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3.8 out of 5 stars13
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 27 June 2011
Buy the Paperback version. It is cheaper. The Kindle edition I bought had several defects. The maps are very difficult to read on the screen (very small lettering) and it is inconvenient to go back to them when you are reading. I found that some pages seemed to be duplicated which was confusing.
The style and content are excellent and the prologue pointed out that when the book was written there were very few or no studies in Spanish or other languages of this period.
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on 26 April 2012
This book covers administrative, economic and social history of the empire and does an excellent job at that.

However it assumes that you are familiar with the Spanish international political / military history and discusses impacts of involvement in foreign affairs without specifically describing details of those affairs. (For example, there's hardly any mention of the Italian Wars and you won't be able to figure out the extent of Habsburg-Ottoman conflict based solely on this book.) So, if you're more interested in international politics and warfare narrative, you should rather search elsewhere.
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on 31 March 2002
A still unsurpassed survey of Spain's greatest age of glory and decline. To be read in conjunction with the author's other masterpiece, "The Revolt of the Catalans", recently reprinted. Well worth taking with you on a Spanish beach holiday.
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on 13 November 2012
This is the standard history of its subject. It is written in a rather dry, academic manner,and seems rather dated. It takes for granted some areas which could have been covered in more detail (eg the Armada), and is very eurocentric, with very little on the American Empire.
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on 24 March 2012
An excellent read if you're after a relatively brief narrative of Spanish history. Charts the rise and fall of Imperial Spain in simple yet well written prose, teasing out the theme of an overstretched imperial inheritance built upon unsound foundations. If you're looking for detail on Spanish foreign policy or military history look elsewhere. Fully recommended.
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on 17 January 2016
For the best part of a century (the 1500s) Spain was the preeminent power within Europe and was first power to have a presence across the global. With it's remarkable conquests of the Aztecs and the Incas and it's establishment in the Philippines, as well as a vast swave of European territory gained from a twist of Dynastic fate, bringing together under one ruler (Charles V) Aragon, Castile, Naples, Sardinia, Beligum and Holland, Franche Comte Austria and numerous small states in Germany and northern Italy, the Spanish had established the World's first Global Empire. Yet as quickly as it had risen, the Spanish empire fell apart, The German, Austrian and Northern Italian lands went to Charles' brother upon Charles abdication, the Netherlands erupted in revolt from the 1570s onwards and eventually, broke into two parts, the Spanish Netherlands (modern day Belgium) and the Netherlands. The overseas possessions were secure for the time being, but the English and Dutch would raid the treasury fleets and weaken Spain by stretching it's resources beyond breaking point, smeting which began under Charles V as he mortgaged Spain to various bankers to fund his never ending European Wars. In the end, by 1716, Spain was no longer the dominant force in Europe, that mantle had passed to France.

This is therefore a very interesting story to tell and there is not that much out there in one continuous narrative out there. There is plenty of books out there about various parts of the 250 years that this book covers, but nothing really (in english) looking at Spain during this period. It was therefore with great delight that I bought this book. I was though however a little disappointed with it. The book is well over 50 years old and it shows, Some works of history have aged very well since they were first written, this unfortunately has not. I found the style to be dry and did not really grab you. some of the sections were interesting, however the narrative never really settles down into something that is fun to read. The book structure ialso seems to be a bit off with a large proportion of it being focused on Spain during the time of Charles V, who was King for only 30+ years. the rest of the time period seems to be very short changed.

There was some useful information with this book and it is not a bad piece of work, it just could have been something more.
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on 3 March 2007
i take 16c history for a-level and half the course is on spain, i joke with my friend that this book is our bible, i use it for referance in all my essays! it is so detailed and yet so easy to understand. it helps put everything into context.
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on 16 May 2014
Good book , well written , engaging , easy to read .I deeply recommend to someone , who wants to understand this trouble times .
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on 22 January 2004
I hated A Level history before I read this.
This book explains all about the history of Spain and how the Moors settled.
Everything became clear after reading this and also this book should be read if studying Elizabeth I as it all interlinks.
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on 9 September 2013
Very difficult to get into for someone with no history knowledge. Has a very dry style and hard to build up a picture of what is happening.
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