Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
A concise primer for an intriguing city
on 21 August 2007
I have only been to Lisbon once, very briefly, to watch a football match, but this scholarly and readable history makes we want to go back. The author has a real feel for his subject and offers fascinating insights into the higgledy-piggledy city that has grown up around the Tagus estuary over so many centuries. Jack takes the story back to Roman times and beyond and shows how, as with other great European cities, there have been ongoing tensions between locals and outsiders - from Moors to Jews to celebrity visitors like Lord Byron. The section on the devastating earthquake of 1755 is particularly good.
I like the way the author meanders. He offers succinct portraits of major figures in Lisbon, like King Manuel I and the Marquis of Pombal, but also wanders off into topics like bullfighting, literary cafes and art deco cinemas. A lot of ground is covered quickly.