Once, while studying the expansion of Spain’s empire and the conquest of the Americas, I accumulated a hodgepodge of books that included several scholarly tomes about Spain and Latin America. These books, in general, seemed to be written to satisfy tenure requirements, and they often lacked readability in direct proportion to their relevancy to my study. The books have titles like: Nine Centuries of Spanish Literature and A New History of Spanish Literature. The 11 volumes in this stack would probably take me a century to read.
At the bottom of this tall stack of books lies four Shakespeare plays that I overlooked when I removed several duplicate copies of the bard’s plays from my library. These examples are from the great New Cambridge Shakespeare series and each has an interpretive introduction and illustrations. There is so much interpretive material on the WWW and in the wiki on-line encyclopedia that it doesn’t seem worthwhile to keep these copies.
Turning back to the scholarly works, I discovered two that were both readable and informative.
Empire by Henry Kamen is subtitled: How Spain became a World Power, 1492-1763. This epoch of Spanish History starts with the birth of modern Spain under the rule of Ferdinand and Isabella and ends with the death of Charles II the last of the Hapsburg kings. This era will see the Moors and Jews expelled from Spain, and Spain will expand its rule to Naples, the Netherlands and all the way across two oceans to the Philippines. This is the time of the rape and exploitation of the Americas by Spain to enrich the coffers of their European bankers and Kamen describes the era well.
Another book to save is: The Story of Spain by Mark Williams, which in a brief, entertaining, and easy to read style tells the history of Spain from 1492, when Columbus was sent on his journey of discovery, up to the World Wars and the Fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco. This is a wide sweep of history and a perfect introduction for the novice traveler. This little book is excellent reading for anyone traveling to Spain.
This adds 13 books to the stack of exiles.
The deaccession count: Posts 14, Books 77.