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Barcelona (Panther) Paperback – 25 Jan 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (25 Jan. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860468241
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860468247
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Under Franco's regime, it was declared as gospel truth that Madrid and Old Castile were the spiritual and cultural heartland of Spain, and peripheral cities and cultures of the Iberian peninsula must bow to that truth. Barcelona, however--la gran encisera, "the great enchantress"--always saw things rather differently. The earliest area of Spain to be colonised by the Romans, the capital of Catalonia is fiercely independent, somehow Spanish and not-Spanish, and most mysteriously of all, has been at the forefront of modernity, especially modern art and architecture, ahead of any other European city you could name with the possible exception of Paris. It is this Barcelona that fascinates Robert Hughes most, and he in turn fascinates us with his enthusiasm and knowledge of the place. He thrillingly evokes the cosmopolitanism and openness of Barcelona--qualities, he says, that derive inevitably from its status as a great Mediterranean port. And he is brilliant on perhaps the most exciting modern architect of all, Antoni Gaudi, the creator of the (still unfinished) Church of La Sagrada Familia, now as much an icon of the city as the Opera House in Sydney or the Statue of Liberty in New York. -- Christopher Hart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Nobody has ever represented [Barcelona's] character more powerfully, or illustrated its claims to self-destiny more persuasively, than has Robert Hughes in this monumental work" (Jan Morris Los Angeles Times)

"Whether untangling the unlikely legends of Wilfred the Hairy or tangling with the likes of Antoni Gaudi, Hughes has shaped Catalan art, architecture and politics into the ultimate guidebooks" (David Newnham Guardian)

"A wonderful book, by far the best yet to have appeared in the current flood of books on Spain - and one that fills a genuine gap" (Martin Gayford Sunday Telegraph)

"Barcelona is unlikely to be rewarded with a better history than this. Robert Hughes is a master of the big canvas, scooping up the detail of social, economic, political and artistic life and producing images of captivating richness" (Sunday Times)

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This lengthy volume details the history of Barcelona from its Roman beginnings right through to the start of the Spanish civil war. Hughes' attention to detail and thorough research makes this the definitive book about Barcelona and an essential must-read for those with an interest in the city. As someone who has lived in Barcelona for a year, I read this hoping to learn more about my home city. I was not disappointed, and felt like this book thoroughly covered all aspects of Barcelona's immense and fascinating history. However, I felt the book could have been shorter and was probably too long and intense for a casual tourist. Occasionally there is information overload, with Hughes citing numerous dates and names that detract from the readability of the book. His style can also often be fairly dry and sometimes the reading was heavy going. Unfortunately, Hughes does not cover Barcelona during the civil war and Franco's regime, a period which greatly defined the city as Barcelona was the last remaining stronghold to Franco's advancing army. This book was also published before the 1992 Olympic games had taken place. While mentioning the preparations that were going on before the city hosted the games, unfortunately, there is only a sketchy description in the first chapter of how this might affect the city and changes that were being made. There is scant mention of modern day Barcelona, a shame as so much has happened in the last 10 years, particularly during the aftermath of the games, which completely changed the character of Barcelona once again. I would thoroughly recommend this book to someone with a great interest in the city or for someone who will spend a lengthy amount of time here, as you will learn many small details and interesting titbits which you won't find in the guidebooks.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
i have been living in Barcelona for over 5 years. This has been my guide book over the city. If you would like to know about the city, its history, culture, monuments and life styles, this is a must read book. You will be drawn to the city by Robert Hughes.
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Format: Paperback
Going Native in Catalonia [Catalunya]

There is no way I can possibly be objective about this book - in many ways, it was the inspiration for a ten-year journey that led to the publication of my own 'Going Native in Catalonia' and Robert Hughes' anarchic telling of the story of Barcelona and the Catalans still makes me chuckle with pleasure every time I pick it up again.

The book opens with Barcelona 1992, the Olympic City - Paradise Regained? But even in that first chapter Hughes shows his love and knowledge of The Great Enchantress and is already poking holes in the image of perfection that Barcelona loves to portray (and its eager visitors love to lap up).

He then takes us from the Romans through the dynasty of the Counts of Barcelona, the loss of autonomy to Castile, the rise of Catalan culture from the ashes and right up to the present day. He leads us on wild excursions, historical rambles and architectural visits always with that 'been there, done that' voice that makes him stand out as a true communicator not just 'another' travel writer. This book is absolutely bloomin' brilliant!

However, I have to admit that it's not for everyone. It's long and turgid at times and Robert Hughes tells the story that HE wants to tell. So if you're coming to Barcelona for a weekend break, I suggest you read something a little lighter and more superficial but if you want to understand why Barcelona is the most important city in Europe that's not a capital city, buy this book and spend a good two weeks reading before your visit. The time will be well-invested.

To finish this exuberant review, I'd like to send a personal message to the author - 'Thank you, Robert - if you ever fancy a beer and some tapas in one of the bars down Carrer de la Ciutat, search for me on the Internet and we've got a date.'
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is an essential guide to the history and culture of Barcelona for those interested in the architecture and art of the city, as well as its place in the Spanish economy.

It is a little dense at first - and the names are hard to remember - but for an overview of Barcelona's significance you can't get better than Robert Hughes' direct and straight-forward prose style. You can hear the Aussie accent as you read - and it's all the better for that.

Worth every penny.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everything you could know about the history of Barcelona to 1930 or so and excellent descriptions of its architecture. Could be helped by a map for people unfamiliar with the geography. 20/21st century somewhat lacking (it was written in 1990s)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book some years ago and bought it this time for one of my students who is an amateur student of the history of Barcelona.
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