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Dogs of God: Columbus, the Inquisition, and the Defeat of the Moorsby James Reston
Synopses & Reviews
From historian James Reston, Jr., comes a riveting account of the pivotal events of 1492, a year when towering political ambitions, horrific religious excesses, and a drive toward adventure and conquest changed the world forever.
The Dogs of God chronicles one of the most savage epochs in human history, the years of the Spanish Inquisition. In an effort to consolidate their power on the Iberian peninsula and free themselves from the yoke of the Vatican, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella turned to the priest Tomás de Torquemada, a member of the Dominican order. Torquemada urged an Inquisition that would strengthen the sovereigns authority throughout Spain, particularly in the coming campaign against the Moors of Granada. When Granada fell, tens of thousands of Muslims were given the choice of converting to Christianity or facing death or banishment. Torquemada then turned his ferocity on Spains Jews, forcing upon them the same grim choice. And in the end, more than 120,000 Jews left their homeland.
With rich characterizations of the central players and breathtaking descriptions of the starkly beautiful Iberian peninsula, Dogs of God also portrays a time during which the entanglement of religious and political passions set the stage for the birth of modern Europe. Ferdinand and Isabella, in solidifying their control over the Iberian peninsula, also presaged the creation of the modern state, with its centralized authority and its collective sense of identity.
Restons engrossing narrative brings all of the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition into a terrifyingly brutal focus. And he looks beyond the dark deeds of 1492 as well, capturing the excitement of exploration and the promise of the future that was born in the same year. With an iron grip secured on the political affairs of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella turned their eyes toward the New World and the creation of an empireand toward a young sea captain named Christopher Columbus.
"Veteran journalist and author Reston brings to life three key elements of Spanish history that intertwined in 1492. Columbus takes a back seat to the Inquisition and the defeat of Islamic Granada, but plays a key role in demonstrating their relationship to the rise of empire and the modern state. Reston (Warriors of God; Galileo) has done tremendous research, though the shadows of his mostly older sources tend to show in stereotypes of the treasure-hungry, Machiavellian Ferdinand and the handsome adventurer Columbus charming Isabella. While he reduces the order of Dominicans to their role as inquisitors, he generally does justice to the complexities of his subject, examining the worlds of Christians, Muslims and Jews with sympathy and irony, and incorporating portraits of several lesser-known figures. The Inquisition emerges from political as much as religious circumstances, and the clerics presented run the gamut from saints to careerists, rabble-rousing preachers and prophets. Parallel civil wars in Christian and Muslim Spain and images of mobs on both sides suggest the interplay of popular feeling, government policy and theological debate. Despite minor disappointments in the details, this is a highly entertaining, thoughtful and complex narrative that both introduces and analyzes a greatly misunderstood era. Agent, Joseph Regal. (On sale Oct. 11)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Set against the fury and strife that arose from the cinders of medieval Europe, "Dogs of God" chronicles the Spanish Inquisition, one of the most savage epochs in human history.
About the Author
JAMES RESTON, JR., is the author of twelve previous books, including Warriors of God, The Last Apocalypse, and Galileo: A Life. He has written articles for The New Yorker, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Time, Rolling Stone, and many other publications; three plays; and the scripts for three Frontline documentaries. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
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