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Into the Arena: The World of the Spanish Bullfight [Paperback]



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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account Oct. 21 2013
By N. Peritore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
the author had the courage to actually face the bulls on the ring, and so no facile or self righteous critiques of the taurine festival infest this book.very well done.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating account of contemporary bullfighting Oct. 14 2013
By dhsullivan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book in preparation for a trip to South America to attend my first bullfight. Reading the book was invaluable. The writing is superb. In addition to an engaging first-hand account of his training as an amateur matador, the author offers a sophisticated analysis of the moral aspects of bullfighting that presents a different perspective than that which we typically encounter in the United States (and, judging by some of what the author writes, the United Kingdom as well). I understood various aspects of the bullfights I saw far better than I would have without reading this book -- even after reading Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon and The Dangerous Summer.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb Read Aug. 24 2013
By Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. It is filled with history and personal experience. I very much enjoyed reading Fiske-Harrison's account of his personal experiences with the Spanish people, his personal misgivings of the bullfight, and his description of his personal triumph. I plan to see a bullfight next month, and believe that I am much better prepared to appreciate the danger, history, art, and beauty of a Spanish Bullfight.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Insight into the world of bullfighting July 7 2013
By S. H. Jensen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I chose to read this book after experiencing my first live bullfighting. I wanted to know more and I wanted to explore both the historical background and the current issues surrounding bullfighting. This book completely lived up to the expectation. Fiske-Harrison paints pictures and describes the drama so you feel you are standing right there with him. He also describes all of his own thoughts, doubts and fascination regarding bullfighting and for me as a novice it was very interesting to be able to mirror my own thoughts in his. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in knowing more and thinking more about bullfighting.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Character Development Than Even Most Novels! Aug. 20 2012
By Meghan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Into The Arena is one of the better pieces of non-fiction literature I have ever read. Fiske-Harrison develops both major and minor characters from the world of Spanish bullfighting in a way that makes you truly imagine being there. I found myself Googling the histories of many matadors depicted in the book because they are depicted in a way that makes you want to know more. Each is presented as a fascinating protagonist of both bullfights described as intricate dances and of a personal, colorful, and unique life. The reader is drawn into relating to the matadors as both heroes and artists, egotists and humble, fallable, philosophical, humans, facing their fears. The breeders of bulls, support team, and aficionados are similarly depicted in a round way that draws the reader into their culture. Alexander Fiske-Harrison himself makes a worthy protagonist, managing to paint himself as the type of person most of us probably consider ourselves to be and can therefore sympathize with. He alternates between confidence, joy, melancholy, questioning, and a pantheon of other feelings, generally finding the dynamic balance of a mature and philosophically curious person in a complex world.

I highly recommend Into The Arena to anyone who is interested the interplay of art, brutality, history, and human nature. The book obviously discusses animal rights issues in detail, but to me it is more about how human beings interact with our planet in general, including the animals who live here with us, how we interact with death (of both ourselves and the animals), and what constitutes art.

Read it-- you will soon find yourself researching tickets to Spain and the bullfighting schedules for Cayetano or El Fandi-- after you realize that they are actual characters, today, and not only the wonderfully developed characters of a memorable book.

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