Suggested Reading List
A Traveller's History of Portugal
Author: Ian Robertson
Description: A lively, admirably concise survey from prehistory to the present, great for travelers to Portugal who would like an overview of the country's history and culture.
Absolute Monarchs, A History of the Papacy
Author: John J Norwich
Description: A natural storyteller matched with a brilliant subject, Norwich chronicles with obvious delight the politics, personalities and power across two millennia of ecclesiastical history in this riveting history.
Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture, and History
Author: Ada Gabucci (Editor)
Description: This lively, illustrated survey of Ancient Rome's monuments, history and art is a terrific introduction.
Driving over Lemons, An Optimist in Andalucia
Author: Chris Stewart
Description: Stewart's memoir about moving with his wife to a farm in Alpujarras is charming and insightful. Unlike many expatriates, Stewart manages to ground himself far enough into the community to make lasting friends -- as well as a home for his young daughter.
Empires of the Sea
Author: Roger Crowley
Description: Crowley vividly reconstructs the epic clash between the Ottoman Empire and Christendom for the control of the Mediterranean -- and the soul of 16th-century Europe -- in this thrilling account of dramatic battles and brutality, rival faiths and larger-than-life personalities.
Eyewitness Guide Portugal
Author: Eyewitness Guides
Description: Featuring hundreds of photographs and drawings, an excellent overview of the culture and history, and good information about where to go and what to do.
Fodor's London's 25 Best
Author: Louise Nicholson
Description: This slim guide to London (with handy full-color maps) has everything you need to know for a short visit to the city, including recommended sightseeing, restaurants, hotels and shops.
Author: Dorothy Carrington
Description: Carrington's indelible account of the history and people, myths and magic of rugged Corsica.
Inside the Vatican
Author: Bart McDowell, Jim Stanfield (Photographer)
Description: This selection of stunning, behind-the-scenes color photographs of the Vatican includes text describing the city-state's history and some background on the modern popes.
Islam, A Short History
Author: Karen Armstrong
Description: Armstrong brings authority and experience to this vivid, clear-headed survey of the history and impact of Islam from the birth of Muhammad to present-day challenges. The best short introduction to the subject.
Italy in Mind
Author: Alice Powers
Description: A terrific collection of some of the best literary writing on Italy, including pieces by Melville, Lawrence, Henry James, Mary McCarthy and many others.
Journey to Portugal, In Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture
Author: Jose Saramago
Description: Jose Saramago's richly detailed account of his journey across Portugal in 1979. He combines his vivid impressions of the Portuguese landscape and people with a dose of history, fiction and meditations.
La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
Author: Beppe Severgnini
Description: Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. Severgnini opens the book with a snapshot of the hubbub at Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.
La Bella Lingua
Author: Dianne Hales
Description: Inebriated with the sounds of Italian, lovesick for its phrases and enamored of its earthy idioms, Hales, "a sensible woman of sturdy Polish stock," dives into the Italian of the piazza, literature, movies and streets in this charming memoir.
Author: Tahar Ben Jalloun
Description: Capturing the ambitions of young people everywhere, Ben Jalloun traces the fate of Azel, his sister and other emigrants, who leave Morocco for the promise of a better life in Spain.
Lisbon, War in the Shadows of the City of Light, 1939-1945
Author: Neill Lochery
Description: Lochery's tale of prime minister Antonio de Oliveira Salazar and his efforts to remain neutral during WWI in this gripping tale of exiled royalty, refugees, spies, secret police, bankers, prominent Jews, writers and artists, escaped POWs, black marketers and others who sought refuge in WWI-era Lisbon.
Mediterranean Cruises Map
Author: Freytag & Berndt
Description: A double-sided, full-color map of the Mediterranean, including the Iberian Peninsula and Black Sea, North Africa and the Levant, at a scale of 1:2,000,000.
Mediterranean by Cruise Ship
Author: Anne Vipond
Description: The best-selling, compact guide, featuring excellent local maps, hundreds of color photographs, concise background information and recommended excursions for ports-of-call throughout the Mediterranean.
National Geographic Morocco
Author: Carole French
Description: An abundantly illustrated guide to the country, with essays on history and culture and color maps.
Spain, The Root and the Flower
Author: John A. Crow
Description: Take this book with you to Spain: it's an absorbing, well-written account of Spanish cultural history from prehistory to the Romans, Jews, Moors, Golden Age and on to Franco and his legacy in modern Spain.
The Hare With Amber Eyes
Author: Edmund De Waal
Description: Edmund de Waal unfolds the story of his remarkable family, a grand banking family, as rich and respected as the Rothschilds, who "burned like a comet" in early 20th-century Paris and Vienna.
The Mediterranean in History
Author: David Abulafia (Editor)
Description: A professor at Cambridge, David Abulafia leads a team of eight historians in this engaging, richly illustrated overview of the civilizations, societies and grand themes in the history of this great sea at the heart of Europe. Published in conjunction with the J. Paul Getty Museum, the book features 150 well-integrated color and 150 black-and-white illustrations.
The Smiles of Rome, A Literary Companion for Readers and Travelers
Author: Susan Cahill
Description: A wonderfully inspired anthology featuring excerpts from 29 writers and artists interspersed with practical suggestions for travelers.