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Isabella of Castile: The First Renaissance Queen [Kindle Edition]

Nancy Rubin Stuart
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £18.95
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Book Description

Originally published in 1991 as a Book of the Month Club Featured dividend and awarded the Best Nonfiction Book by the American Society of Journalists and Authors, this authoritatively researched portrait of Queen Isabella brings to life one of the most fascinating figures in European history -- a woman who was passionate lover to Ferdinand of Aragon, conquered the Moors (Muslims) of Spain,funded Columbus on his famous journey, brought the Renaissance to Spain and was hated for introducing the Spanish Inquisition. Like many modern career women, Isabella was torn between her workaday obligations, her marriage and child-rearing. Which was she -- a visionary, a saint or a she-devil? Read "Isabella of Castile" and decide for yourself.

A fascinating portrait of Spain's most powerful queen who united Castile and Aragon, brought Renaissance artists and musicians to Spain, sponsored Columbus on his famous journey to the New World, conquered the Moors, expelled the Jews, and initiated the Spanish Inquisition.

Who then, was the real Isabella?

Was she, as some people still believe, an unrecognized saint who deserved beatification because of her charitable acts to her subjects, her special concern for widows and orphans, and insistence upon cleansing the Church of corruption?

Or was she a heartless bigot -- a religious fanatic who forced conversions of Spanish Moors and Jews to Christianity on pain of death through the instruments of the Spanish Inquisition?

Was she, as history suggests, a brilliant woman -- the only European monarch who understood the implications of a successful transatlantic crossing -- and consequently sponsored Christopher Columbus's famous journey across the Ocean Seas to the New World.

Who then, was the flesh-and-blood Isabella? As her dramatic biography reveals, the Queen was a very human blend of these three historical images.

Isabella of Castile describes the complex social and psychological forces that drove the queen to become one of history's most famous and quixotic monarchs, a monumental figure who is alternately revered and despised to this very day.

About the Author:
Nancy Rubin Stuart is an award-winning author and journalist who specializes in women, biography and social history.

Nancy graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in English and an M.A.T. from Brown University. In 1995, Mount Vernon College, now part of Georgetown University, awarded her an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters.

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Product Description

From the Author

Biographical analysis of the queen's 3 historic images.
Isabella of Castile traces the queen's development from an orphaned and neglected princess of Castile into Spain's most powerful monarch, a woman who codified the laws, protected widows and orphans, triumphed over the Moors, reformed the Catholic Church, started the Inquisition, expelled the Jews from Spain in 1492 and in that same watershed year, supported Columbus in his famous trans-Atlantic journey to the New World. Today, three disparate images of the queen still prevail -- that she was an unbeatified saint, a visionary and a she-devil whose relgious beliefs shattered the lives of thousands of people. Which of these three images was the real Isabella? Or were all three exaggerations,distortions of time, religious beliefs and special interests over the last 500 years? My goal in writing Isabella of Castile was to plummet the depths of those images and arrive at a human portrait of the Queen, unclouded by parochial interests. Indeed, as Isabella's life story unfolds, the reader will come to understand how personal, political and religious pressures motivated the Queen to act as she did and make decisions that still impact upon millions of people today. A woman's story as well as a political account, Isabella of Castile includes a sweeping overview of Spain at the dawn of its most exciting historical era.

About the Author

Nancy Rubin is a best-selling author who specializes in women and social history. Her other books are American Empress, The Mother Mirror and The New Suburban Woman. For Isabella of Castile, she won the 1992 Author of the Year Award from the American Society of Authors and Journalists.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 956 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00564TDZS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #253,932 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
There are suprisingly few biographies of Isabella of Spain around so I was excited to come across Nancy Rubin's book. Isabella's presence is still strongly felt in modern Granada, Spain where I'm currently living. This is a gripping read about one of the strongest, most driven, queens in European history. Not only does the author bring Isabella--the woman and the queen--to life, she paints a detailed picture of the interesting, but complex, times in which she lived.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Page turner 11 Dec. 2005
By A Customer
Even if you're not into history this book definitely is a page turner. Forget those dense essays about history, while you're reading it you'll find it as interesting as any other bestselling novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good history 19 Dec. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As there was a TV series about isabella I got this to get the background and it served the purpose very well. The book was fairly short but it provided a reasonably detailed account of her life in a very interesting way and I can recommend it as a good read to anyone. Isabella deserves to be better known. After all she was the one who sent Columbus on his voyage of discovery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 24 Aug. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A great book about one of this amazing woman and a time that changed everything. Highly readable.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prescott revisited 20 May 2002
By M. A Newman - Published on
Any potentional historian of Spain must contend with the work of William Prescott. Though cutting edge historians of Spain dismiss Prescott as old fashioned (he wrote over 150 years ago), his work can still be read with pleasure and little awe (particulalry when one remembers that Prescott was blind when he was active as a historian.
Nancy Rubin makes use of Prescott and in a sense pours old wine in new bottles. Her Isabella is more acceasable than Prescott's pius queen. She also very ably puts Isabella in the proper perspective as the co-founder of modern Spain (at least from a geographic perspective). Isabella's reputation rests on her funding of the voyages of Columbus, but as Ms. Rubin's book ably demonstrates, she was much more than that. In a time when political couples (like FDR and Eleanor) are described as "political partners" Isabella and Ferdinand were true co-equals. He fought the wars and she tended to the quartermaster functions. No wonder they were a magnificent success.
If this book has one problem it is the rather ambiguous relationship between Isabella and the Jews and Moslems of Spain. Though she made use of the former throughout her career (particularly early on), she later was a willing participant in their forcible conversion. Perhaps this subject requires a book of its own.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surpisingly Easy to Read! 20 Dec. 2000
By Diego Izurieta - Published on
Nancy Rubin's work on Isabel la Católica was very refreshing and difficult to put down. As a Spanish Literature student at UCLA, I recommend this book to anyone interested in the brightening their knowledge of this great woman. The chronology was consistant and the surrounding facts of the Catholic Queen were just the right size. It emphasized the rennovations that the queen implemented on the broken kingdom and the tenacity of her character, all fueled by her faith.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Little Glossed Over 2 Jan. 2012
By Abby Anderson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This enjoyable book gives a fairly comprehensive look at Isabella of Castile. It does a good job of presenting the relationship between Ferdinand and Isabella - a rather unique one for that period of time since Isabella had more power. The author obviously admires Isabella, not a bad thing since she had many admirable qualities, but this causes her to gloss over a few of the not so admirable things Isabella did. The Spanish Inquisition barely gets mentioned, and her treatment of the Jews is presented in a more sympathetic light than perhaps it deserves. Those short comings aside, I found this book to be highly informative and definitely worth reading.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lumai70 26 April 2013
By Lumai 70 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Good research, shows Isabella in a good light; however it downplays her role in the Spanish Inquisition.
The numerous battles described are sometimes hard to follow.
By providing maps and genealogical tables - which, by the way, did not appear in the Kindle version - are indicative of the effort the author made to make a complex subject matter, easier to comprehend.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read! 13 Feb. 2014
By Ms Agnes J. Jackson - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As I am visiting Spain for the second time in a few months, I realised that I needed to know much more about the history of Spain as it is so important in terms of appreciating the wonderful architecture that is everywhere in this country. So I decided to start with this book and I was really impressed by the ease with which I was able to read this history as is was so interesting and clearly explained. It was so enthralling that I couldn't wait to read the next chapter to find out who was attacking/ marrying / betraying whom and why. I have since read other books, but this book is a must read for people like myself who just want to learn more about this period of history in a very clear and memorable way.
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