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1. Spain - Culture Smart!: the essential
2. Culture Shock! Spain: A Survival
3. Cultures of the Erotic in Spain,
4. Food Culture in Spain (Food Culture
5. Culture and Customs of Spain (Culture
6. Speak the Culture: Spain: Be Fluent
7. Spain: The People (Lands, Peoples,
8. Culture Smart! Spain: A Quick
9. The Sephardic Jews of Spain and
10. Teach Yourself World Cultures:
12. Spain: The Land (Lands, Peoples,
13. Spain: The Culture (Lands, Peoples,
14. Post-Authoritarian Cultures: Spain
15. The Ornament of the World: How
16. Spain and Portugal (Cultures and
17. Histories, Cultures, and National
18. The Stages ofProperty: Copyrighting
19. Conflict and Coexistence: Archbishop
20. Culture Wise Spain: The Essential

1. Spain - Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs & culture
by Marian Meaney
Paperback: 168 Pages (2006-09-05)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$5.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1857333152
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. These concise guides tell you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships.

Culture Smart! offers illuminating insights into the culture and society of a particular country. It will help you to turn your visit-whether on business or for pleasure-into a memorable and enriching experience. Contents include

* customs, values, and traditions
* historical, religious, and political background
* life at home
* leisure, social, and cultural life
* eating and drinking
* do's, don'ts, and taboos
* business practices
* communication, spoken and unspoken

"Culture Smart has come to the rescue of hapless travellers." Sunday Times Travel

"... the perfect introduction to the weird, wonderful and downright odd quirks and customs of various countries." Global Travel

"...full of fascinating-as well as common-sense-tips to help you avoid embarrassing faux pas." Observer

"...as useful as they are entertaining." Easyjet Magazine

"...offer glimpses into the psyche of a faraway world." New York Times
... Read more

2. Culture Shock! Spain: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Culture Shock! Guides)
by Marie Louise Graff
Paperback: 192 Pages (2008-09)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0761454969
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette

... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good base knowledge
I bought this book to help prepare myself for an upcoming move to Madrid, Spain. It was pretty easy to read but also very vague. The last copyright date is 1998 which is a bit outdated now.

It's recommended if you want a broad overview of Spain and the history of the country but not if you're looking for more detail or depth.

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Very superficial and not very helpful. I expected an analysis of behavior and attitudes and found a superficial description of the most obvious things you see and suffer every day.
Politically correct writing is fine when you don't want to offend a proud Spaniard, but not at all helpful for a struggling stranger.
I cannot recommend this book. For me it was a waste of time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Culture Shock! Spain
This book - and series - has been very helpful to high school student, doing assignments on the cultures and countries where the languages they're trying to learn are spoken.This series offers these guides for France, Spain and Germany and many others.The information is easily accessible and helpful to any as a solid introduction - and assignment and travel "jump-start".

2-0 out of 5 stars Good effort but not much there...
After reading some of the other books in the Culture Shock series, I was quite disappointed by this installment.The author obviously has great reverence for Spain, but some of the things in the book were quite upsetting to me.For instance (and as also pointed out by another reviewer), the author has some obvious prejudice against gypsies:

"They are avoided, and most Spaniards are reluctant to get involved with them."(18)

"Traditionally a nomadic people, [gypsies] do not hold regular jobs and many of them turn to begging or petty thievery."(19)

"A few years ago, mugging and bag-snatching were unusual but nowadays one hears of daring snatches in broad daylight, particularly in areas where gypsies abound."(69)

Also, there were quite a few mistakes in her list of "useful words and phrases" (48-50).There were some errors involving spelling, accents, and capitalization.I was surprised that mistakes that could probably be caught by a student of Spanish 1 would not only be made by somebody who had retired to Spain but also go unnoticed by the editor.

Finally, the author keeps stressing that Spaniards are a very proud and private people and stresses that foreigners will never be totally accepted by Spaniards.While this may be true to some point, her wording kind of bothered me, especially since she seems to generalize a LOT.Granted, the whole point of the Culture Shock series is to generalize as much as possible in order to give the foreigner a taste of the country, but I would take everything that the author says with a grain of salt.I get the feeling that her own endeavors to fully integrate herself into Spanish society have proved not as successful as she had hoped, which explains for much of what she says.She takes much of what has personally happened to her (and very often sprinkles these anecdotes into her writing) and uses it as a general representation for all of Spain.

2-0 out of 5 stars Easy to read, but not very enlightening.
If you know absolutely nothing about Spain, this could be a nice book to very lightly acquaint you with the Spainish culture.It definitely does not live up to it's description.It touches on (one paragraph) many different topics, many of which I would have liked to know more about but just read about what I already know.It's not horrible, just basic.It most definetly does not prepare one for a trip to Spain or if you plan to move there(as I am doing).For example, it tells you there are comprehensive bus and train systems...I need to know their names and how to use them.(of course they have them, anyone would assume that)For me this was a waste of time and money. ... Read more

3. Cultures of the Erotic in Spain, 1898-1939
by Maite Zubiaurre
 Hardcover: 384 Pages (2011-03-15)
list price: US$75.00 -- used & new: US$75.00
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Asin: 0826516963
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To escape the heat of an August day in Madrid, Maite Zubiaurre ducked into an antique shop and there among world globes and old maps, she discovered a peculiar photo album. Tucked away among formal photos of King Alphonso XIII and Queen Isabel II was a whole collection of images of naked women and men.And, unlike the King, these women and men were not just posing.Rather they were engaged in a variety of "unnatural" sex acts, acts clearly at odds with the Spanish Catholic Church's doctrine that sex should serve for procreation alone: menages a trois, fellatio, cunnilingus, and zoophilia. But perhaps the most surprising images of the collection were a series of photos and sketches devoted to nuns and priests frolicking together on consecrated ground.

Zubiaurre realized she had discovered more than just a half-hidden collection of "naughty pictures," rather, she held in her hands a wealth of supressed or forgotten materials that revealed a subversive countercurrent to the orthodoxies of Spain's male-dominated official high culture in the early 20th century. She set about to study these images and others like them as counter-text to traditional narratives of and about the time.

The result, Cultures of the Erotic in Spain, 1898-1939, is the first academic book to analyze the rich array of visual and textual representations of the erotic in Spanish popular culture during the first half of the twentieth century. It examines erotic magazines, illustrations, photographs, stereoscopic images, "French" postcards, and pornographic short films, as well as erotic novelettes, texts and images on naturism and nudism, writings on early sexology and psychoanalysis, moral-judicial treatises and philosophical essays on sexual love.

Cultures of the Erotic reveals a candid and irreverent Spain, which, before succumbing to the stifling circumstances of the post-Civil War Franco dictatorship, reveled in the undying impulses of the human libido. ... Read more

4. Food Culture in Spain (Food Culture around the World)
by Xavier Medina
Hardcover: 192 Pages (2005-01-30)
list price: US$51.95 -- used & new: US$51.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0313328196
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Spanish food culture has evolved around strong regional cuisines and representative elements. This volume offers an overview of Spanish food and eating habits, taking into account a long and complex history, plus distinctive social, cultural, linguistic, geographic, political, and economic characteristics. Spain's location at the crossroads of Europe and North Africa has made it a gastronomic melting pot, with Arab influences and New World ingredients particularly noted. Readers will learn about the unique food culture in each region and how food practices and dishes in the Iberian Peninsula have developed over the centuries. Typical dishes and drinks, especially the Spanish wines, are described in context, with many accompanying recipes.

Gastronomy in Spain has always been of utmost importance. Recently, the new Spanish gastronomy has taken center stage with internationally recognized chefs. Spaniards are shown to be extremely social eaters and drinkers who like to eat out. The everyday routine of eating out, such as at work and school, is clarified as well. Home cooking and the Spanish kitchen get special attention. Finally, although Spanish food has always been associated with the highly touted Mediterranean diet, health concerns about current eating trends are discussed. A timeline, a chronology, and illustrations round out the coverage.

... Read more

5. Culture and Customs of Spain (Culture and Customs of Europe)
by Edward F. Stanton
Paperback: 232 Pages (2008-10-30)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$17.50
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Asin: 0313360804
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Modern Spain is a revelation in this up-to-date overview. Stanton vibrantly describes the startling variety of landscape, people, and culture that make up Spain today. Included are a context chapter and others on religion, customs, media, cinema, literature, performing arts, and visual arts. Students of Spanish and a general audience will be rewarded with engrossing insights into what writer Ernest Hemingway called the very best country of all.

Spain is a modern European nation, yet Spaniards are fiercely tied to their individual towns and regions—with their distinct social customs, dialects or languages, foods, landscape, and lifestyles—more than to a united country. Culture and Customs of Spain conveys the extremes, such as the hard-working Catalan contrasted to the leisurely paced Castilian, coexisting in first and third world conditions, and the love/hate relationship with the Catholic Church. Spain's institutions are described, and its contributions to the world—from unparalleled literature and cuisine to flamenco and filmmaker Pedro Almodovar—are celebrated. A chronology and glossary complement the text.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars High-quality country analysis
This book gives an excellent overview of many aspects of Spain, in chapters entitled Context (geographic setting, languages spoken, etc.), Religion, Customs, Media, Cinema, Literature, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts. Particular attention is given to the changes in these respects that have taken place during the years of societal transition from 1975 and onward. It should thus not be thought of as a traveling guide. Each chapter is followed by a list of references documenting the stuff presented: none goes beyond the year 1999 so the book has obviously been in the editing process several years before appearing. But among the references there are many tips of quality internet sites for those interested to pursue a given topic at greater depth.
As one who has visited Spain many times I recognize much of what is written here as to the point. I sense no tilting to any one side when it comes to presenting controversial topics -and these abound in Spain. If I were a student of Spanish language and/or history, or a retiree contemplating to settle in Spain, I would want to own this book. The drawback is the ridiculous price asked for a 206-page book with only 25 b/w pictures. For this, I detract one star.
(Note that the "Handbook of Spanish popular culture" by the same author is virtually the same book, the main difference being that in this older version there is a separate chapter, Ch. 1, entitled Languages, which is of interest if you are specially looking for a non-technical overview of this. In the 2002 version language is taking a back seat with only a few pages devoted to it within the "Context" chapter 1.) ... Read more

6. Speak the Culture: Spain: Be Fluent in Spanish Life and Culture
by Andrew Whittaker
Paperback: 346 Pages (2008-06)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$14.51
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1854186051
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
* Provides a deeper, long-term understanding of the nation and its people
* Designed to supplement the “usual suspect” guide books

A guidebook can show you where to go, a phrasebook what to say when you get there. Only Speak the Culture: Spain will lead you to the nation’s soul.

Spain boasts a rich and sometimes misunderstood culture, itself infused with the influences of other great and distant civilizations. Spanish life, language and culture in its widest sense is a major force of growing influence. How many outside it understand its origins and significance?

Through exploring the people, the movements and the lifestyles that have shaped the Spanish experience, you will come to an intimate understanding of Spain and the Spanish.

There are many travel guides and manuals on living in Spain. Speak the Culture: Spain is different: a superbly designed, informed and entertaining insight into Spanish life and culture and who the Spanish really are.

For new residents, business travelers, holidaymakers, students and lovers of Spain everywhere, Speak the Culture: Spain is an engaging companion and guide to an enviably rich civilization at the heart of Europe.

“As you might expect Spain’s traditional vernacular architecture isn’t easily pigeonholed; regionalism generates marked variation. Available building materials and, more significantly, climate have always dictated how people build their houses or outbuildings. The Spaniards’ approach to living arrangements is more easily summed up. They’re nothing if not sociable; while northern Europeans anxiously section off their own plot of terra firma, in Spain they seem to enjoy living on top of each other, clustered in apartments and houses around the plaza mayor. It’s not like they’re short of space either—a population density of around 85 per sq km is one of the lowest in Europe.” ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars good and interesting book
This is a good and interesting book for anyone who's now learning Spanish and want to know more about its rich and wonderful culture including ways of life written in English.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended to armchair and onsite world travelers alike
There's more to understanding people than language. "Speak the Culture: Spain" is a guide to those who may be visiting the land of Spain in the future. A guide to understanding the Spanish people, their culture, and how to avoid cultural misunderstandings, as well as what to expect, the contents within are as vital as a fluent grasp of the Spanish language. Also serving as a book of history, "Speak the Culture: Spain" is highly recommended to armchair and onsite world travelers alike. ... Read more

7. Spain: The People (Lands, Peoples, and Cultures)
by Noa Lior, Tara Steele
Paperback: 32 Pages (1997-09)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$4.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0778797333
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This book is intended for ages 9-14. Spain's history, climate, and geography have shaped many of the customs and practices of its people. This fascinating new book follows the history of Spain's many cultural groups and portrays modern daily life. Traditional foods and entertainment such as bullfighting are featured. The other topics include: the history of Spain's First Peoples, Greeks, Iberians, and Romans; unification of Spain and the Spanish Civil War; village and city life; education and family life; homes in urban and rural areas; and, leisure activities. ... Read more

8. Culture Smart! Spain: A Quick Guide to Customs & Etiquette
by Marian Meaney
Paperback: 168 Pages (2003-09-01)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1558687777
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Product Description
Culture Smart! is a new series of travel guides written for the traveler on the go. Each volume is a quick, accurate guide to customs and etiquette.

Outstanding features of CULTURE SMART!* All the essential cultural and etiquette points are covered, making you confident in a variety of situations.* You will know what to expect in each particular culture. * You will learn how to behave in specific social and business situations. * Essential attitudes and values are clearly explained. * You will find each topic a quick, easy read due to the concise writing style.* Laid out in a clear and easy-to-read format.* Each book has the same look, page count, and organization for reference use.* Small and light, it tucks into your pocket or purse for on-the-go use.* Your Culture Smart! books are written by a staff of experts consult on world travel as a profession.

Be smart! Take Culture Smart! along when you travel abroad! ... Read more

9. The Sephardic Jews of Spain and Portugal: Survival of an Imperiled Culture in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries
by Dolores Sloan
Paperback: 254 Pages (2009-01-02)
list price: US$32.00 -- used & new: US$32.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786438177
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Prior to 1492, Jews had flourished on the Iberian Peninsula for hundreds of years. Marked by alternating cooperative coexistence and selective persecution alongside Christians and Muslims, this remarkable period was a golden age for Iberian Jews, with significant and culturally diverse advances in sciences, arts and government. This work traces the history of the Sephardic Jews from their golden age to their post-Columbian diaspora. It highlights achievements in science, medicine, philosophy, arts, economy and government, alongside a few less noble accomplishments, in both the land they left behind and in the lands they settled later. Several significant Sephardic Jews are profiled in detail, and later chapters explore the increasing restrictions on Jews prior to expulsion, the divergent fates of two diaspora communities (in Brazil and the Ottoman Empire), and the enduring legacy of Sephardic history. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Telling the story of Sephardic Portuguese and Spanish Jews
This is a good reference book to read if you want to know the history of the Sephardic people of the Iberia Peninsula. It tells the story in a confortable way. A story told like a conversation between the generations and lifetime. Its an excellent read for people either studying the period, their joys and trauma, the consequences, the diaspora. I like the process- the explanations, the translations, the maps. It helps the reader having the visual to follow the complexities of life during that era. The account of the most famous people of that period, with information I had never read before. She also explains the daily life, even the games children played. The history and life of the Portuguese and Spanish Jews. The great troubles of the inqusition period. Up to, during and afterwards.Very informing. I also like the poetic way in which she uses the titles of the chapters, eg: Chapter Six - "Thou preparest the table before me" etc, and the way it ends.
The poem written by Judah Abravanel to his kidnapped son. Real life stories. Real people, Troubled times. Very nicely done. ... Read more

10. Teach Yourself World Cultures: Spain
by Mike Zollo, Phil Turk
Paperback: 274 Pages (2004-08-29)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071444343
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A fascinating and comprehensive exploration of Spain

Perfect for everyone from general readers to students to recreational or business travelers, the Teach Yourself World Cultures series explores language, history, art, politics, economics, cuisine, and much more. Each book in the series lists useful addresses, websites, and points of interest. Mixing historical information with travel tips, Teach Yourself World Cultures books are both educational and entertaining.

Teach Yourself World Cultures: Spain provides:

*A balanced and comprehensive overview of the nation--from geography to political history to the workplace environment of today
*Valuable information on the people and their customs
*Practical vocabulary and language tips for the traveler
*Recipes for common dishes of the region ... Read more

 Paperback: Pages (2009-01-30)
list price: US$105.00 -- used & new: US$105.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0757560474
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars History of latino culture: Readings from...
This text arrived as describe on the page. Brand new!

Thank you! ... Read more

12. Spain: The Land (Lands, Peoples, and Cultures)
by Noa Lior, Tara Steele
Paperback: 32 Pages (1997-09)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$4.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0778797325
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Product Description
This work is intended for ages 9-14. Brilliant full-colour photographs explore Spain's varied geography from the Cantabrian Mountains in the north to the southern Sierras and the vast rivers and coastal regions of the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Children will enjoy Spain's many natural wonders and exciting cities. The other topics include: geography and climate; the Castilians, Galicians, Basques, Catalans and Andalusians; city life in Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia; Spain's early history; farming, fishing, and industry; transportation; and, plants and wildlife. ... Read more

13. Spain: The Culture (Lands, Peoples, and Cultures)
by Noa Lior, Tara Steele
Paperback: 32 Pages (1997-09)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$15.09
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0778797341
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This book is suitable for ages 9-14. This book celebrates Spain's folk music and dance, such as the traditional Flamenco, its art, and architecture. The holidays and festivals observed by the country's many religions including Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, and Jews are also highlighted. Other topics include: family celebrations; language groups; and, folktales. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Spain
This is part of a great series of books. As a teacher, I highly recommend any books in this series for both middle school and high school students.The information is up-to-date and includes unique topics.School libraries should buy this series. ... Read more

14. Post-Authoritarian Cultures: Spain and Latin America's Southern Cone (Hispanic Issues)
Paperback: 320 Pages (2008-09-29)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$34.95
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Asin: 082651605X
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This volume explores the role played by culture in the transition to democracy in Latin America's Southern Cone(Argentina, Uruguay, Chile) and Spain, with a focus on opposing stances of acceptance and defiance by artists and intellectuals in post-authoritarian regimes. ... Read more

15. The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain
by Maria Rosa Menocal
Paperback: 352 Pages (2003-04)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$9.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316168718
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Widely hailed as a revelation of a "lost" golden age, this history brings to vivid life the rich and thriving culture of medieval Spain where, for more than seven centuries, Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together in an atmosphere of tolerance, and literature, science, and the arts flourished. of photos. 3 maps.Amazon.com Review
María Rosa Menocal's wafting, ineffably sad The Ornament of the World tells of a time and place--from 786 to 1492, in Andalucía, Spain--that is largely and unjustly overshadowed in most historical chronicles. It was a time when three cultures--Judaic, Islamic, and Christian--forged a relatively stable (though occasionally contentious) coexistence. Such was this period that there remains in Toledo a church with an "homage to Arabic writing on its walls [and] a sumptuous 14th-century synagogue built to look like Granada's Alhambra." Long gone, however, is the Córdoba library--a thousand times larger than any other in Christian Europe. Menocal's history is one of palatine cities, of philosophers, of poets whose work inspired Chaucer and Boccaccio, of weeping fountains, breezy courtyards, and a long-running tolerance "profoundly rooted in the cultivation of the complexities, charms and challenges of contradictions," which ended with the repression of Judaism and Islam the same year Columbus sailed to the New World. --H. O'Billovich ... Read more

Customer Reviews (60)

4-0 out of 5 stars better than the average text book
If not for a university class, I probably wouldn't have bought this book.Be that as it may, it remains in my library and not as a used book on the shelf in the bookstore via their buy back program.It is a worthy introduction to the subject of how three monotheistic religions managed to coexist in Medieval Spain.An introduction.My main complaint is that it leaps back and forth in a confusing manner, dropping the story line only to pick it up again in a concluding remark at the end of the chapter.Much is left unsaid, leaving me curious and thinking of further study, which may be the point after all.

5-0 out of 5 stars A highwayscribery "Book Report"
"Ornament of the World," asserts that the history of modern life passed through medieval Andalusia and does a good job of making the case.

The subtitle to Maria Rosa Menocal's engaging volume is "How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain," but that doesn't say the half of it.

Which is fine, because the subtitle that can do justice to this alternately sweeping and efficient book probably doesn't exist.

In fact, the featured period of tri-partite harmony is but a brief one in the book, shattered by the kinds of antagonisms that sustain our state of violent tension today.

In those days of European ignorance and atavism, Menocal writes that, "Arabic beckoned with its vigorous love of all the things men need to say and write and read that not only lie outside faith but may even contradict it -- from philosophy to erotic love poetry and a hundred other things in between."

Menocal explains how the prophet Muhammad would not perform miracles, given that the Quran, the book off God's revelations, was the true miracle.

Latent in the Arab's linguistic passion was a respect for the Christian and Hebrew reliance on scriptures.

Pagans subjected to the Arabic invasions covered in this book were required to convert, while the two "Peoples of the Book," were granted religious freedom under a covenant known as the "dhimma".

Under the prescriptions of the visionary Abd al-Rahman, founder of Al-Andalus (Arab moniker for the region of southern Spain),"the Muslims did not remain a ruling people apart. Rather, their cultural openness and ethnic egalitarianism were vital parts of a general social and political ethos within which the dhimmi could and did thrive."

If it doesn't sound much like the Afghani Taliban you know only too well, that's because there are Muslims, and then there are Muslims.

The good ones were the Umayyad.

How they became the faction they did (descendants of Muhammad's brother-in-law's sister's mother or something) is not so important as the fact another faction, the Almoravids, did them in on behalf of an Islamic intepretation more in-line with that which mystifies today.

The authoress maps out the rising tide and recession of ambulant Islam, the countercharge of Christian warriors, the religiously confused alliances of enemies when battles of family succession and greed intervened to rent the otherwise clear lines of battle asunder.

And the point of these events, for Menocal, is how the cultures involved were affected and transformed.

"Ornament of the World" is mostly about an assortment of intellectuals, dreamers, poets, and philosophers who informed these transformations, mostly forgotten, but sometimes lionized down the years.

"Ornament" details the Jewish intellectual Hasdai's rise to the exalted position of foreign secretary in the Cordoban caliphate because he, "spoke and wrote with elegance and subtlety, and because the 'vizier' possessed a profound knowledge of everything in Islamic Andalusia culture andpolitics that a caliph needed in his public transactions."

Much the same happened to a wealthy merchant of Malaga now known to history as Samuel in the taifa of Granada. Another star of Arabic letters, his appointment as The Nagid established him as leader to the city's Jews.

South and West of Granada, in the hamlet of Niebla, lived Ibn Hazm, a contemporary of the Nagid, and an exile from the Almoravid sacking of Cordoba's imperial city, Madinat al-Zahra.

Ibn Hazm remained dedicated his countless writings to the tolerant glories of Umayyad Cordoba, where he had thrived in younger days.

Considered alternately by scholars as embittered or sad, "He was, in any case, an astounding intellectual, his life a fitting tribute to and a noble and melancholy end point for the caliphate he never ceased to long for and lament, as if it had been a lost lover."

That caliphate fell to a malevolent force that, Menocal writes, "was often rooted in what they considered the Andalusians inappropriate relations with the Jews and Christians."

Which is not to single out Arabs as the sole possessors of intolerant habits.

Upon the Christian conquest of Granada, the famed Ferdinand and Isabella granted dhimma-like rights to their Muslim subjects. But they turned out to be paper promises.

Unfortunately for us, hundreds of years on, the results are still being reaped.

Menocal demonstrates the cultural contortions involved in this subjugation by dissecting Miguel de Cervantes' strange set-up to "Don Quixote" as the work of an Arab historian, found in the Jewish quarter of Toledo, and translated for him by a Christian Arab.

She turns something most of us shrug and pass over into a stark political statement on Cervantes' part, and necessarily alters one's consideration of "El Quixote."Itis worth the price of the book.

Cervantes'literary arrangement demonstrates how, in the end, the Catholic monarchs, "chose to go down the modern path, the one intolerant of contradiction. The watershed at hand was certainly the rise of a single-language and single-religion, a transformation that conventionally stand at the beginning of the modern period and leads quite directly to our own."

3-0 out of 5 stars Good for the non-initiated.All others, refrain.
I highly recommend this book for those with little to no background in Spanish and Jewish medieval history.The author draws from other historian and critics' researches -without appropriately crediting her sources - to inspire the non-initiated to learn about this period. For this I believe Ms. Menocal is brilliant and I hope that she can attract hordes of best seller readers and encourage a few to deepen their knowledge and hopefully keep on reading about history.The author successfully caters to today's urban tastes for multicultural themes, with a penchant for reverse bias, favoring the achievements of perceived minorities.For those who need no cheers to read history, can do without over simplistic comparisons, over abundance of adjectives, and editorial comments, I recommend to go directly to historians, linguists, and other erudite and original work.For example, most of the basis for this book can be found in Ramon Menendez Pidal bookEspaña, eslabón entre la cristiandad y el islam.

3-0 out of 5 stars too much anecdote for a very big claim
My oh my, reading some of the extremely negative reviews of this book and seeing the obvious bias of some of the reviewers makes me wish that I could come out swinging in Menocal's defense.

Unfortunately, I cannot. While Menocal clearly has deep affinity and love for the subject matter she fails to support her thesis as she only could have done by reaching farther than culture and poetry for reference. She makes some interesting suggestions through anecdotal evidence, but I found it extremely frustrating that she made no effort to more fully flesh out a claim that would have been very interesting, if true. Furthermore, I do not find that the book was contextualized as simply being a piece of the puzzle of Medieval Spain. I find that it made grander claims for itself. This could well be the fault of the publisher, who recognized a timely topic when he/she saw one (the book was published in 2002). But still, it hurt the overall credibility of the work not to strongly delimit in the beginning both what it is and what it is not.

I have heard much said about Menocal's writing style, both positive and negative. I will grant her a smooth hand with prose. Sadly, she does not exhibit anywhere near the same skill with structure. I found the text did not cohere well and tended to be jumpy and difficult to follow.

She clearly loves her poetry from the time, and I am looking forward to reading some of the writers that I discovered through the book. I found the "Other Readings" chapter particularly valuable. She gets an extra star for all the wonderful poetry that I'm anxious to read.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Introduction... to the say the least
I enjoyed this book. From my limited understanding of the time period and my inability to read history (facts after facts never interest me... the human element, devoid of many historical accounts, does...).

I have read the positive reviews and the negatives. I can understand either. I will say this book is a great introduction. It is romantic, an account of a world seen with Rosy-Tinted Scholarly eyes. Perhaps it is not going to be the greatest book for the nitpicking historians - and hey, I can see their point - but it is a good place to start, to know the names, the dates, and some of the scenery.

I wish more history books were like this. What is 'history' - a story... the word is there within the greater word most scholars will defend, arguing our need to be objective and search for the facts ('just the facts, 'mam'). But isn't that life, "stories" interweaving, facts important sidenotes to the human element. I respect this work because it has introduced me to a world I have heard about before. It will be my choice to move on further and read other works.

Those who have written their one-star reviews have their point. There is a lot missing here. I don't doubt it. But if a work of history introduces and inspires curiosity, is that a bad thing? Ideals are ideals and ideally, this isn't meant for the historian but for the layman. I am a layman, I enjoyed it. If you're looking for an introduction to a fascinating time in Spanish/Western history, this is a fine place to start. I don't know enough to squabble over details or put the author down for 'misreading' history. I'll simply say, Menocal has written a story about a time and place. Her writing is infused with melancholy and wonder, looking back to the golden aspects of a time believed to be harmonious.

If history was written from the perspective of the people, not so much the events and politics, I would read more history. But then again, I'm not a historian and this book suits me fine. I'll read further but I am thankful I had this book to open my eyes to an interesting time in human civilization.

The final word: historians, you know enough, so don't read this because you'll probably just write more negative reviews and negativity is really tiring at times. (If you don't have something nice to say, don't say it all all... I've written the odd negative review, so I'm guilty...) Layman and Laywoman, if you have a passion for a literary interpretation of history, enjoy this book. It is like wine for me. I savoured it, I took it in, I will remember and go on to the next. But I value the beginnings of what I have learned. And that's the facts, 'mam. ... Read more

16. Spain and Portugal (Cultures and Costumes)
by Keith Stuart
Library Binding: 64 Pages (2003-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$15.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1590844408
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17. Histories, Cultures, and National Identities: Women Writing Spain, 1877-1984
by Christine Arkinstall
 Hardcover: 250 Pages (2009-01-30)
list price: US$53.50 -- used & new: US$35.00
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Asin: 0838757286
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18. The Stages ofProperty: Copyrighting Theatre in Spain (Studies in Book and Print Culture)
by Lisa Surwillo
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2007-12-22)
list price: US$61.00 -- used & new: US$35.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802092462
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Editorial Review

Product Description

The manner in which a play is published often says as much about the culture that it comes from as the play itself. Using the example of nineteenth-century Spanish theatre, The Stages of Property argues that there is a great deal one can learn about a nation by examining its publication standards.

Lisa Surwillo discusses the ways in which notions of intellectual property transformed Spain's theatre - its agents, performance practices, and reception - over a period of fifty years, from 1830 to 1880. For three centuries, theatre had been the cultural arm of the monarchy. After the institution of copyright, however, it became the backbone of a new cultural industry controlled by a handful of publishers. In this atmosphere of private ownership, ideas of intellectual property and author's rights assumed a much greater immediacy than they had previously. The impact on theatrical practices was significant, resulting in the development of a homogenized national culture of shared theatre and reading experiences.

Through an integrative historicist approach to a wide range of literary texts and archival documents, The Stages of Property makes an important statement about the cultural, societal, and political roles of the theatre in Spain during the 1800s.

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19. Conflict and Coexistence: Archbishop Rodrigo and the Muslims and Jews of Medieval Spain (History, Languages, and Cultures of the Spanish and Portuguese Worlds)
by Lucy K Pick
Hardcover: 264 Pages (2004-09-21)
list price: US$80.00 -- used & new: US$51.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0472113879
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Editorial Review

Product Description

In an age famous for its powerful "princes of the Church," Archbishop Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada was instrumental in turning back the tide of Muslim attacks on Christian Spain and restarting Christian conquests in the peninsula. He was a prolific writer whose History of the Affairs of Spain or Gothic History established a historical narrative of the peninsula that remained largely accepted until the last century. As archbishop, he faced the challenge of maintaining peace and prosperity in a polyglot, multiethnic Toledo where Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived side-by-side -- and religious hostility and political and economic pressures constantly threatened stability.
By examining Archbishop Rodrigo's military activities, historical and theological studies, scholarly patronage, and literary creation, Pick illuminates the ways in which he created a political and theological accommodation for the religious groups under his rule that allowed Jews and Muslims to live in subordinate positions alongside Christians. Drawing together the history, religion, and literature of medieval Spain, this book sheds new light on the transmission of learning from the Muslim to the Christian world and the intellectual life of medieval Europe.
Lucy K. Pick is Director of Undergraduate Studies and Senior Lecturer in the History of Christianity in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago.
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20. Culture Wise Spain: The Essential Guide to Culture, Customs & Business Etiquette
by Joanna Styles
Paperback: 224 Pages (2008-03-25)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 190530319X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Culture Wise Spain is essential reading for anyone planning to visit Spain, whether for business or pleasure, for a few days holiday or to start a new life. It is guaranteed to help newcomers avoid cultural and social gaffes; make friends and influence people; and enhance their understanding of Spain and the Spanish people. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars Better title would be "Politically Correct Guide to Spain"
Contains some useful information if you are thinking of moving to Spain. Particularly if your views on everything are identical to those of the editorial page of The Guardian. Omits or brushes off some aspects of Spanish life that don't fit the author's strongly p.c. worldview.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Excellent book with a very detailed outline out what to expect in spain. It was a very useful outline for a research paper I did on Spain. ... Read more

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