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Empire: How Spain Became a World Power, 1492-1763

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    good but not concise

    I got this for background after reading the Captain Alatriste novels by Perez-Reverte, and it was quite helpful in understanding why Spain had a French king in whose name battles were fought from Flanders to North Africa. however the author needed a better editor to make the book flow without so much repetition.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2005

    A wonderful read.

    This is the way history should be written about and taught. I would give it six stars if the system allowed it. For two weeks, while I was reading Empire, I felt I was living in the 15th and 16th centuries. Whereas in the author¿ previous book, Philip II, where he did not offer as many personal insights in the times, in this one the author sits with you as you read, explaining background, what is going on in other locations on the globe¿and his own critical assessment of the situation. While there are many names of generals, admirals, kings, battles and dates, they do not stop the flow of a great read. A whole, new picture of the era comes across. Instead of a monolithic system, everyone participated in the Empire¿even at time while they were actually at war with Spain. (The dictum of the time: If the mother countries in Europe were at war, this did not affect overseas trading.) And `everyone¿ is the fleets, armies, kings, dukes, shipbuilding facilities, the Dutch and Italian banks, and what was going on in Flanders, China, Portugal, Germany and Italy. A vast, interlocking panorama. The description of various locations and systems and is wonderful: Manila, Peru, the Pacific galleons¿(Mr. Kamen, by the way, has written many books on Spain and lives in Spain.)

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