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Henry A. Kamen is a British historian born in Rangoon in 1936. He studied at the University of Oxford and has subsequently taught at the University of Warwick and various universities in Spain and the United States. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He has been a Professor of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) in Barcelona since 1993.

He participated in the famous debate (with Hugh Trevor-Roper and Immanuel Wallerstein amongst others) on the consideration that the upheavals of the Seventeenth Century amounted to a period of General Crisis. He has also been one of the leading historians who have attacked the traditional view of the Spanish Inquisition. His 1998 book provides extensive evidence that the Inquisition was not made up of fanatics who rejoiced in torture and executions and that, for example, Inquisition gaols were better run and more humane than ordinary Spanish prisons.


  • The Iron Century: Social Change in Europe, 1550-1660. New York: Praeger Publishers (1972)
  • Spain in the Later Seventeenth Century. London: Longman (1980)
  • Golden Age Spain. Basingstoke: Macmillan Education (1988)
  • European Society 1500-1700. New York; London: Routledge (1984)(1992) [revision of The Iron Century]
  • Philip of Spain. New Haven: Yale University Press (1997)
  • The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision. New Haven: Yale University Press (1998)
  • Early Modern European Society. (2000)
  • Empire: How Spain Became a World Power, 1492-1763. New York: HarperCollins (2003)
  • The Duke of Alba. New Haven: Yale University Press (2004)
  • The Disinherited; Exile and the Making of Spanish Culture, 1492-1975 New York: HarperCollins (2007)
  • Imagining Spain. Historical Myth and National Identity. New Haven: Yale University Press (2008)


On Philip of Spain, by M.N. Carlos Eire in Renaissance Quarterly, vol.52, 1999, "Kamen's Philip is a stunning achievement, not only because of its revisionist outlook and its use of sources, but also because of its style and structure. This is an exemplary piece of scholarship that reads very much like a good novel".

On Empire, in The Daily Telegraph, "A boldly conceived project that sustains its case with a pugnacious elan that carries the reader through to the final page": [1]
and in The Guardian, "brilliant ... lucid, scholarly and perceptive ... a revelation": [2]

On The Disinherited, in The Guardian, "Wonderfully accomplished, beautifully told": [3]
and in The Weekly Standard, Washington DC, "Henry Kamen is the finest historian of Spain presently writing in any language": [4]

On Imagining Spain, Eric Ormsby in The New York Sun, "Drawing on archival sources, unpublished manuscripts, and a vast body of scholarship in several languages, he takes a fresh look at Spanish notions of nationhood, monarchy, and empire. . . . Only someone who loves Spain deeply could have written this book.": [5]



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