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Iberia Mass Market Paperback – Oct 12 1984

3.8 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett; Reprint edition (Oct. 12 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449207331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449207338
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 3.5 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

“From the glories of the Prado to the loneliest stone villages, here is Spain, castle of old dreams and new realities.”The New York Times
 
“Massive, beautiful . . . unquestionably some of the best writing on Spain [and] the best that Mr. Michener has ever done on any subject.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“A dazzling panorama . . . one of the richest and most satisfying books about Spain in living memory.”Saturday Review
 
“Kaleidoscopic . . . This book will make you fall in love with Spain.”The Houston Post

About the Author

James A. Michener was one of the world’s most popular writers, the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Tales of the South Pacific, the bestselling novels The Source, Hawaii, Alaska, Chesapeake, Centennial, Texas, Caribbean, and Caravans, and the memoir The World Is My Home. Michener served on the advisory council to NASA and the International Broadcast Board, which oversees the Voice of America. Among dozens of awards and honors, he received America’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1977, and an award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 1983 for his commitment to art in America. Michener died in 1997 at the age of ninety.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
For my hundredth review, I wanted to describe a book that meant something very special to my husband and me. Although "Iberia" was originally published in 1968 (and spent the next seven months on the "New York Times" best seller list), we used it eleven years later to plan our first trip to Spain. It had not gone out-of-date. If it had aged at all, it was in Michener's less-than-balanced account of the Spanish Civil War (of course the same could be said of Hemingway).
"Iberia" is a massive, thousand-page love affair with Spain, part history, part travelogue, and part parador-and-tapa-bar guide. It is not 'merely' a tour guide to Spain, any more than Rebecca West's "Black Lamb and Grey Falcon" is 'merely' a tour guide to Yugoslavia. With the possible exception of his Pulitzer Prize winning "Tales of the South Pacific", I believe this to be Michener's finest work.
My opinion (or prejudice) is based on our unforgettable journey through Spain. Michener took us places we never would have found in the standard tourist guides. We pigged out in his tapa bars-"first comes the seafood--- the anchovies, eel, squid, octopus, herring, shrimp, salmon, five kinds of sardines, five kinds of fish; next come the boiled eggs, deviled eggs, egg salad, potato omelets cut in strips, vegetables, onions, salads; third are the cold meats in great variety, including meat balls, York ham, Serran ham, tripe, brains, liver in a variety of styles, beef, pork and veal; and finally the hot dishes..."
I booked us into many of the paradors that he recommended.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I just finished reading Michener's Iberia, and it's unlike any other book I've ever read -- unlike Michener's novels in that it doesn't follow a real plot, only a very tenuous outline of his travels in Spain; and unlike any other book I've ever read, really, in how he portrays the land he so obviously loves.
Michener sets out with a tale of his first sight of Spain and his first voyages through the impoverished rural lands in the 1930s. He then proceeds to examine Spain, bit by bit, starting with Extremadura in the Southwest and finishing up with a grand pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Every step of the way, he recounts his experiences in fresh prose, not so much concentrating on major tourist sights, though these are described, but the places, the festivals, and the events of his personal odyssey in Spain that demonstrate something about the land.
Michener describes many important festivals, like Pamplona's famous fería de San Fermin with its running of the bulls. He visits landmarks both well-known, like the Prado, and obscure, like the wildlife preserve at Las Marismas. Most interesting for me, he describes time and again his conversations with the Spanish, and he met a lot of them, from the poorest peasants to one President of Spain and a tertulia, a group of the nation's most distinguished intellectuals. It is in conveying a sense of the Spanish people that this book really shines.
I read this huge travelogue in preparation for a trip that will take me through Spain, and I was consistently impressed by Michener's ability to select anecdotes that demonstrate something important about the land. The further you read, the more convinced you will become that Michener is a brilliant man, able to perceive the things in Spain's art, in its cuisine, and in its music, that make it really spectacular. Only he could have written such a book, and he did it with obvious relish. The result is a brilliant portrait of Spain.
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By A Customer on Feb. 14 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As an avid fan of Michener's fiction, I decided to pick this book up to see how Michener dealt with nonfiction. I can without hesitation say that Michener is at his best in this genre. "Iberia" is a stunning achievement of meticulous care and fascinating recounting of events.
His account of Spain, though dated now by thirty years, made me feel as if I were there travelling side by side with Michener. It is wonderfully detailed and always engaging. There are long sections that are just descriptions of art and architecture, and being the art philistine that I am, these became a bit tedious. Still, my appreciation of these passages came less from the art described than from the obvious passion with which Michener describes them...
This book is a must-read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
More than twenty years ago, James Michener's historically based novels Chesapeake, The Convenant, and Centennial provided the catalyst for a lifelong obsession with history as recorded in books; an obsession that quickly made ample room for non-fiction. As the spark for this terminal appetite, Michener continues to possess sentimental value though I've long ago completed his impressive list of novels. Iberia, a non-fictional piece of travel writing, had long sat upon my shelf awaiting the day that some stimulus would prompt me towards an in-depth view of Spain. When the moment arrived, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.
Iberia was written in the mid-60's and is, in truth, an amalgamation of Michener's myriad trips to the region beginning in 1936. It is evident throughout that Michener was deeply in love with Spain. It is also evident that the scope of his intellect was profound. There isn't a facet of Spanish life - it's government, history, architecture, customs, cuisine, and geography - of which James Michener wasn't intimately aware. His ability to converse effectively on such a wide range of topics is beyond commendable, even if his opinions, on occasion, may grate.
If there's a downside to Iberia it's Michener's fixation with architecture. I, for one, do not enjoy detailed architectural description without accompanying photography or drawings. One can only absorb so many arches, statues, transepts, apses, bastions, crenelations, cloisters, etc. without a picture to look at. Another minor, though memorable, disappointment is Michener's defense of bullfighting. Yes, yes, bullfighting IS Spain, an art form, a tradition, but tormenting an animal to death played better 40 years ago than it does today.
At nearly 800 pages, Iberia is an abundance of finely crafted detail. It is beyond question worth the investment in time, though beyond question a dated look at a fascinating peninsula perched between the Old World and the New.
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