Barcelona is Robert Hughes's monumentally informed and irresistibly opinionated guide to the most un-Spanish city in Spain. Hughes scrolls through Barcelona's often violent history; tells the stories of its kings, poets, magnates, and revolutionaries; and ushers readers through municipal landmarks that range from Antoni Gaudi's sublimely surreal cathedral to a postmodern restaurant with a glass-walled urinal. The result is a work filled with the attributes of Barcelona itself: proportion, humor, and "seny" -- the Catalan word for triumphant common sense.
"Confirms . . . Mr. Hughes's authority as a first-rate chronicler and historian. The book is destined to become, like Forster's Alexandria and Mary McCarthy's Venice Observed, a classic." --The New York Times Book Review "Authoritative, carefully researched, and full of insights into the city's great heritage . . . his judgments are full of tolerant and good-humored fascination. . . . There is no single volume in either Catalan or Spanish that approaches this book in scope or detail...a superb achievement and a great pleasure to read." --The Washington Post Book World
"Brilliant...an extraordinary book that combines history, criticism of the arts and architecture, and a profound sympathy for the moral essence of a people." --Newsday