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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Basque History of the World.
So much I have always wanted to know.
Amazing information on Basque history, politics and best of all cooking.... Baccaloa recipes.
The section on the linguistics of the Basque language is so easy to follow and I very much enjoyed the guide on how to pronounce the inpenetrable "tx."
The coverage of the American influence on Basque feelings and the effect of...
Published on 16 Nov 2003 by Frederick Garner

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment
A Basque History of the World is a disappointment. It is not reliable history, since even to an outsider the view it presents is clearly skewed. The political commentary is facile. And it is not particularly well written: Kurlansky's journalistic background is evident from the clunky series of vignettes of people he has happened to bump into. The recipes are presumably...
Published on 6 Dec 1999


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Basque History of the World., 16 Nov 2003
By 
Frederick Garner (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
So much I have always wanted to know.
Amazing information on Basque history, politics and best of all cooking.... Baccaloa recipes.
The section on the linguistics of the Basque language is so easy to follow and I very much enjoyed the guide on how to pronounce the inpenetrable "tx."
The coverage of the American influence on Basque feelings and the effect of Franco on the immediate lives of the Basque people was electrifying.
The bibliograhy is stunning.
An extremely well-written and wonderfully researched book.
I would reccommend it anyone who is interested in exploring the totality of "Spanish Culture and History."
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for historical survival, 31 May 2001
By 
"pjoiarzabal" (University off Nevada, Reno) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Basque History Of The World (Paperback)
Mark Kurlansky, author of 'The Basque History of the World' (Jonathan Cape; 1999) presents one of the most accomplished books on Basque history ever written in English. Kurlansky blends human stories with cultural, political and culinary history. He, like many other authors is attracted by the challenge of the survival of this small country throughout thousands of years. Kurlansky reveals a different point of view on the Basque people, far from the stereotypes imposed by many modern journalists. The author, as a journalist himself, highlights the Basque's outstanding impact on Europe's historical evolution. "No word less describes Basques than the term separatist...Considering how small a group the Basques are, they have made remarkable contributions to world history", Kurlansky adds. The modern Basque Country represents a human group constituted by hardly three million people lost in the swarms of the great human crowds. A significant fact of the Basque Country is the tenacity for the historical survival, its touch of distinction for the cultural creation, and its collective memory for the development of a social identity. While the world has entered into the Third Millennium, over 650,000 people are speaking a language, Euskera, whose roots can be found in the Stone Age (6,000BC). The Basque sociologist Ruiz de Olabuenaga argues that "something that had defined and is still defining men and women of the Basque society is the conviction that we ourselves must create our own future and that the excellence of the history of this country can be lost. We are a small country but solid, intense,passionate between the unconditional fidelity to our tradition and the maximum compromise to the ambiguity of the future". Kurlansky summarizes the aspiration of the Basque people for such historical survival in the final sentence of his book: 'Garean gareana legez' - 'Let us be what we are' - (from Esteban de Garibay, Basque Historian, XVIthC).
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four plus three equals one (Basque graffiti), 6 Aug 2005
By 
Bert Ruiz "author/journalist" (Pleasantville, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Basque History Of The World (Paperback)
There are a total of seven provinces in Basque land. Three are in France and four are in Spain. Consequently, the birth of local Basque wall graffiti, "four plus three equals one." "The Basque History of the World," is a comprehensive historical portrait of a proud people. Moreover, author Mark Kurlansky details the very unique and "tenacious" characteristics of the Basque population. Interestingly enough, Kurlansky argues that the Basque tongue, "Euskera" is likely the oldest living European language.
Kurlansky's narrative starts in the Bronze age, examines the bloody difficulties of the Spanish Civil War, it documents the stunning bravery of the Basque people during World War II, and reports the terrible human rights violations inflicted on the Basque people by the Franco Dictatorship. Kurlansky also does not fail to report the impressive economic development of the region from fishing to shipbuilding to steel manufacturing. On a diplomatic note, the author makes a point of reporting the shameful American State Department betrayal of the Basque people due to Cold War politics. Finally, this book is an important source of information for all Latin Americans...you may very well discover your own links to the Basque culture. Recommended.
Bert Ruiz
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the basques are no longer an enigma, 5 Oct 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Basque History Of The World (Paperback)
the basques, like the irish before the peace process, tended to get only negative press before this book was written. it's a gem. although the author's style is somewhat like a pot pourri, especially the insertion of basque recipes in "odd places" at the end of insightful analyses of basque historical chapters. maybe he wants to normalise their experience back to the culinary, as this can bring a greater understanding of the culture itself too. this book encouraged me to look at p woodward's analysis of the gal episode in spanish history which highlights the stain of state terroism against the basque nationality. it is a worthy introduction to a country often talked about but misunderstood. get it today!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment, 6 Dec 1999
By A Customer
A Basque History of the World is a disappointment. It is not reliable history, since even to an outsider the view it presents is clearly skewed. The political commentary is facile. And it is not particularly well written: Kurlansky's journalistic background is evident from the clunky series of vignettes of people he has happened to bump into. The recipes are presumably included because of the success of Cod, but do not have the organic relationship with that book's subject matter. In short, a disappointment for anyone interested in history, the Basques, contemporary European politics, food, or indeed almost any subject at all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Kurlansky serves up a Basque dish to savour in your own time, 21 Mar 2000
By A Customer
Traditionally, the only press that the Basques have received worldwide has been tied in with ETA activity and Nationalism. Kurlansky seeks in his book to redress the balance a little, but rather than pretend that this is a definitive history he offers up a little gem of a book that fits in nicely with the current vogue of narrative histories ("The Pound","Nathaniel's Nutmeg" and the author's own, "Cod", to name but three). Never failing to entertain, Kurlansky takes the reader on a whistle-stop tour through Basque history, culture and cuisine prefering, for the most part, not to offer judgement, but to let us see how the Basques see themselves. This is not to say that the book is a lighthearted romp, and the almost traditional suppression suffered in the Basqueland is covered in some detail and there is also some mention of the activities of ETA. Whether you are seeking to know more about the Basques or just seeking an escape from our own increasingly homogenised Western culture, you could do a lot worse than this.
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44 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars From a Basque: this book is rubbish, 8 Sep 2008
This review is from: The Basque History Of The World (Paperback)
I read this book when it came out and I just have taken it in my hands again to see if I have the same feeling about it now as I had it then. Indeed I do. Mr Kurlansky seems to be the kind of person who still finds romantic and idealistic the fight of those repressed peoples around the globe, such as, for instance, in Tibet, Kurdistan or, indeed, The Basque Country. It looks to me that he came to my homeland, he was very well fed (that we can do indeed) and he was strolled around by people who, I dare say, do not have very open views about those who do not think like themselves. Not only that: he was told loads of lies and decided to write a book based on them. Yes, I am a Basque, and I could not despise more those who say they fight in my name, those who "suffer but continue the struggle". Yes, I am a proud traitor. I am not in any way a patriot, not even an Spanish one. I just could not care less about Anthems, Flags or any crappy symbology of the kind.
I do not want to go on and on and on, because I would like to go to sleep soon. I would like just to quote some phrases from the book, just to give an overall idea of the genre of bullshit we a re dealing with.
"The killings went on" says Kurlansky. Nope, he is not talking about the terrorists from ETA, he is talking about the GAL, an Estate-sustained terrorist organization who killed, if I remember well, 27 people in the eighties. ETA has killed around 900. With a reason, of course, that is why the author never uses such unkind expressions. He even says that in the same period of time "the Spanish government have killed hundreds of Basques" What on Earth is he talking about? What are the names of those killed ones? Moreover, he tells us about the torture in Spanish and about the "violence" and "intimidation" of ETA. Did he mean "murders"? Not sure. Oh yes, torture. Of course it exists, and I depise it. Does that justify murder, kidnapping, extortion etc. etc.? Of course not. Ah, but we live in a "Police state". He even dares saying that "Basque youth called ertzantzas cipayos", and I laughed to tears: what do you mean, Mr Kurlansky? I have been young and when I got drunk even me I light have called them cipayos once or twice. Was I an independentist? Give me a break.
More hilariously, he says that "ETA's primary demand for decades has been negotiation". Really? Suppose that it is true, which is not. Negotiate what? On whose behalf? Ah, there you are: "The standing of ETA among the Basques is difficult to measure", He goes on trying to explain this and this is when you realize that the author is plain stupid. Do you need another proof? "without the Basque and the Catalan provinces, the two most productive regions, Spain would become an impoverished third-world nation". That is a good one, is not it? What, are you asking for data proving the statement? Sorry, we are not talking about the same book.
I want to finish. Just a final remark about the Euskara (or Euskera, as he puts it), that is the Basque language and, so it seems, the main proof of our existence as a unique people. Yes, it is the most ancient Language in Europe. And so what? Indeed, Languages evolve and that happens to be good. It happened to Latin, did not? I have studied all my life in Basque, since I was three up to my University degree, and I am not ready to accept intolerance and murder in the name of cultural primitivism.
Let me finish by telling those nationalists reading this that I am not a conservative, nor a right wing zealot (even if I was so, I would still be a Basque, they like it or not). In fact, I am quite the opposite: I am a left wing idealist who still thinks global justice is possible and that the fight for a better world requires respect, critical thought and open-minded spirits.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our history from a different point of view, 15 April 2012
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This review is from: The Basque History Of The World (Paperback)
As a basque, I bought this book full of curiosity. It is great to look at our history from an outsider's point of view.
I think it is very well written and very nicely documented and that it is based in facts rather than in historical points of view.

I find it very interesting for basques and also for foreigners indeed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must read, 29 Jan 2012
i got this book for my husband for christmas,he didnt understand why i am so proud of being basque. now he does.it also made me even more proud
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, 25 Oct 2011
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This review is from: The Basque History Of The World (Paperback)
Even if you are not a lover of history books, this is a excellent book and a definite must read for travellers to Spain and the South West of France.
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The Basque History Of The World
The Basque History Of The World by Mark Kurlansky (Paperback - 2 Nov 2000)
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