The Spanish Inquisition: A History / Edition 1by Joseph Perez
Pub. Date: 12/15/2006
Publisher: Yale University Press
This is the story of 350 years of terror. Established by papal bull in 1478, the first task of the Spanish Inquisition was to question Jewish converts to Christianity and to expose and execute those found guilty of reversion. Authorities then turned on Spanish Jews in general, sending 300,000 into exile. Next in line were humanists and Lutherans. No rank was exempt
This is the story of 350 years of terror. Established by papal bull in 1478, the first task of the Spanish Inquisition was to question Jewish converts to Christianity and to expose and execute those found guilty of reversion. Authorities then turned on Spanish Jews in general, sending 300,000 into exile. Next in line were humanists and Lutherans. No rank was exempt. Children informed on their parents, merchants on their rivals, and priests upon their bishops. Those denounced were guilty unless they could prove their innocence. Nearly 32,000 people were publicly burned at the stake; the “fortunate” ones were flogged, fined, or imprisoned.
Joseph Pérez tells the history of the Spanish Inquisition from its medieval beginnings to its nineteenth-century ending. He discovers its origins in fear and jealousy and its longevity in usefulness to the state. He explores the inner workings of its councils, and shows how its officers, inquisitors, and leaders lived and worked. He describes its techniques of interrogation and torture, and shows how it refined displays of punishment as instruments of social control. The author ends his fascinating account by assessing the impact of the Inquisition over three and a half centuries on Spain’s culture, economy, and intellectual life.
- Yale University Press
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- New Edition
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I don't understand why others don't like this book. Maybe only one person has reviewed it so far, and he or she got stuck in the one or two boring chapters on the administration of the Spanish Inquisition. Anyway, it's a good book. As this is a work of academic history rather than one written solely for popular consumption, the one or two boring chapters have to be there. But the research seems solid, and the theses are not outrageous. (Of course, I wouldn't know, not being a specialist in Spanish or European history). But from what I can tell, everything is decent enough.
This book is a loser. It is horribly dry and uninteresting. Even the approach and chronology is very disjointed. The author jumps around in time and place and provides virtually no insight into the events being described. Almost every sentance leaves the reader asking "who are the people being described?", "why did that happen?" "how did we get from the last point to this point?" There are virtually no anecdotes or interesting or colorful descriptions. What Perez has done is a complicated anthology of other people's findings with any hint of color left out. Skip this one.