In this book, the product of five years' residence in Andalusia, the author opens up an exciting and colourful period in history that inexplicably has never attracted English historians or romantic novelists, although it offers material for a score of books. "Andalus" is the name under which the Arabs knew Spain, when the Muslim Empire extended from the Indus to the Pillars of Hercules. It was conquered with surprising ease in the eighth century, and remained in Muslim hands till the fifteenth. It attained its full flowering in the tenth century, when the all-powerful Caliph Abd al-Rahman reigned in Cordoba and his city-palace of al-Zahra out-rivalled the fabulous court of Harun al-Rashid in Baghdad. Andalus knew a degree of civilization in comparison with which the contemporary Christian kingdoms of Western Europe were still in the dark ages. After a brief historical outline, the author deals at length with the fascinating and full-blooded mixture of races that made up the population, with their government and diplomacy, their attitude towards women and slaves, their sports and pastimes, and their passion for poetry. He closes with a portrait-gallery of five outstanding and very dissimilar Andalusians, and thus rounds off a most knowledgeable and vivid account of a country and a people unique in Western Europe.