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The Basque History of the World: The Story of a Nation (1999)

av Mark Kurlansky

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,1732312,919 (3.77)90
Settled in the western Pyrenees Mountains, the Basque nation is not drawn on maps and the origin of their forbidden language has never been discovered. Yet, Basques appear to predate all other cultures in Europe, with many significant global contributions to their credit.
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I picked this off the charity shop shelf because it has a great cover. Only realised when I got it home that it's by the author of "Cod" which was one of the earliest (and best) of the books that cover whole epochs via the lens of a single subject. Enjoyed this one just as much - and learnt a lot, although you don't have to believe everything he writes. Quite a few reviewers found his writing boring but I read it in small chunks over several months and was always engaged. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
It was OK. It sort of plodded along very slowly. The chapters didn't seem to be arranged in any particular order that made sense. The writing was dry considering the interesting subject matter. I really wanted to like it more but it was kind of boring. ( )
  LynnK. | Aug 4, 2020 |
Started the book because of a friend living temporarily in the Basque Country. Interesting how the Basque how preserved a distinct own culture for so long. I would guess at the cost of a lot of internal norms/pressure. A high degree of religiousness. Lost interest after a while. Did not finish. ( )
  ohernaes | Jan 10, 2020 |
I picked this off the charity shop shelf because it has a great cover. Only realised when I got it home that it's by the author of "Cod" which was one of the earliest (and best) of the books that cover whole epochs via the lens of a single subject. Enjoyed this one just as much - and learnt a lot, although you don't have to believe everything he writes. Quite a few reviewers found his writing boring but I read it in small chunks over several months and was always engaged. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | May 27, 2018 |
The Basque Country, also known as Euskal Herria, consists of the four provinces of the Basque Autonomous Community (Euskadi) in northern Spain (Vizcaya, Guipúzcoa, Alava and Navarra) and three adjacent ones (Labourd, Basse Navarre and Soule) in southwestern France (Pays Basque). The Basque people are believed to be one of the oldest European cultures that are still in existence, and Euskera, the language spoken by the Basques, is the oldest surviving pre-Indo-European language in western Europe and has very little in common with Castilian Spanish or French. The Basque people, especially those in the Spanish portion of the region, have longed and fought fiercely for independence and, more importantly, self governance for centuries, using the Fueros, or regional civil laws, that were agreed upon nearly 500 years ago. The region is known for its cultural traditions including the sport of jai alai, the stunning beach resorts in San Sebastián and Biarritz that are popular tourist destinations, and its outstanding cuisine, particularly pintxos, chorizo and salt cod, which all originated there.

The American journalist Mark Kurlansky's fondness and knowledge of the Basque Region shines in this excellent book, which traces the history and traditions of Euskal Herria from its earliest known days to the end of the 20th century, including its major figures such as Ignacio de Loyola, the priest and theologian who founded the Jesuit religious order; Sabino Arana, the founder of Basque nationalism; and Bernardo Atxaga (Joseba Irazu Garmendia), the first Basque author to receive worldwide acclaim for his work, most notably [Obabakoak], a collection of short stories set in the fictional Basque village of Obaba. Kurlansky also describes the region's rich whaling and shipbuilding traditions, the 1937 bombing of the town of Guernica (Gernika) by German planes, Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), the Basque separatist and terrorist group that has maintained its cease fire agreement with the Spanish government since 2010, and the foods that are unique to the region, including at least half a dozen recipes. The focus of the book is on the Spanish Basques, although he does dedicate one chapter to the Pays Basco, who are much more integrated into French government and society.

The Basque History of the World is a readable and entertaining look into this fascinating culture, which was a reasonable length at 400 pages. This was a perfect introduction to my upcoming first visit to the Basque Region, and I highly recommend it to anyone who plans to travel there or is interested in learning more about its people. ( )
1 rösta kidzdoc | May 28, 2017 |
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The first time I heard the secret tongue, the ancient and forbidden language of the Basques, was in the Hotel Eskualduna in St.-Jean-de-Luz.
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Settled in the western Pyrenees Mountains, the Basque nation is not drawn on maps and the origin of their forbidden language has never been discovered. Yet, Basques appear to predate all other cultures in Europe, with many significant global contributions to their credit.

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