If all history books read like narratives as well as Robert Goodwin's Spain: The Centre of the World 1519-1682 did, history class would be significantly more interesting. It was as if I was reading a novel, and I love novels.
At the beginning of the modern era, Spain became the centre of the western world by accident. And so began Spain's golden age, and Goodwin's tale of how gold and silver got the country out of debt and into the number spot in the 16th century. Universities expanded, the crown got stronger, and opportunities exploded. Despite that pesky Inquisition, it was a beautiful time for Spain and I was happy to learn about all of the good that happened in the country during that time.