At the heart of the Castilian plateau, far from the coastal towns and ports of Spain, sits the great city of Madrid. Perched some 2,200 feet above the distant sea, it is at once the loftiest and also the most enigmatic of Europe's capitals: hard to decipher for the Spanish and for foreigners alike. Its intense character and the abrupt manner and hectic lifestyle of the Madrilenos can make even other Spaniards feel exhausted. Yet, Madrid has a rich historical and cultural life which attracts almost 8 million visitors per year, drawn to its beautiful palaces and churches, the magnificent collections of the Prado and everywhere the echoes of a faded empire. Despite its ancient origins, Madrid feels like a modern, youthful city. But the legacy of Madrid's 'golden age' - the Spanish colonies from the Andes to the Philippines from which the city derived such wealth - remains evident in the extravagant Baroque facades of the old city. Jules Stewart here provides an insider's account of Madrid and unveils the history and culture of one of Europe's most fascinating, but least-understood cities.
Jules Stewart is a journalist, historian and author. He spent twenty years in Madrid working as a journalist, and now lives in London. His books include Albert: A Life (I.B.Tauris, 2011); On Afghanistan's Plains: The Story of Britain's Afghan Wars (I.B.Tauris, 2011); Crimson Snow: Britain's First Disaster in Afghanistan (2008); The Savage Border: The Story of the North-West Frontier (2007); Spying for the Raj: The Pundits and the Mapping of the Himalaya (2006) and The Khyber Rifles: From the British Raj to Al Qaeda (2005).
'...a fascinating insight into how cities are formed, grow and improve. It takes the reader from the founding of a tiny agricultural settlement forty five miles north of Toledo, right up to the indignado movement in Madrid today, explaining how the city got her milestones along the way.'
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co LtdPaperback
Publication Date: 28 Feb 2015
Number of Pages: 288
Illustrations: 22 bw in 16pp plates, 2 maps