The story of Portugal


Travel is like so much else; we get what we put into it.  You’ll enjoy a trip to Portugal much more if you learn a little about the rich history of this small corner of the world.

But what should you read?  Travel guidebooks reduce centuries of history to a few lines, leaving us with little more than a boring list of names and dates. History books, on the other hand, are often so dense with scholarship that it is easy to get lost.

Luckily, John dos Passos, a great American writer whose father was from the island of Madeira, produced a highly readable account of Portugal’s age of discovery. His book introduces us to the main protagonists that shaped this golden era. Through their triumphs and defeats, their joys and tears, we learn the story of Portugal.

John Dos Passos, The Portugal Story: Three Centuries of Exploration and Discovery, Doubleday, 1995.

7 thoughts on “The story of Portugal

  1. It wasn’t written as a travel book but “The Last Old Place” by Datus Proper, a retired US diplomat who had served in Brazil and Angola before Lisbon and was Lusophone, returns to take a long overdue road trip with his lawyer friend and fellow fly-fisherman, Adriano, from the Algarve to Trás-Os-Montes and writes a most evocative account, contextualising the country, it’s history and culture, which I had the good fortune to stumble across in my search for well written descriptions.

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