WSJ critically reviews Payne’s history of Spain

January 10, 2011

David Pryce-Jones, writing in the Wall Street Journal, does not find much to praise in Stanley Payne’s new Spain: A Unique History:

It is far from obvious why Mr. Payne leaves out much that is familiar and that would have served either to reinforce or to refute stereotypes. … The Jewish community in the Spanish Middle Ages produced gifted and influential men, only one of whom is named in “Spain: A Unique History,” and then only in passing. No mention either of the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, surely a contribution to the Black Legend. No mention of the Aztecs or the Incas and hardly anything about the Spanish Empire or its rulers, even so great an emperor as Charles V (1500-58). As for Romantic Spain, Velázquez and El Greco are ignored; and Cervantes and Goya, two geniuses central to Spanish identity, each have to make do with a fleeting subclause.

More here.