Authors: Helen Rodgers, Stephen Cavendish
Extent: 360 pp
Publication: July 2021
Publisher: Hurst Publishers
A scintillating history of one of Europe’s most alluring cities.
Granada is a deceptive city, concealing a layered past and a complex character. The last Muslim capital in Western Europe, over the centuries it has captured hearts and imaginations, inspiring countless myths and legends. Yet its history reveals even more fascinating tales: secrets and follies, victory and failure, poetry and art.
City of Illusions brings together Granada’s many stories – the archaeological forger, the renegade French general, the garrotted liberal heroine, the Jewish poet who served two Muslim rulers. This colourful cast of characters takes us from the founding eleventh-century dynasty and the building of the Alhambra, through the Reconquista, French occupation and Spanish Civil War, right up to the present day.
Granada’s history has long been fought over, rewritten, idealised or buried. This rich, elegant book sets the record straight on a beautiful, elusive city, with all its quirks, mysteries, intrigues and triumphs.
A superb history of one of Europe’s most fascinating cities. From the sublime beauty of the Alhambra to the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, City of Illusions is a gripping story, deftly told. David Mathieson, author of Frontline Madrid: Battlefield Tours of the Spanish Civil War
In City of Illusions, Rodgers and Cavendish trace the history of Granada from its age of glory under Islam through its Bourbon decadence and near destruction under the French to its modern revival as an exotic if troubled epitome of Romance – a lively telling, faithful to its history and evocative in its prose. Brian Catlos, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, author of Kingdoms of Faith: A New History of Islamic Spain