ConversesWorld History

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jul. 3, 2007, 6:45pm

Has anyone read Basque History of the world? Curious to hear thoughts on this one. I've got it in my Audible queue now, and will let you know what I think when I get to it.

jul. 3, 2007, 7:03pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

jul. 4, 2007, 3:20am

I would totally agree with EncompassedRunner's assessment. One additional thing that I loved about the book is that Kurlansky brought up how prominent Basques throughout history & their accomplishments have been made "Spanish," which denies the role of the Basques in shaping both Spain and the world. I also had no background in the area and actually only a tangential interest in the book (bought it because it was super cheap and I'd read a little about the Basque language), but I found it extremely engrossing.

One thing that is kind of funny about Kurlansky is that in A Basque History of the World he talks about salt cod - and then two of his other books are Salt and Cod. I don't know what order he wrote them in, but I thought that was kind of neat. I wonder if he learned about salt cod while researching the Basque book and then decided that there was so much interesting information that he needed to write two more books. I couldn't get into Salt and haven't tried Cod.

jul. 12, 2007, 9:14pm

Thanks! I've started it and am about 4hrs into the audiobook. It really is an interesting group - I'm coming at this topic with zero background, so it's all news to me. Fannyprice, that's definitely a good point about the underplayed role of Basques in various endeavors - I found their role in the founding of Jesuits as well as explorers with Magellan, Columbus, etc, and as whalers in the North Atlantic fascinating.

I haven't yet read either Salt or Cod, but I plan to - I have the latter in hardcopy, and its on my list. The one that I have read is The Big Oyster and Mark Kurlansky included recipes from 19th century New York City etc. in that book as well. Recipes are an interesting thing to listen to over audiobook; inevitably, they make me hungrier than when I read them in print. There were some really good ones in animal, vegetable, miracle, which I just finished previous to Basque history. The lack of measurements and inclusion qualitative description (e.g. "a beautiful" fish), as well as the laborious nature of many of the included Basque recipes immediately struck me as quite different from recipes in cookbooks I own and use - these all list how much of each ingredient, with unambiguous descriptions, if any.

ag. 6, 2007, 2:50pm

I just finished Salt: A World History and as a result found Basque History of the World on Bookmooch. The first caused me to look at the old salt boxes a little more carefully. Hopefully Basque will be arriving soon and I'll report back.

ag. 8, 2007, 3:31pm

Excellent. I just started Salt: a world History and like it. I definitely see the connections between his various books. Apparently, he was still living in Spain, researching or writing on the Basques when he started writing Salt, or came up with the idea or something. And he really does mention salting cod quite a lot already. I wonder what he's working on now and what events prompted him to start that.

Simon Winchester's work is also like that as well - his works Krakatoa: the day the world exploded, and A crack in the edge of the world are closely related, both dealing in part to plate tectonics and the story of geology... as I imagine they are to The map that changed the world, which he wrote before either of the other two and which I will start shortly...once I've finished with Salt.

ag. 8, 2007, 3:35pm

The Basque History of the World speedily arrived yesterday. Even though it was in good condition it absolutely REEKS of cigarettes. It's currently wrapped in dryer sheets and sitting near the fireplace, so it may be a while before I can stand to read it.

ag. 8, 2007, 7:01pm

Ewww, gross. I'm so sorry about that!

ag. 24, 2007, 2:03pm

Are there any other good books on the Basques out there, aside from Mark Kurlansky's?

des. 11, 2007, 9:23pm

Was it Kurlansky, maybe in Cod, who alluded to John Cabot finding dozens of Basque cod fishermen off New foundland when John first passed by?
Any Basqueophiles out there who have views on Basque presence in the New World pre-Columbus? If there were anything for sources, Kurlansky and others would have mentioned it; certainly not SE Morison, though.

des. 12, 2007, 2:30pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

ag. 5, 2008, 7:16pm

>9 GoofyOcean110: Given the search results for "Basque" here at LibraryThing, I would say that the answer if no (excepting, of course, the possibility of an excellent, but relatively, rare academic work).