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4.4 out of 5 stars26
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 21 July 2014
A bit rambling, a very personal view. Reads more like an essay and jumps around in time. Not exactly what I was after , not exactly a history.
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on 22 April 2013
I read this book recently while in Lisbon and found it fascinating. There are plenty of straightforward 'histories' available, and several that concentrate on specific events, periods or characters, but though excellent in their way they don't give the visitor any real insight into the national psyche. Barry Hatton certainly does, and though many of his opinions are subjective they ring very true in my experience over numerous visits during the past 15 years or so.

The author moved to Portugal in the mid 1980s, the decade after the 1974 Revolution, and is particularly strong on both the Revolution and its aftermath. As a foreigner - albeit with a Portuguese wife (and in-laws) and locally-educated children, not to mention a fluent command of Portuguese - he may actually be better placed to examine this pivotal event from all angles than a native Lisboeta.

I frequently found myself nodding my head in agreement - at his wry observation that so many normally calm and polite Portuguese suffer a character change as soon as they get behind the wheel of a car, for instance, not to mention regarding their amazing, free range, parking habits!

As one still struggling to get to grips with the language I feel Barry Hatton's insights have really helped me understand the Portuguese, one important aspect of which is not to inadvertently give offence ... do I kiss on one cheek, two, or perhaps three?!

Highly recommended.
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on 13 May 2013
Many treatises have been written about Portugal but none to my way of thinking as cogente and broadly based as this. The reader treated to a gripping story weaving through the history, culture, modern developments and key personalities with their achievements. There is also a version in Portuguese but I think not as good as this. I strongly recommend this as an excelente introduction in to what Portugal is all about, mainly because the author's opinions are cradible to the point and well observed, unlike some other books on the same subject.
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on 4 June 2015
Fascinating read and entertaining enough to keep a non-historian engaged
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on 7 September 2013
Illuminates an oft and unjustly overlooked corner of Europe. Enjoyed finding out about the lads parking up on the motorway hard shoulder to get to the football. A portrait of a nation well placed to face what may yet prove to be a very turbulent future.
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on 30 November 2013
Easy to read ancient and modern history of Portugal. Very well written by an english journalist who has lived in Lisbon for 20 years and has a Portuguese wife and family......... with plenty of personal stories and anecdotes.
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on 14 May 2016
Interesting read.
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on 5 March 2011
I am a Portuguese Citizen and I must say this: Barry Hatton book about my Country is a great effort!

If you want to gain some solid knowledge on Portuguese History, Culture, Traditions and Modernity , then... just buy this book!

You will not be sorry, I can guarantee you!
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on 26 November 2013
Being a Portuguese national, I was extremely curious to see what the author had to say about Portugal.
Nothing better than someone's opinion watched from the outside.
I feel that the author was spot on about the description of the Portuguese as a whole and investigated the subjects covered deeply to provide historical context to the stories.

If you plan to visit Portugal, this is a must read to understand and to see what to expect.
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on 20 October 2013
Excellent book, informative and provides an essential background to Portuguese life and culture. Possibly a good guide for anyone seeking to live in this country.
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