Sav­age Fron­tier: The Pyre­nees in His­tory

History Revealed - - ON OUR RADAR - By Matthew Carr

C Hurst & Co, £20, hard­back, 320 pages

Stretch­ing more than 300 miles along the bor­der be­tween France and Spain, the Pyre­nees can be for­bid­ding, with us­able routes through the gran­ite and lime­stone peaks of­ten only avail­able at high al­ti­tudes. De­spite this, gen­er­a­tions of trav­ellers have made their way across the moun­tain range in search of free­dom and safety. This new his­tory of the Pyre­nees is, there­fore, far from the dry geo­graph­i­cal study you might sus­pect; in­stead, it’s packed with drama, peril and am­bi­tion. From peo­ple seek­ing re­li­gious sanc­tu­ary to those flee­ing the hor­rors of Nazi-oc­cu­pied France, their sto­ries of­fer glimpses into how the phys­i­cal world shaped life in Europe across the cen­turies.

Work­ers in­volved in the con­struc­tion of a hy­dro­elec­tric plant on Lake Gento, one of many projects that aimed to har­ness the Pyre­nees’ nat­u­ral re­sources BOOK OF THE MONTH

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