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Footprints in Spain Hardcover – 20 Oct 2016
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Praise for Courtauld's previous books: 'Simon Courtauld is both an acute observer and an accomplished writer. This book entertains and instructs.' --Spectator
'Every page offers some surprising, often informative, anecdote or digressive titbit...' --Times Literary Supplement
About the Author
Simon Courtauld is the author of seven previous books including To Convey Intelligence (Profile Books) and Border Life (Elliott & Thompson). As well as spending many years travelling Spain he has been legal correspondent to the Times, deputy editor of the Spectator and a regular contributor to the Telegraph. He lives in Devizes, Wiltshire.
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The author clearly knows his Spain. He is very knowledgeable about Spanish art, and food, he loves crabs. Courtauld also bravely examines the history of bullfighting. He is noticeably understanding of the dangers matadors face as well as showing sympathy for the bulls. To enter the field of animal rights today is to enter a minefield.
Who you ask was Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell? He was the retired secretary of the British Zoological Society. His favourite attire was a white suit with a flower in the buttonhole. He was in Malaga at the same time as Orwell was in Barcelona. When anarchists seized Malaga at the beginning of the Civil War, Mitchell refused to leave even when Franco's soldiers attacked the city. He kept a set of suicide implements just in case. He gave Koestler a set as well.
The people mentioned here provoke laughter, anger and curiosity in turn. For example, the future King Charles 1 visited Spain in disguise in order to search for a Spanish royal bride,. Byron praised the women of Cadiz for their amorous nature.. Well he would, wouldn't he. Each in their own way had a lasting influence on Spain or for the person concerned.
The organisation of the book is chronological and by city. Courrtauld has tackled a very difficult subject but the outcome is very enjoyable and rewarding.