World Without End: The Global Empire of Philip II

Author(s): Hugh Thomas


World Without Endis the climax of Hugh Thomas's great history of the Spanish Empire in the Americas. It describes the conquest of Paraguay and the River Plate, the Yucatan in Mexico, the only partial conquest of Chile, battles with the French over Florida, and then, in the 1580s, the extraordinary projection of Spanish power across the Pacific to conquer the Philippines. As significantly, it describes how the Spanish ran the greatest empire the world had seen since Rome. Besides the conquistadores, the book is peopled with viceroys, judges, nobles, bishops, inquisitors and administrators of many different kinds, often in conflict with one another, seeking to organize the native populations into towns, to build cathedrals, hospitals and universities. Behind them - sometimes ahead of them - came the religious orders, the Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, and finally the Jesuits, builders of convents and monasteries, many of them of astonishing beauty and reminders of the pervasiveness of religion and the self-confidence of the age.

Towering above them all, though moving rarely from the palace of the Escorial outside Madrid, is the art lover and collector King Philip II, the central figure in the book. The Venetian ambassador thought him 'the arbiter of the world'. Once the conquest of the Philippines had been completed, Philip's advisors proposed to him an invasion of China- the Jesuit Father Sanchez called it 'the greatest enterprise which has ever been proposed to any monarch in the world'. It was an enterprise never undertaken, but never explicitly abandoned.

Was it a great or a terrible empire? In contrast to other empire builders, the Spaniards entered upon arguments with each other about their right to rule other peoples, and their ruthlessness was often tempered by humanity. Hugh Thomas's conclusion is unequivocal- 'The speed with which the sixteenth-century conquistadores conquered such large territories on two vast continents, and the comparable success of missionaries with large populations of Indians, stands as one of the supreme epics of both valour and imagination by Europeans.'

Acclaim for Hugh Thomas's Spanish Empire Trilogy

The Golden Age- The Spanish Empire of Charles V

'Thomas tells th story of missionary zeal and military plunder with a zest worthy of a swashbuckling historical novelist.' Kate Saunders, The Times

'A riveting story of adventure and cruelty . . . a considerable literary and scholarly accomplishment.' Ben Wilson, Daily Telegraph

'Monumental . . . definitive . . . vivid . . . this is a book written by a master of his field, and it is unlikely to be bettered.' Jerry Brotton, BBC History Magazine

'Ambitious in scope and rich in detail . . . Hugh Thomas tells these stories with his customary verve and vigour. Coherent, fast-paced and up-todate.' J. H. Elliott,Guardian

Rivers of Gold- The Rise of the Spanish Empire

'Affirms Hugh Thomas's record as one of the most productive and wide-ranging historians of modern times.' Paul Kennedy, The New York Times

'What a bloody, brilliant canvas he paints.' Boyd Tonkin, Independent

'So steeped is he in the spirit of the time, so familiar with its people and places, that we almost feel he must have been there.' Nicholas Bagnall, Sunday Telegraph


Available Stock:

Order this Item

Add to Wishlist

Product Information

This is history as it used to be: adventurous men (and a few women), masses of action, little analysis but racy gossip and colourful scene setting. We could often be reading one of the tales the colonists themselves sent back -- Jeremy Treglown Daily Telegraph Literary power is a vital part of a great historian's armoury. As in his earlier books, Thomas demonstrates here that he has this in abundance. But equally important is [his] sense of perspective ... With all its flaws, Thomas argues, the Spanish Empire left an extraordinarily rich legacy -- Christopher Silvester Financial Times World Without End is full of illuminating detail, drawn from painstaking work Economist

Hugh Thomas is the author of, among other books, The Spanish Civil War (1961), which won the Somerset Maugham Award, The Suez Affair (1967), Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom (1971), An Unfinished History of the World (1979), Armed Truce (1986), Conquest: Montezuma, Cortes and the Fall of Old Mexico (1994), The Slave Trade (1997) and the first two volumes of his Spanish Empire trilogy, Rivers of Gold (2003) and The Golden Age (2010). From 1966 to 1976 he was Professor of History at the University of Reading, and from 1979 to 1991 chairman of the Centre for Policy Studies in London. In 2008 he was made a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France) and won the Gabarron Prize; he received the Calvo Serer Prize, the Boccaccio Prize and the Nonino Prize in Italy in 2009. He is a member of the Academia de Buenas Letras in Seville and a Caballero of the Maestranza of Ronda, and in 1981 became a life peer as Lord Thomas of Swynnerton.

General Fields

  • : 9780141034478
  • : Penguin Books, Limited
  • : Penguin Books, Limited
  • : 0.374
  • : July 2015
  • : 198mm X 129mm X 22mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : September 2015
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 16 pp colour
  • : 496
  • : 980.013
  • : English
  • : 1
  • : Paperback
  • : Hugh Thomas