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An engrossing and revolutionary biography of Isabella of Castile the controversial ueen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus's journey to the New World established the Spanish Inuisition and became one of the most influential female rulers in historyBorn at a time when Christianity was dying out and the Ottoman Empire was aggressively expanding Isabella was inspired in her youth by tales of Joan of Arc a devout young woman who unified her people and led them to victory against foreign invaders In 1474 when most women were almost powerless twenty three year old Isabella defied Since I knew ueen Isabella was the financier of Columbus a force behind the Spanish Inuisition and the mother of Katherine of Aragon first wife of Henry VIII I thought I would find this book about her interesting but that was an underestimation because Isabella The Warrior ueen turned out to be a treasure trove of fascinating information and stories About Columbus the book has detail than I expected also covering early European interactions with various groups of Native Americans About the Inuisition the book gives religious context and history that were unfamiliar to me and after reading about Catherine of Aragon s early life I have a greater understanding of and appreciation for her as a woman of strength and principle Also woven into the narrative is information about the lives and historical impacts of Isabella s other children the balance of power in Isabella s relationship with her husband Ferdinand according to this account she was the one who was eual and fairly extensive background histories of European royal families and their politics Islam s presence on the Iberian Peninsula the evolving role of the papacy and the nature and progress of the Ottoman Empire Isabella was a much stronger monarch than I realized but she s humanized here and I ended up liking her which wasn t something I expected Author Kirstin Downey has taken obvious care to be fair and respectful to all parties in Isabella s story and without doing a lot of undocumented speculation about her subjects inner feelings her book is written in a vivid engaging style that had me hooked from its opening chapter I kept finding myself rushing back to its pages the way you do when reading a gripping novel I received an advanced review copy of this book Review opinions are mine

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Isabella

Nturies Whether saintly or satanic no female leader has done to shape our modern world where millions of people in two hemispheres speak Spanish and practice Catholicism Yet history has all but forgotten Isabella's influence due to hundreds of years of misreporting that often attributed her accomplishments to Ferdinand the bold and philandering husband she adored Using new scholarship Downey's luminous biography tells the story of this brilliant fervent forgotten woman the faith that propelled her through life and the land of ancient conflicts and intrigue she brought under her comma My acuaintance with Spanish history is incidental mostly from Spain being mentioned in biographies and histories of other counties or Europe in general Author Kirsten Downey helped me to put all the fragments for this short period that I ve gleaned together Now I understand Catherine of Aragon s long wait for her second marriage how Jauna came to be considered mad the actual relationship of the Spanish monarchs to their Borgia pope and much You see the Inuisition and expulsion from the side of the monarchs and how Ferdinand was most likely the active partner with Isabella just not stepping inThe book was best for me in the beginning where it is a chronological biography In this part you come to understand Isahella s family and how she engineered her own marriage and coronation You come to understand that marriage her piety and relations with the church and her reliance on childhood friends You see the how the 700 year Reconuest was completedAt time when Columbus enters the picture the structure of the narrative changes and Columbus the Inuisition the later expulsion the European wars and the marriage of daughters are presented in separate chapters In these parts with the exception of the marriage and family parts the narratives bog down in detailAnother weakness that there is a lot on conversos Those close to Isabella are noted and there are examples of the fate of many conversos and Jews in the Inuisition and expulsion There is little attention to the Muslims and their fate in the Inuisition and expulsion Moriscos are not mentioned at any point in the book For a good description of this Blood and Faith The Purging of Muslim SpainThe chapters about after Isabella both for the years immediately following her death and her influence to our present time is excellent For the immediately after part you learn of the power struggle of Ferdinand and his too soon after brereavement marriage and his son in law and the fate of the some players who played a role in Isabella s life such as the Bobadilla s Columbus and his sons Cesar Borgia and many This book is clearly a labor of love In the end the author tells how she came to be interested in Spanish history and Isabella in particular

Kirstin Downey º 0 FREE READ

A hostile brother and mercurial husband to seize control of Castile and León Her subseuent feats were legendary She ended a twenty four generation struggle between Muslims and Christians forcing Moorish invaders back over the Mediterranean Sea She laid the foundation for a unified Spain She sponsored Columbus's trip to the Indies and negotiated Spanish control over much of the New World with the help of Rodrigo Borgia the infamous Pope Alexander VI She also annihilated all who stood against her by establishing a bloody religious Inuisition that would darken Spain's reputation for ce Finished this book finally Wonderful rich detail about Isabel and the life and times she mastered Isabel is a fascinating if genocidal character On the one hand she was a very powerful ruler in a turbulent kingdom and constantly at war during her reign In a time and place where women control little she controlled her Kingdom had absolute custody and control of her children plus her husband somewhat kinda sorta worked for her She made the real decisions for her Kingdom and managed to keep her eually yoked husband This is indeed a delicate and intricate dance At the same time she used her religion as a vicious weapon of mass destruction She was virulently and violently Catholic which was unfortunately fatal for too many of her subjects She is Islamophobic Antisemtic both of which are common feelings for her time religion and place She totally steals the thrown from her niece and her brother s rightful heir When family steals the crown they often say the heir is illegitimate or not the king s etc She steals from her subjects in cringeworthy ways Mostly from her subjects who are already marginalized This book doesn t mention the Romani peoples but it s my understanding she both evicted them with the Jewish and Moorish Peoples and persecuted those that converted to Catholicism who stayed in Spsin during the InuisitionIn addition this is the ueen that sends Columbus on an expedition that claims populated land masses as her own This ultimately standardizes normalizes and adds the Catholic Church s blessing to a pattern of thinking that results in the horrors of colonialism theft genocide chattel slavery This impacts multiple continents and at the least hundreds probably thousands of nations countries confederates kingdoms empires democracies etc Millions of people die or are displacedYet the author spends much time excusing Isabel s choices and behaviors while demonizing the Moors of Grenada The author opens the book with the no doubt true but extremely detailed info about The Emirate conuering Granada For comparison she talks about other European conuerors who no doubt employed many of the exact methods but she glosses over it with no violence at all It s cringeworthyEspecially given the level of violence that Spain will enact in the Americas for centuries She makes colonialism s crimes seem like misunderstandings taken advantage of by a few bad apples I m unsure how a historian could consider Muslim violence in light of the blood bath that Isabel will unleash over 2 continents considerably larger than all of Europe Clearly this author does not consider the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas as important as the European Catholic peoples living on part of the Iberian PeninsulaHm could it be that this author has a problem valuing people who have brown and black skin Or who don t practice Catholicism Christianity She refers to the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon by name but refers to the Moors of Grenada as the generic Muslims So Castile is at war with The Muslims vs Castile is at war with Grenada or the Emirate or whatever It s offensive and dismissive and calls into uestion the authenticity of the other facts given The author shares in the Afterward that her theory is that Isabel protects Europe from the Muslims and the expansion of Islam throughout Europe However she seems unconcerned about Isabel doing that very same thing to continents full of millions of peopleThe theory screams Islamophobic and explains much of why this book rubs me the wrong way TLDR The author s bias is so blatant it makes me uncomfortable gleaning any true facts from this biography It s a shame as this is very readable and interestingUpdates while reading as my app was glitchingStill reading I m about 30% done I couldn t update for some reasonSo Isabella has married Ferdinand become ueen of Castile won the war of succession against Portugal and is setting about restoring orderI am enjoying this book but the authors clear bias is difficult to ignore I also am deeply impressed by Isabella s ability to maintain absolute control in Castile It s impressive how she is able to keep Ferdinand both from power and still married to her It s really too bad she turns into such a rampant racist and human rights violator She had such promiseBelow was in response to a comment that was later erasedI am not a European and so I will not be reviewing this book from that standpoint If that causes you to clutch your pearls in shock I advise you not to continue to read my review of this book ueen Isabella is a horrible human rights violator the first in history on such a global scale I have little that is nice to say about her Or the author of this biased biography


10 thoughts on “Isabella

  1. says:

    Since I knew ueen Isabella was the financier of Columbus a force behind the Spanish Inuisition and the mother of Katherine of Aragon first wife of Henry VIII I thought I would find this book about her interesting but that was an underestimati

  2. says:

    This massive undertaking by Kristin Downey gives context to the fifty three years of ueen Isabella’s life and shares origin stories of people or events we may have heard bits of in our lives but never knew where to find the referencesMonty Python The Monty Python skit of the soldier who first loses a leg then an arm then anothe

  3. says:

    The book's a comedy of errors and stereotypesIn the first chapter I could see what seemed to be some definite Christianist bias and bad type revisionist history Downey lumps nearly 800 years of Muslim rule in Spain under several different dynasties some Arab some Berber as Muslim rule in general isn't what it has been cracked up to be as i

  4. says:

    view spoiler Bettie's Books hide spoiler

  5. says:

    When I read European history it's usually English or Church history Between London and Rome the rest of the European continent manages to sneak into the picture uite freuently and to significant extent As a result I have than a passing exposure to the histories of other European countries though my knowledge of Spanish history is rather limited and primarily involves England and France and Napoleon So recently on a trip to Barnes

  6. says:

    Finished this book finally Wonderful rich detail about Isabel and the life and times she mastered Isabel is a fascinating if genocidal character On the one hand she was a very powerful ruler in a turbulent kingdom and constantly at war during her reign In a time and place where women control little she controlled her Kingdom had

  7. says:

    My acuaintance with Spanish history is incidental mostly from Spain being mentioned in biographies and histories of other counties or Europe in general Author Kirsten Downey helped me to put all the fragments for this short period that I've gleaned together Now I understand Catherine of Aragon's long wait for h

  8. says:

    People generally seem to either love or hate this book but my take isn’t firmly in either camp I think that thei

  9. says:

    Received from firstreadsThis was probably the most enjoyable biographyhistory book that I've read in uite a while From the first page it was very even no stretches of boring where you wait to get back to something interest

  10. says:

    Truly enjoyable and highly educating at the very least I suspect it to be a little bit biased by modern gender studies as this book is certainly a part of a very popular trend to empower women from the past Personally I think it is much needed to overturn the concept of world ruled solely by men and restore full meaning of their female companions merits it needs however careful treading so the balance doesn't tip over I cannot