The Portuguese:A Modern History Paperback – 30 Jan 2011
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'Hatton clearly loves Portugal and has written an engaging, often delightful history.' --Publishers Weekly
'Barry Hatton has written a lively and rigorous account of how a nation that is so often overlooked has come through disaster, dictatorship, revolution and economic mismanagement. . . The Portuguese is a must-read for first-timers wanting to know more about the country, but it is also a constant delight for those already well-versed in a fascinating nation.' --Iberosphere
About the Author
Barry Hatton has been a foreign correspondent in Lisbon for more than twenty years. He has previously co-authored a biography, in Portuguese, of Portugal's first ever woman prime minister, Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo.
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Top Customer Reviews
The answers are characteristically upbeat as the author explicitly disparages the Portuguese national habit of self-deprecation. His daughter pleaded with him not to portray the Portuguese as labregos, or bumpkins, and he follows her wishes admirably. His chapters on fado, on the eating customs of the Portuguese, and the Portuguese love of idiosyncrasy and individualism, even anarchy, provided this reader with fresh insight. In his quarter of a century in Portugal, Mr Hatton has come to know and to love the Portuguese character, and he conveys his enthusiasm with clarity. He admires their skill at improvisation, their courage, their love of good living. In an interview, he allows some frustrations to emerge such as the Portuguese lack of respect for punctuality, their disorderly parking and their parochialism both geographic and professional.Read more ›
The author writes very entertainingly about Portugal's history, gastronomy, economy and culture, and he manages to find wonderfully apposite quotes and personal accounts to illustrate his points. If I were going on holiday to Portugal, or thinking of re-locating there, this book would be my first choice to get an in-depth understanding before I set out. But it's well worth reading on its own account, just for the quality of writing and entertainment value. Highly recommended!
Minuses: You may be rather disappointed if, based on the book title, you were expecting a History. As the author honestly explains in the Preface, some of the evidence is 'anecdotal' and he hopes 'to provide a view'; he is not claiming he has written a history. This book is a very interesting but personal view. It is fundamentally a subjective account.
Some factual errors and lack of understanding are surprising given that the author has lived in Portugal for many years, is married to a Portuguese and has children who considered themselves Portuguese. E.G. it is stated that the great literary figure of the first half of the 20th century Fernando Pessoa wrote under 3 pseudonyms, when in fact he wrote under at least 9 heteronyms and some say as many as 20. Pseudonyms are false names to hide the identity of an author. Heteronyms are written as if the author was another person. Fernando Pessoa invented very different personages and wrote as if he was that person. Most of the heteronyms were Portuguese but some were British and wrote in English.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent history. Hatton has a great eye for the telling or witty quote and is a fine observer of the Portuguese, as an expat Brit who has married a Portuguese lady and lived... Read morePublished 3 months ago by fact junky
I bought this to read on my holiday to Portugal to get more of an idea about the culture. Would highly recommend it for anyone interested in knowing the country and its people... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Ms. Kathleen Brady
I first visited Portugal in 1980. I stayed on the Algarve for two months. Now I am retired and live on the island of Madeira. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Richard Turner
Fascinating read and entertaining enough to keep a non-historian engagedPublished 14 months ago by Mark Punter
Thoroughly enjoyed this book and I am going to read it again to really take in the history of the country. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Mrs. E. M. Fraser-hitch
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.Published on 21 July 2014 by Amazon Customer
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......... Read morePublished on 30 Nov. 2013 by C A B
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. Read more