The Archaeology of Bronze Age Iberia
Argaric Societies
Hardcover      ISBN: 1138821330

After more than a century of research, an enormous body of scientific literature in the field of El Argar studies has been generated, comprising some 700 bibliographic items. No fully-updated synthesis of the literature is available at the moment; recent works deal only with specific characteristics of Argaric societies or some of the regions where their influence spread. The Archaeology of Bronze Age Iberia offers a much-needed, comprehensive overview of Argaric Bronze Age societies, based on state-of-the-art research.

In addition to expounding on recent insights in such areas as Argaric origin and expansion, social practices, and socio-politics, the book offers reflections on current issues in the field, from questions concerning the genealogy of discourses on the subject, to matters related to professional practices. The book discusses the values and interests guiding the evolution of El Argar studies, while critically reexamining its history. Scholars and researchers in the fields of Prehistory and Archaeology will find this volume highly useful.

Argentina: From the Ruins of a Dirty War
Argentina
From the Ruins of a Dirty War
Hardcover      ISBN: 0974283681

This is a collection of work by students from Tufts University and New York University who participated in a journalism workshop in Kosovo in 2005. The students worked in tandem as photographers and writers to examine the socio-cultural issues facing Argentina decades after the Dirty War and just years after financial collapse.

The Armada
The Armada
Paperback      ISBN: 0618565914

A critically acclaimed historian chronicles the events surrounding the 1588 defeat of the Spanish Armada and explains its effects on European history and the settlement of the New World. Reprint.

The Armada of Flanders: Spanish Maritime Policy and European War, 1568 1668
The Armada of Flanders
Spanish Maritime Policy and European War, 1568 1668
Hardcover      ISBN: 0521405343

The Flanders armada, took shape in response to the use of seapower by the Dutch rebels, and evolved into the most effective unit in Spain's defence establishment. In combination with its privateering auxiliaries, this elite striking force dominated the North Sea for some twenty years (1625 45), and campaigned also in the Mediterranean and Atlantic theatres of war. Yet its contribution to the tenacious survival of Spanish hegemony has never before been assessed. A narrative of the armada's fighting record over the century of its meaningful existence is presented with constant reference to the strategic-logistical context and analysis of policymaking in Madrid. Attention is paid to the political significance of maritime policy, and particularly the relationship between Madrid and its subordinate headquarters in Brussels; the infrastructure of the armada; the ships themselves, above all the revolutionary but elusive 'frigate'; the social hierarchy of crews and commanders; and details of administration and financing."

Barcelona
Barcelona
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 0394580273

The author of The Fatal Shore links 1,500 years of Catalan history with the architecture, painting, sculpture, music, and poetry of Barcelona to pay tribute to the intense accomplishments of the Catalunya culture. 50,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo. Tour.

Barcelona
Barcelona
Paperback      ISBN: 0679743839

A monumentally informed and irresistibly opinionated guide to the most un-Spanish city in Spain, from the bestselling author of The Fatal Shore.

In these pages, Robert Hughes scrolls through Barcelona's often violent history; tells the stories of its kings, poets, magnates, and revolutionaries; and ushers readers through municipal landmarks that range from Antoni Gaudi's sublimely surreal cathedral to a postmodern restaurant with a glass-walled urinal. The result is a work filled with the attributes of Barcelona itself: proportion, humor, and seny--the Catalan word for triumphant common sense.