The Basque History of the World

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Jul 5, 2010 - History - 400 pages
27 Reviews
The Basque History of the World is the illuminating story of an ancient and enigmatic people. Signs of their civilization existed well before the arrival of the Romans in 218 B.C., and though theories abound, no one has ever been able to determine their origins. Their ancient tongue, Euskera, is equally mysterious: It is the oldest living European language, and is related to no other language on Earth.
Yet despite their obscure origins and small numbers (2.4 million people today), the Basques have had a profound impact on Europe and the world for more than 2,000 years. Never seeking more land, they have nonetheless fiercely defended their own against invaders ranging from the Celts and Visigoths to Napoleon and Franco. They have always been a paradoxical blend of inbred tradition and worldly ambition, preserving their indigenous legal code, cuisine, literature-even their own hat and shoe-while at the same time striving immodestly to be leaders in the world. They were pioneers of commercial whaling and cod fishing, were among the first Europeans in the Americas, Africa, and Asia during the age of exploration, and were prosperous capitalists when capitalism was a new idea, later leading the Industrial Revolution in southern Europe. Their influence has been felt in every realm, from religion (the charismatic Ignatius Loyola founded the Jesuits in 1534) to sports and commerce. Today, even while clinging to their ancient tribal identity, they are ready for a borderless world: The unique Basque concept of nationhood has never been more relevant, at a time when Basques are enjoying what may be the most important cultural renaissance in their long existence.
Mark Kurlansky's passion for the Basque people- their heroes and commoners alike-and his exuberant eye for detail shine throughout The Basque History of the World. Like his celebrated book Cod, it blends human stories with economic, political,The Basque History of the World is the illuminating story of an ancient and enigmatic people. Signs of their civilization existed well before the arrival of the Romans in 218 B.C., and though theories abound, no one has ever been able to determine their origins. Their ancient tongue, Euskera, is equally mysterious: It is the oldest living European language, and is related to no other language on Earth.
divYet despite their obscure origins and small numbers (2.4 million people today), the Basques have had a profound impact on Europe and the world for more than 2,000 years. Never seeking more land, they have nonetheless fiercely defended their own against invaders ranging from the Celts and Visigoths to Napoleon and Franco. They have always been a paradoxical blend of inbred tradition and worldly ambition, preserving their indigenous legal code, cuisine, literature-even their own hat and shoe-while at the same time striving immodestly to be leaders in the world. They were pioneers of commercial whaling and cod fishing, were among the first Europeans in the Americas, Africa, and Asia during the age of exploration, and were prosperous capitalists when capitalism was a new idea, later leading the Industrial Revolution in southern Europe. Their influence has been felt in every realm, from religion (the charismatic Ignatius Loyola founded the Jesuits in 1534) to sports and commerce. Today, even while clinging to their ancient tribal identity, they are ready for a borderless world: The unique Basque concept of nationhood has never been more relevant, at a time when Basques are enjoying what may be the most important cultural renaissance in their long existence.div
Mark Kurlansky's passion for the Basque people- their heroes and commoners alike-and his exuberant eye for detail shine throughout The Basque History of the World. Like his celebrated book Cod, it blends human stories with economic, political,
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Ma_Washigeri - LibraryThing

I picked this off the charity shop shelf because it has a great cover. Only realised when I got it home that it's by the author of "Cod" which was one of the earliest (and best) of the books that ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kidzdoc - LibraryThing

The Basque Country, also known as Euskal Herria, consists of the four provinces of the Basque Autonomous Community (Euskadi) in northern Spain (Vizcaya, Guipúzcoa, Alava and Navarra) and three ... Read full review

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Contents

Part
11
The Basque Myth
18
Part
127
The Basque Beret
134
Part Three
257
The Death of a Basque Pig
352
The Basque Thank You
360
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Mark Kurlansky began his career as a foreign correspondent writing about the last years of Francoism in Spain, especially in the Basque provinces, and he has returned there annually for the past twenty-five years. He is the author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, which won the James Beard Award for Excellence in Food Writing, and also of A Continent of Islands: Searching for the Caribbean Destiny, and A Chosen Few: The Resurrection of European Jewry. He lives in New York City.

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