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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
12

on 12 April 2012
If you are in any way interested/fascinated by the world of bullfighting this book is essential reading.

Every act in the drama is covered and photographed. I learnt so much (and I thought I knew a lot!)

This title should be on the bookshelf of every afficionado

100% recommended
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on 17 January 2014
I like this book its a real Bullfighting for Dummies type book it explains all of the stages clearly without any frills i only gave it 4 stars because i wish that the author would have told us who the Matadors were in the illustrations it would have been a big help!!
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on 13 February 2016
Excellent!
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on 16 April 2011
There is nothing in this book for readers who have already made up their minds that they don't like bullfighting; but for those with an open mind, who know little or nothing and want to learn more, this is the way to go. Even aficionados who think they know a bit and want to expand their knowledge will find much to entertain and inform them here. Tristan Wood has achieved the almost impossible by laying out in simple terms what is a very complex subject, in language that we can all understand, illustrated with rich, vivid colour photographs which show that there is more to this business than meets the eye.

Wood talks us through the traditional structure of the corrida, tells us what to look out for, and why. He points out how to recognize the good and bad qualities of the men (and sometimes women), the bulls, and the horses. They all play their parts in what must be the world's most misunderstood public spectacle. There may be remaining questions about bullfighting which are not covered in this book, but I can't think of any.

The jargon of funny Spanish words is explained in a comprehensive glossary, as well as the objectives of the matador and other toreros at all stages of the proceedings. For those whose interest lies more in the bulls than the men, there is a section which deals with the different bloodlines of the toro bravo, their physical characteristics, and the behaviour to be expected from them when seen in the ring. There are even answers to the nuts-and-bolts stuff about what's on where, how to get tickets (not always easy, apparently), and where best to sit in a circular arena where all seats look alike.

If you've read this far, the chances are that you are probably interested in finding out more, and this is the place to do it. This expertly presented book is just for you.
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on 16 April 2011
It's amazing given bullfighting's popularity that no one has attempted this type of book before. I suspect the reason is that it is a complicated subject and authors are often tempted to use history to explain its roots and consequently get bogged down in irrelevant detail. Wood achieves something rare - he simplifies a complicated subject and avoids all superfluous detail. The result is a real guide that will help the inquisitive, the first time spectator and the experienced afficionado. There are few books written in English on the subject and they are usually autobiographies or deeply dull technical books written for insomniacs.

I have already recommended this book to a number of friends who have previously expressed an interest in the subject and they have loved it.

Doubtless in a short time there will be negative comments on this site about the subject. However, if they have read the book and then come to an informed decision the book will have achieved its purpose.
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on 15 April 2011
A lot has been written about bullfighting, but not very much in English - and this seems to me the most sensible and useful of the lot. This guide takes the reader step by step through all stages of the bullfight, explaining what is going on in the arena and giving tips on what to look out for, the various passes the matador makes and how to judge a good bull and a good matador, as well as giving a real sense of the atmosphere. It also offers information that will help tourists or first-time attendees, such as where to get tickets and what various crowd responses mean. Unusually, it includes bullet points - which makes it very easy to understand - and plenty of photos. This guide manages to be hugely informative without being over-didactic or complicated. Highly recommended.
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on 22 April 2011
This,quite simply,is a great book which fills a gap in the market. It is clearly written with superb photos, explaining the relevance of the corrida to today's world, the role of all the participants, what they do and why, what to look for, how to get tickets, where to go and more. For the novice aficionado as well as the experienced one this is a must have book. Hopefully it will also open this seemingly simple, but in fact complex, world to many newcomers. Both the author and the publishers have done a brillant job.
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on 26 April 2011
As a comparative newcomer to the bullring I have been very frustrated in trying to find a book to explain clearly what to look for and what is going on. The experts I have sat with have either been too absorbed with what they are watching or dont know as much as they pretend. Now, thanks to Mr Wood and his publishers, my problems are over and both my enjoyment and my understanding of the corrida will take a big step up. I cant wait for my next visit to Spain.
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on 17 March 2011
At long last a really informative book on bullfighting in the English language. Tristan Wood covers every area of the subject in illuminating detail, and with lots of excellent colour illustrations. Whether you're an experienced afficianado, or a novice on holiday seeing your first bullfight, this book is a must to help guide you through the pageantry, artistry and dangers of this intriguing spectacle of man against bull.

This is a brave book, published at a time when the self-appointed thought police rail against any who are of a different view, Tristan Wood (and his publishers) has stuck his neck out, and done so in an exceptionally erudite manner, to explain and to inform the Englsih speaking world about a mystical Latin endeavour. His narrative tells how Bullfighting has captivated millions through Centuries, and continues to evolve, giving pleasure and inspiration, not just in France and Spain, but in Central and Southern America. He carefully sets out in Encyclopaedic detail every facet of the bullfight, from breeding to the kill, and shows the reader how best to understand the action, and to evaluate the skill and bravery. With this book as their guide any reader will now be able to glean so much more from every corrida.
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on 17 March 2011
How many years of attendance at Seville's Feria de Abril does it take before you can consider yourself an aficionado of the Spanish corrida? I suggest quite some few especially if you are an Englishman without much fluency in the Spanish language. Tristan Wood's new book is a no-nonsense guide designed to help the novice to the spectacle to understand and appreciate what is going on, thus speeding up the aficion process. And if you are completely new to the bullfight, this guide is indispensable.

His book ranges over topics as diverse as: where to sit; when and where to find the performance of bullfights; the different stages of the performance (it is essentially as spectacle in three Acts); the technical terms to describe different passes with the cape and the muleta; the breeding and early life of the bulls; the characteristics of different breeds; the training of matadors; the behaviour of the crowd; and so on. The text is accompanied by a series of excellent photographs.

Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the bullfight inspired writers, poets, artists and musicians. Yet anyone who goes to watch the spectacle for the first time will be shocked by its uncompromising directness. It may perhaps be compared to a tapestry, woven with features of darkness, danger, violence and blood, but which displays exquisite strands of colour, finesse, harmony and light. This preoccupation with extremes is of course ultra-Catholic, and ultra-Spanish (perhaps unsurprisingly bullfighting has a passionate following in the South of France, Mexico and South America).

Not all corridas, mind you, are exquisite; some can be deeply disappointing, an object wrapped in the most glittering packaging but offering only banality. In some bullfights the unexpected will occur and these are the ones which usually attract the attention of the English press. At one arena last year a bull hurdled the double barrier and ran amok among the spectators. If it had been England, health-and-safety officials would have rushed to close the place down. As Mr Wood explains, injuries to the matador occur on a fairly regular basis with a matador often suffering two or three injuries in a busy season. If you are someone who is easily shocked, then you will need to prepare yourself before venturing into this dangerous domain.

Mr Wood includes some explanation of crowd behaviour but it also needs to be remembered that the corrida is often part of the festivities marking a religious holiday. There is usually much cameraderie among the spectators, especially in the more provincial arenas. Don't be surprised if you are urged to share your neighbour's picnic, so make sure your Spanish smalltalk is up to speed!
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