Don't bother with this book if you wish to learn about the best place to neck sangria in Barcelona. Howse is inquisitive, erudite, and often very funny. This is not a book about trains, and it's not really a travel book. But it's a brilliant portrait of the parts of Spain few of us ever bother to explore. Superb.
Mount is to be congratulated on producing a study which is lucid and funny, and equally useful to the amateur fan as well as the architectural expert. His great gift is to make what is (too often) solemn great fun. He did it with Latin; now he has done it with buildings.