The Story of Spanish

The Story of Spanish

Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow will be joined by Felix Sánchez, Chairman and Co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, in a lively discussion of their new book.

Just how did a quirky, obscure dialect spoken by a remote tribe of cattle farmers in northern Spain grow to become the common tongue of 450 million people in 22 countries, and the unofficial second language of the United States?

Thoroughly researched and enlivened with stories and anecdotes, The Story of Spanish explores the origins and spread of modern Spanish from its roots in Hispania’s Vulgar Latin (the language that also spawned French and Italian) to its fascinating, global predominance today.

Internationally bestselling authors of Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong and The Story of French, Jean Benoit-Nadeau and Julie Barlow now turn their attention to the Spanish language.

Full of surprises and honed in Nadeau and Barlow’s trademark style combining personal anecdote, reflections and deep research, The Story of Spanish is the first full biography of a language that shaped the world we know, and the only global language with two names —Spanish and Castilian.

Through characters like Queen Isabella, Christopher Columbus, Cervantes and Goya, The Story of Spanish shows how Spain’s Golden Age, the Mexican Miracle and the Latin American Boom shaped the destiny of the language. This book also explores more somber episodes like the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion of Spain’s Jews, the destruction of native cultures, the political instability in Latin America and the dictatorship of Franco.

It is the passionate and intriguing chronicle of a vibrant language that thrived through conquests and setbacks to become the tongue of Pedro Almódovar, Gabriel García Márquez, of tango and ball room dancing, of millions of Americans, and of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world.

  • Literature
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Wed, May 22, 2013
  • 6:30 pm


Venue map

Busboys & Poets (5th & K Location), 1025 5th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20001


Free to the public. RSVP: call 202-728-2334. A glass of wine will be offered to the attendees at the end of the book presentation. The book will be available for purchase at the event.

More information

Venue's website


Co-presented by St. Martin's Press in collaboration with Asociación de Líderes Hispanos, Art Museum of the Americas (AMA), and the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts.



Don't miss events like this one! Subscribe to our bimonthly newsletter to stay informed. Our subscribers also get exclusive access to select online content such as free screenings or concerts.

Sign up for our newsletter