Wednesday, December 7

Ten recommended history and memoir books for this Christmas 2021

Interesting new looks at different times in history rub shoulders with novelties with memoirs and biographies of artists and writers.


‘Spain. History of all of us from the Neolithic to the coronavirus

Gonzalo Pontón. Past present. € 35

Monumental work of analysis and criticism of the veteran and renowned editor Gonzalo Pontón, who covers the entire history of Spain not from the point of view of leaders and powerful but of the popular and working classes, that is, the bulk of the population. In his lucid journey he dismantles myths, lies and breaks stereotypes.

‘Operation punishment’

Max Hastings. Crítica. 23,90 €

In 1943, Squad X fulfilled its secret mission: to break the Ruhr dams and thus flood the crops and paralyze the industry of the German valley. After interviewing various protagonists, the renowned British historian investigates both the military operation and the 1,400 civilians who died in it, more than half, French prisoners and Russian and Polish forced laborers.

‘Architects of terror’

Paul Preston. Debate / Base. 25,90 €

With the subtitle of ‘Franco and the Artificers of Hate’ and through little biographies Among the main Spanish anti-Semites and anti-Masons, the British Hispanist dismantles in his new work the falsehoods, ‘fake news avant la lettre’, which they propagated justifying the coup d’état and the previous maneuvers against the Republic that led to the Civil War, alleging that the enemy was the Judeo-Masonic and Bolshevik conspiracy.

‘Twelve Caesars’

Mary Beard. Criticism. €28.90

The renowned British author, Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences, returns in a beautiful volume of numerous illustrations with an unusual look at the classical world. See Nero playing the harp as Rome burns and the cruel Caligula as Beard discusses how art for 2,000 years has portrayed the rich, famous and powerful of the West with the image of the ruthless and immoral emperors of Ancient Rome.

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‘Life and legend of Sultan Saladin’

Jonathan Phillips. Attic of books. € 34.90

For lovers of the time of the Crusades, this illuminating biography of one of its protagonists, Sultan Saladin, who in 1187 entered Jerusalem in triumph after defeating the Christians and ended up expelling the Crusaders. The British historian discovers the generosity, compassion and justice with which this skilled diplomat and fierce warrior behaved.

Biographies and memoirs

‘Far from Egypt’

Andrew Sobren. Asteroid. €21.80

The author of ‘Call by your name’ He made his debut in the narrative with these childhood memories, which he lived with his cosmopolitan family in the Jewish community of Alexandria. Aciman’s portrait captures the mysterious exoticism of the city bathed in humor that Woody Allen would not disdain.

‘Pending accounts’ / Comptes pendents’

Vivian Gornick. Sixth floor / The other. € 18.90

This book should not be confused with a set of literary reviews. The New York writer returns to make a revealing portrait of herself through the readings that marked her in her youth –Colette, Ginzburg, Duras– and which he now critically re-read to understand himself better.

‘The nomadic impulse’

Jordi Esteva. Gutenbeg Galaxy. € 22.50

Writer, photographer, cultural agitator and above all traveler, Esteva makes use of these memories openly – there is the discovery of his homosexuality and the uncomplexed chronicle of ‘underground‘from Barcelona from the 70s – to analyze his vocation in perpetual motion.


Stefan Zweig.

Cliff. € 80.75

In this case with two volumes, all the biographical works of the Austrian author are collected, in which his psychological ability is especially appreciated in the face of the verification of historical data. Erasmus, Magellan, Marie Stuart, Marie Antoinette, Fouche -Possibly his best work- and Balzac are some of its objectives.

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‘Joan Miró under the Franco regime’.

Josep Massot. Gutenberg Galaxy. € 25

In 1940, fleeing from occupied France, Miró and his family took refuge in Mallorca, after verifying that the Franco regime has no specific charges against him. This internal exile will suppose for the painter an international neglect that little by little will be undone with the help of the greatest North American artists of the time.

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