And more, from reviewer Scott K. Taylor ( ):
What did it mean to be an hidalgo? This was a important status in late medieval and early modern Spain, one that all historians know was crucial—but none have really known much about it until now. Michael Crawford argues that hidalguía had little to do with the two main justifications that contemporary Spaniards gave for the privilege: that it either derived from a racial understanding of inherited nobility or was a reward for service to the king. Instead, noble status was fluid, contingent on circumstance, political networking, and the ability to carry out lengthy lawsuits successfully. Using hitherto unexploited sources, Crawford’s subtle analysis displays the rich complexity of local government in early modern Spain, pulling attention away from the so-called absolutism of the central government and showing how much more important the officials, regulations, and courts of local municipalities were in the real lives of Spaniards.Additional information is available here.