The Basque History of the World

I finished Mark Kurlansky’s The Basque History of the World yesterday and thought I should at least comment on it. I enjoyed the book, even though it took me some time to read it. I seem to have started about 5 books at once, so I had to eventually decide to just finish them in order. Anyway, the book was a nice but brief history of the Basques. I knew very little about them other than what I have read in the paper. Apparently (though I am not surprised), what the Europeans and Americans write about in the papers is mostly biased. They are not the ‘terrorist’ group that we hear about. At least it is not that simple. Kurlansky writes well and clearly likes the subject. He has a tendency to meander so that you forget what the original point was he was trying to make. It would also have been helpful to include a short time line and a short glossary of Euskadi terms that he uses frequently. I liked that he included some of the traditional recipes in several chapters and he seemed to get a good feel for the culture. The Basques now seem like a distinct and intriguing ethnic group to me, whereas before I just lumped them in with the Spanish. But I imagine that is part of the Basque problem. They have a very nice website full of information on the Basque country and culture. I feel a newfound respect for their culture. After all, if it were not for the Basque, we would not have espadrilles.

1 thought on “The Basque History of the World

  1. Dan Wickett

    If you haven’t yet, you should look into Kurlansky’s Cod, it is an incredible look at the history of that particular fish. Much more interesting than I would have expected – if I didn’t trust the recommender, I never would have picked it up.


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