Wow, I can't believe I've finished reading this book. I started it several months ago and put it down due to its denseness and the push to read more accessible texts. I was determined, however, to finish it, and Christmas break gave me the chance to do so.
Robert Hughes has created a masterpiece about this Spanish city. Fact upon fact tumble from the pages. History, food, music, art, science, inventions, political parties and philosophies, famous citizens, politicians, architecture, banking, world fairs; all are covered in intense detail. Hughes must have spent years researching this book. I've learned a ton about Barcelona, but would need to read the book at least once more to retain many of the details.
This book is recommended for those interested in how a great city came into being and how its citizens define themselves. The only disappointment I had was with the ending. The entire last chapter, devoted to the great Spanish architect, Gaudi, ends somewhat abruptly in the 1920's. It seems that if one devoted the time and energy to write such a massive tome, that the years since would have been written about as well. I'm very glad to have read this book and learned so much from it.