Obituary Note: Hugh Thomas

Hugh Thomas, the British historian and associate of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher "whose magisterial work chronicled great upheaval in the Hispanic world, from Spain's imperial expansion to its civil war," died May 6, the New York Times reported. He was 85. Although Thomas published numerous books, including novels, "it was his vast explorations of Spain on which his reputation was built, beginning with The Spanish Civil War in 1961."

His many titles include Conquest: Cortes, Montezuma and the Fall of Old Mexico; The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440-1870; Cuba: A History; and Golden Age: The Spanish Empire of Charles V.

In 2011, when Thomas published The Golden Empire, the second of three volumes (Rivers of Gold, World Without End) chronicling the era from the first voyage of Columbus until the reign of King Philip II in the late 16th century, Charles C. Mann described the work in the New York Times Book Review as belonging to "the genre of Nobody Does This Anymore... For better or for worse, history of the type critics dismiss as 'old-fashioned': a story in which the narrative engines are human character and action rather than the impersonal forces of economics, culture and the environment. This is a history of the conquerors, rather than the conquered."

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