Inhabiting the small corner where France meets Spain, the Basque speak their own language, Euskera. Evidence of their culture showed up as early as 218 BC, and now, with a population of 2.4 million, their influence on our world has been all-pervasive. Listeners will be enthralled as Kurlansky delves into the roots of an intriguing population, and shows us why they continue.
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©1999 Mark Kurlansky; (P)2002 New Millennium Audio, All Rights Reserved
"Entertaining and instructive...[Kurlansky] intersperses his political and military chronicle with lively anecdotes and digressions." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A delectable portrait of an uncanny, indomitable nation." (Newsday)
The great sociological heartbreakers of recent times include the betrayals of the American Indians during the entire 19th century and the betrayal of the Kurds and Armenians and the Kosavars in the Treaty of Paris after WW I led to the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. Interestingly, the future of Basque nation was also an issue brought to the Great Four at the time of Versailles; it was handled as superficially as were the various nation within the former Ottoman Empire. This book details the long series of agonizing disappointments the Basque people have endured, but even more importantly it describes the heights to which the Basques rose during their long history. These are generally unknown to Americans and I suspect to most Europeans too, both among the neighbors of the Basques and among those who live at greater distances. A "page turner" you'll listen to without being able to wait for the next installment you'll have time to hear. First class writing; first class narrating.
I write my reviews under my wife Karen's account. Retired USN Russian linguist/analyst; actor; director; producer. Biography & History focus
Most peoples of the world have struggled to overcome geography, politics, cultural invasion, etc. and most have lost the vitality of their roots. Mark Kurlansky provides a compelling and well researched and reasoned description of the Basques and their extraordinary culture and history. Highly recommended.
First it did hit me that the title was: The BASQUE History of the World... and not A History of the Basque. Perfectly named because you will end up seeing things from a Basque viewpoint..and that is very hard for just anyone to write without getting inside the culture itself.
This was a masterwork.
So I guess I wasn't surprised when I realize who the author was and that I have enjoyed every one of his books.
I will never delete this work from my reading library.
Enjoyable reading, great reference - and not a bad bit of ethnic cooking - as a person of Italian descent - food TELLS volumes about a people.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was very informative and an entertaining listen; whilst not caring for the recipes they were few. previously I was completely ignorant concerning Basque history and culture; which is probably the case for most Europeans. One of the oldest surving European cultures, but very much alive. I very much liked the telling of so much world history from another perspective. I am inspired to visit the region now.
Mark Kurlansky is a fantastic author, and his books have been gateways to understanding for me. This book is no exception. It is an excellent history of an enduring people.
It is an interesting story, at times. I thought it would be a more scholarly work. My mistake. I should have investigated it more before purchasing. Some of my ancestors were Basque so I was looking forward to a detailed history of the people. Mostly what I got from the book is there is little known about origins of the Basque or their language. The work improves when it turns to the Spanish Civil War and the Marcos era. The description of Guernica was chilling.
Seek out more scholarly works on the Basque.
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