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Isabella of Spain - The Last Crusader

Item Number: 1564

Catalog Code: 9780895553201

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8 1/4"  (20.9 cm) x 5 1/2"  (13.9 cm)
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Queen Isabella of Spain, known by her people as "la Catolica," was by any standard one of the greatest women in all of history. Ascending the throne of Castile at age 23-a young woman tall, ath­letic, blond-haired and blue-eyed­ Isabella was possessed of an in­domitable will and refused to recog­nize the word "impossible;' for she was convinced that with God noth­ing is impossible. Regarded by her people as a saint, she daily implored the Divine assistance, and then fear­lessly forged ahead with all the resources at her command. The re­sult was a continuous chain of seem­ingly miraculous successes plucked from seemingly inescapable dis­asters. A woman of rare strength and intelligence-who bore five children in between military campaigns and the conduct of international affairs-Isabella ruled with immense authority, yet she willingly submit­ted herself to the will of God and to God's representatives on earth.


In gripping suspense, William Thomas Walsh describes her resistance as a young princess to the corruption of court life, her providential rise to the throne of Castile, the unification of Spain through her equally providential marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon, the near-disastrous War of the Castilian Succession, her brilliant consolidation of the royal power into an effective central government, the actual historical reasons for the founding of the Spanish Inquisition, the universal exaltation throughout Europe after the final defeat of the Moors after an 800-year crusade, the momentous expulsion of the Jews from Spain, the unlikely discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus under her aegis, and the incredible forging of Catholic Spain into the world's mightiest power-a power soon thereafter to be em­ployed in colonizing and Catholicizing half of the newly discovered lands across the ocean.

Here is history as history really happened, and history as history should be written-full of the peo­ple and passions and hopes and hates and loves and idealisms that really comprise its fabric.  Her story reads like some high romance, in part almost like a fairy tale, and throughout more like the creation of an inspired literary genius than the stuff of actual history.  Yet William Thomas Walsh, a great and learned historian with ears of research into original Spanish sources and a deep understanding of the times he portrays, has produced here a masterpiece of historical literature.  For to read Isabella of Spain is to open one’s eyes upon a world unlike any we have ever witnessed – a world that was Catholic, not secular, a world where God and His rights were everywhere known and recognized, even when not always obeyed.  And certainly no Catholic who would possess a grasp of the history of the church--specifically the cogent historical reasons for the Spanish Inquisition—can ignore his authoritative and masterfully written Isabella of SpainThe Last Crusader. 

"My hand falls powerless by my side for very sorrow.  The world has lost its noblest ornament; a loss to be deplored not only by Spain, which she has so long carried forward in the career of glory, but by every nation in Christendom, for she was the mirror of every virtue, the shield of the innocent, and an avenging sward to the wickedI know none of her sex, in ancient or modern times, who in my judgment is at all worthy to be named with the incomparable woman

- Peter Martyr, Upon the death of Isabella

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