We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.co.uk/access.
 >   > 
Spain Audiobook

Spain: The Centre of the World 1519-1682

Regular Price:£27.69
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • £7.99/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

The Golden Age of the Spanish Empire would establish five centuries of Western supremacy across the globe and usher in an era of transatlantic exploration that eventually gave rise to the modern world. It was a time of discovery and adventure, of great political and social change - it was a time when Spain learned to rule the world.

Assembling a spectacular cast of legendary characters like the Duke of Alba, El Greco, Miguel de Cervantes, and Diego Velázquez, Robert Goodwin brings the Spanish Golden Age to life with the vivid clarity and gripping narrative of an epic novel. From scholars and playwrights, to poets and soldiers, Goodwin is in complete command of the history of this tumultuous and exciting period. But the superstars alone will not tell the whole tale - Goodwin delves deep to find previously unrecorded sources and accounts of how Spain's Golden Age would unfold, and ultimately, unravel.

Spain is a sweeping and revealing portrait of Spain at the height of its power and a world at the dawn of the modern age.

©2015 Robert Goodwin (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (41 )
5 star
 (17)
4 star
 (14)
3 star
 (6)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.0 (38 )
5 star
 (15)
4 star
 (12)
3 star
 (7)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Story
3.9 (40 )
5 star
 (13)
4 star
 (16)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Mary 08/07/2015
    Mary 08/07/2015 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    46
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    103
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant intro to a history I knew little about"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Definitely! Robert Goodwin cleverly weaves together descriptions of the main historical characters & landmark events of Spain's Golden Age with wonderful insights into the staggeringly great art and literature of the period.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Miguel de Cervantes who, as well as writing the first modern novel (Don Quixote) was a tax collector, prisoner of the moors, soldier and courtier. He's witty, ironic, brave and evidently not entirely to be trusted.


    Which character – as performed by Jeremy Clyde – was your favourite?

    Robert Goodwin gives a precis of Don Quixote, read delightfully by Jeremy Clyde. (Thank God for a decent narrator.)


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Possibly a bit too long for one session, but it was engaging stuff.


    Any additional comments?

    Now I want to read more about Garcy Lasso and the other poets dicussed in the first part of the book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. Glasgow, United Kingdom 10/09/2015
    Mr. Glasgow, United Kingdom 10/09/2015 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    24
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable, clever, funny - but perplexing."

    This is a perplexing book to review. The author states in the introduction that it will be a less formal history than is perhaps the norm, and in some ways this is the book's great strength. However, its gossipy tone in some sections seems to have drawn the narrator into feeling that an arch voice and delivery is always appropriate, and I'm not sure I agree. For example, I have been left with an image of Garci Lasso de la Vega as a kind of Kenneth Williams clone in Carry on Conquistador, and I'm not sure that does the greatest poet of his age justice. In fairness, the narrator does get on with his task, which is always to be admired, and has a fine, confiding tone. There are lots of terrific stories and vignettes which really help to illuminate the better known historical themes, and these are the book's greatest joys. There's also some fine analysis of broad political and cultural strands in Spanish and European society which would stand examination in much more august company. However, there are also significant longueurs which even the chatty narration can't cover. The discussion of Don Quixote feels as long as the novel itself, and for all but the most devoted literary scholar must be really taxing. Certain passages discussing the specifics of painting and sculpture fall into the same trap. Nonetheless, I'm glad I listened to it, I enjoyed the vast majority of it, and I laughed and learned a great deal from the experience. If I knew the Spanish for curate's egg, I'd quote it here.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clementi 18/07/2015
    Clementi 18/07/2015

    Inveterate romantic and lover of 19th Century (and earlier) European literature with an obsession for Dostoyevsky!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fabulous Book!"
    What did you like best about this story?

    This really is a fabulous book. Quite detailed and may perhaps be a harder listen if you're a casual listener but, speaking personally and as someone who is obsessed with Early Modern English and Scottish history but knows shamefully little about other European countries during this period, I found it riveting and very engagingly written. Informative but not preachy, humorous without the sarcasm of Simon Sharma, never dull and rarely tedious.


    What about Jeremy Clyde’s performance did you like?

    I found him excellent. There may well be odd mispronunciation shut I didn't really notice them. He understands what he is reading and narrates with both intelligence and sense.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Too long for that but it's certainly a book I will listen to more than once.


    Any additional comments?

    Just all round great book!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angeles Martinez Spain 09/07/2015
    Angeles Martinez Spain 09/07/2015 Member Since 2014

    Angelica

    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It is a wonderful book, written with love"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Spain to be better than the print version?

    I don't know since I've only listened to it


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Spain?

    So much but specially all related to Cervantes and his work, the writer's passion for El Quijote shines through


    What about Jeremy Clyde’s performance did you like?

    Everything


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    I think Juliet's comment about the narrator are not fair. So what if some words are mispronounced? If it doesn't worry me who happen to be Spanish it should not be of too much concern for others. What counts is the feeling he puts and how very entertaining he makes listening to it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew 19/07/2015
    Matthew 19/07/2015 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring"
    Would you try another book written by Robert Goodwin or narrated by Jeremy Clyde?

    No. Not based on this one


    What could Robert Goodwin have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Actually write about the history of Spain. This is just and endless list of art and writers and except for their names you wouldn't even know it was about Spain!!!


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Jeremy Clyde?

    Yeah can't blame the narrator for the text he's given


    What character would you cut from Spain?

    None


    Any additional comments?

    Do not waste your time this has to be the worst book I have ever purchased

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Juliet 02/06/2015
    Juliet 02/06/2015 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very interesting book poorly narrated."

    Very interesting book but, oh my goodness, how how is it possible that Audible would sanction such a reading? Almost every Spanish name or word was mispronounced. Excruciating. I kept going because I am fascinated by Spain but no, I cannot recommend this narrator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ben smail 31/05/2015
    ben smail 31/05/2015 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "easy listen a super insight to the spains history"

    loved it! a insight into a very interesting and powerful narrative of the spainish empire.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr Simon W D Borland 24/02/2016 Member Since 2014

    Love audioboooks! On the train, at the gym, walking to the shops, I listen for many hours every week.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "LOVED it. Incredibly well researched and written."

    Beautifully read, this is a wonderfully constructed historical and cultural tour of Spain, and the fortunes Spanish Hapsburg's, spanning about 2 centuries or so.

    I simply loved it.

    The authors fascination shines through, and the wonderful descriptions had me continually googling the things covered in each chapter.

    A cast of true characters fill every chapter: Noble and romantic, some vicious, some calculating; the kind, the clever, the witty and the humorous...

    Showcased are an incredible range of prominent historical figures. Linking decades smoothly together, he delves into their lives in exquisitely revealing glimpses. It covers of art, artists, politics, history, poets, literature, economics, war, monarchy, popes, playwrights, explorers, priests and nuns, conquistadors and jealous kings.

    I purchased it on a whim, because I didn't know anything about Spanish history. I'm so pleased I did! I've googled the people in each chapter, looked at the sculptures and paintings referenced within. pored over ancient maps to follow the story as it unfolds.

    It is a work of immense depth, by an author who can make you feel such empathy with each character in history, the good and the wicked. I found myself compelled to buy Cervantes Don Quixote as a result of the historical context I gained from this audio book!

    The narration is beautifully done also. possibly my favourite purchase on Audible, and I have quite a library built up!

    Five big stars. Thank you to author and narrator!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine 04/11/2015
    Christine 04/11/2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    76
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    343
    72
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hit and miss for me"

    I admit I started to skip sections of this book once the second section began, as I'm not that interested in art, let alone the artists themselves. The first section though was quite interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Dilwyn Gick 25/01/2016 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Idiosyncratic & unbalanced"

    Quite reasonably the author wishes to resent a more nuanced picture than the normal political/military/economic history. I started to listen to it some time ago but abandoned it because of the emphasis on rather obscure (to an English reader) literary characters. I then read a very fulsome review in one of the Sunday papers & decided to try again. The best example of the over emphasis on the history of Spanish literature during the period in question is that the author includes an extremely lengthy (well over an hour) précis of Don Quixote. He had already discussed at length the story of Cervantes himself & the place of the book in the literary history of western Europe. He did not need to add a reprise of a C16 novel which to be honest few outside the literati inner circle would wish to read. The author's view of Cervantes seems to amount to uncritical adulation. He has gone too far in abandoning the conventional linear, chronological structure of a history book. Perhaps a bold idea but flawed in execution. The performance however is admirable including to my ear some difficult Spanish names and terms.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • PennWriter
    Wayne PA
    21/07/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Colorful book but poor performer"
    Would you try another book from Robert Goodwin and/or Jeremy Clyde?

    Depends on the book.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The performer mispronounced many Spanish names, making it obvious that he knows nothing about Spanish history. That only made it harder to follow the complex narrative.


    Any additional comments?

    "Spain" highlights the fundamental limitations of this medium. The narrative was too complex, and too filled with unfamiliar names -- including many that were mangled by the narrator -- to follow in this format. This book looks a lot better in print, and is far more comprehensible. Audible format works well only when there are relatively few characters, and the names are not butchered by the narrator.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • futureHead
    Richmond, VA
    17/09/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Cultural HIstory of Spain"
    Would you listen to Spain again? Why?

    This is a great history of Spain if you are interested in culture and the arts. For someone like me who doesn't have a lot of background knowledge of Spain's Golden Era I could get turned around a bit at times, but it's nothing that Wikipedia and/or re-reading certain sections couldn't help resolve. Names and places can always be confusing in any history book unless you already have a background in it. I enjoyed this book because it was very entertaining, aside from some meandering here and there, and that is something many history books find hard to achieve.


    What does Jeremy Clyde bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I don't usually write reviews, but I thought I would come to the defense of Jeremy Clyde's reading of Spain. His Spanish pronunciation is admittedly not the best but I'm glad I went ahead and got this. I find his tone and reading perfect for the book, particularly the dialog parts.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • William
    Würzburg, Germany
    07/07/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Rosy Glasses"

    Goodwin really likes Spain. I mean, he really, really likes Spain! I know nearly all histories are biased to one degree or another, but this is really very biased. Early in the work we hear of the humanists in North America at length and in comparison to one another, yet he doesn't seem to get into why the need for humanism, or why there were only 3 or 4. The passing view of the conquistadors given this book is far more honorable swashbuckling adventurer than perhaps they deserved. Let's just say Howard Zinn would disagree with the telling, as did I. We get to hear about a handful of people bemoaning the practice of slavery, without Goodwin getting into the fact that the Spanish held the slaves, exterminated whole peoples, etc., all in the studied time period. It really was as if that part didn't happen. Anyway, I don't mind the artistic history, as the art and culture of an era is important, especially so when the culture birthed Cervantes, but the absurd amount of pro-Spain rah-rah-rah in this book makes it a difficult read, in my humble opinion.

    9 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Robin
    26/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An Important Period"

    This is an in-depth examination of 16th and early 16th century Spain. The book covers everything from politics and military history to economics and art and literature. A must "read" for any student of Spanish history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dan Clouse
    Tacoma, WA United States
    06/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Spanish names butchered"
    What made the experience of listening to Spain the most enjoyable?

    Godwin's book is excellent. It's a great summary of Spanish history and culture in its Golden Age.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Cervantes


    What three words best describe Jeremy Clyde’s performance?

    Mispronuniciations Inaccurate Distracting


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Spain When It Ruled the World


    Any additional comments?

    none

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Elizabeth
    Windham, NH, United States
    01/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good introduction"

    Having only heard Spain's history through the prism of wars with England and the Netherlands, and vignettes about Columbus, this was a good walk through almost two centuries of Spanish history.

    Leaves me wanting to know more, and that is a compliment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    New England
    14/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dry. but if you're into that sort of thing . . ."
    Would you listen to Spain again? Why?

    This is an interesting history that draws from several great sources. Great history. I say it is dry, but that is probably only if you're not into reading/listening to history.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The anecdotal history. For example, the description of the legal system and the case between Cervantes and Mendoza.


    What does Jeremy Clyde bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I wouldn't find time to read this book. The narration keeps me engaged.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mdm
    19/09/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent narration in a very comprehensive work"
    What made the experience of listening to Spain the most enjoyable?

    Listenteing to this book has made it fascinating to follow a very important period of history in Spain (and Europe)


    What did you like best about this story?

    I especially like the fact that the author ties in literature, history, religion, arquitecture, art, paintings, his description are wonderful and this hollistica approach helps you understand how people thought and lived.


    What does Jeremy Clyde bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    i lo¡ike his entonation, only he should have made an effort to leran how to pronounce some of the names in sapnish, he makes some of them unrecognizable and some times even dsilly.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    i am enjoying this book and making several people read it too


    Any additional comments?

    very recommendable

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Diomedes
    19/06/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ruined by irrelevant digressions on architecture"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Anyone who is primarily interested in art and architecture.


    What was most disappointing about Robert Goodwin’s story?

    The fact that he kept interrupting it to talk about art and architecture, often at times and in ways that contributed nothing to his broader discussion.


    5 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Lars
    26/06/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too much cultural history"

    I was really board hearing about all these artists and poets. Of course, there are interesting parts as well, but not enough.

    2 of 13 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.