The Savage Frontier

The Savage Frontier : The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination

3.62 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
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A sweeping historical travelogue of the contentious border of France and Spain, in the great tradition of Bruce Chatwin and Jan Morris

With the Catalonia crisis making international headlines, the unique cultural and geographic region bordering Spain and France has once again moved to the center of the world's attention. In The Savage Frontier, acclaimed author and journalist Matthew Carr uncovers the fascinating, multilayered story of the Pyrenees region--at once a forbidding, mountainous frontier zone of stunning beauty, home to a unique culture, and a site of sharp conflict between nations and empires.

Carr follows the routes taken by monks, soldiers, poets, pilgrims, and refugees. He examines the people and events that have shaped the Pyrenees across the centuries, with a cast of characters including Napoleon, Hannibal, and Charlemagne; the eccentric British climber Henry Russell; Francisco Sabaté Llopart, the Catalan anarchist who waged a lone war against the Franco regime across the Pyrenees for years after the civil war; Camino de Santiago pilgrims; and the cellist Pablo Casals, who spent twenty-three years in exile only a few miles from the Spanish border to show his disgust and disapproval of the Spanish regime.

The Savage Frontier is a book that will spark a new awareness and appreciation of one of the most haunting, magical, and dramatic landscapes on earth.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 150 x 208 x 30mm | 499g
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 1620974274
  • 9781620974278
  • 2,173,681

Review quote

Praise for The Savage Frontier
"A vivid, deeply informed travelogue"
--Kirkus Reviews "Matthew Carr has woven an unwaveringly colorful tapestry of a beautiful, dramatic landscape. Its inhabitants past and present--shepherds, smugglers, soldiers, spies, saints, heretics, bandits, freaks--all pass in review in this meticulously researched love letter to the Pyrenees."
--Stephen O'Shea, author of The Alps: A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond "Matthew Carr has climbed mountains of research as well as stone to stake his claim as the premier 'pyreneist' of the age."
--Franz Nicolay, author of The Humorless Ladies of Border Control "Matthew Carr has written a rich, deeply researched and absorbing history, full of extraordinary and surprising tales and an impassioned sense of the unique beauty of one of Europe's lesser-known places."
--Roger Crowley, author of Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire "Carr conjures up a magical account of the mountainous divide between Spain and France, with its witches and heretics, its isolated villages, its ancient traditions of independence, and its babel of languages. A beautifully written book that nimbly weaves together his own travels and the history of the Pyrenees."
--David Abulafia, Professor Emeritus of Mediterranean History, University of Cambridge, and author of The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean Praise for Sherman's Ghosts
--The New York Times "A concise and excellent account."
--The Wall Street Journal Praise for Fortress Europe
"The power of this stirring, authentic account comes from Carr's ability to capture the refugee experience through his face-to-face interviews and his passionate observation of the current scene, including human trafficking, in which women and minors are forced to choose between deportation and exploitation."
--Booklist "This disturbing but hopeful book humanizes the face of 21st-century immigration."
--Publishers Weekly Praise for The Devils of Cardona
"A thrilling quest for justice... [A] novel that is as exciting as it is enlightening from its first pages to its satisfying end."
--The New York Times Book Review "A page-turner in the proper sense... Mr. Carr has written a gripping and enjoyable novel."
--The Wall Street Journal
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About Matthew Carr

Matthew Carr is the author of several books of nonfiction, including Blood and Faith, and a novel, The Devils of Cardona. He has written for a variety of publications, including the New York Times, The Observer, The Guardian, and others. He lives in the United Kingdom.
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Rating details

8 ratings
3.62 out of 5 stars
5 12% (1)
4 50% (4)
3 25% (2)
2 12% (1)
1 0% (0)
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