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'This will certainly become the standard book on Barcelona - a superb achievement and a great pleasure to read' Colm Toibin

About the Author

Robert Hughes, art critic of Time magazine and twice winner of the American College Art Association's F. J. Mather Award for distinguished criticism, is author of The Shock of the New, and of Heaven and Hell in Western Art. He is also author of the acclaimed Nothing if Not Critical, a work on Frank Auerbach; Barcelona, and Culture of Complaint, essays on the fraying of America. Robert Hughes died in August 2012.


YA-- The throbbing beat of flamenco guitars and the clicking of castanets resound as readers peruse the pages of this epic history. Founded as an encampment by Roman invaders around 210 B.C. , Barcelona passed through centuries of strife until it reached its ``Golden Age'' between the years 1850 and 1925; it is on this era that Hughes focuses. Aficianados of his descriptive, colorful prose style from such bestsellers as The Fatal Shore (Random, 1988) and The Shock of the New (McGraw, 1981) will not be disappointed with this work, and students of architecture will be especially pleased with the author's detailed comparisons of the city's varied structural styles. A must book for students of modern Spanish or European history and culture.-- Richard Lisker, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Hughes's historical-cultural treatise on the Catalonian capital sparkles on the topic of architecture. Photos. (Mar.)

The acclaimed author of The Fatal Shore ( LJ 11/1/86) and The Shock of the New ( LJ 2/15/81) brings to life that ``great enchantress'' of the Mediterranean with the same panache and elegant prose readers have come to expect. Barcelona's literature, painting, complex politics, vivid personalities, and cunning entrepreneurship through 1500 years are ingeniously interwoven. The result is a brilliant tapestry keyed to the city's architecture from its medieval Gothic splendors to Antoni Gaudi's dominating ``delayed baroque'' style and the present transformation associated with the forthcoming Olympic Games. Hughes's lengthy and thoroughly researched narrative lucidly delineates those historical factors generating the intense cultural nationalism of Spain's Catalonia and its great metropolis. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. History Book Club and Quality Paperback alternates; previewed in Pre pub Alert, LJ 10/1/91.-- William F. Young, SUNY at Albany Lib.

Nobody has ever represented [Barcelona's] character more powerfully, or illustrated its claims to self-destiny more persuasively, than has Robert Hughes in this monumental work -- Jan Morris * Los Angeles Times *
Whether untangling the unlikely legends of Wilfred the Hairy or tangling with the likes of Antoni Gaudi, Hughes has shaped Catalan art, architecture and politics into the ultimate guidebooks -- David Newnham * Guardian *
A wonderful book, by far the best yet to have appeared in the current flood of books on Spain - and one that fills a genuine gap -- Martin Gayford * Sunday Telegraph *
Barcelona is unlikely to be rewarded with a better history than this. Robert Hughes is a master of the big canvas, scooping up the detail of social, economic, political and artistic life and producing images of captivating richness * Sunday Times *

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