Into The Arena (Ebook)

The World of the Spanish Bullfight

Alexander Fiske-Harrison

Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2011

Alexander Fiske-Harrison has spent a year travelling with bullfighters to watch them work in the bullrings and ranches of Spain. Along the way he has entered the ring and ran with the bulls in Pamplona and trained with world famous matador Eduardo Dávila Miura and is on a personal quest to fight a bull in the ring with the aim of winning

'Whether or not the artistic quality of the bullfight outweighs the moral question of the animals' suffering is something that each person must decide for themselves - as they must decide whether the taste of a steak justifies the death of a cow. But if we ignore the possibility that one does outweigh the other, we fall foul of the charge of self-deceit and incoherence in our dealings with animals.' Alexander Fiske-Harrison

In a remarkable and controversial book Fiske-Harrison follows the tracks of a whole bullfighting year in Spain. He trains and takes part in the sport himself. He gives us memorable portraits of bull-fighters and bulls, of owners, trainers and fans - of a whole country. Fiske-Harrison offers a fully rounded and involving portrait of an art as performed for centuries and of the arguments that dog it today.

Publication date: 26/05/2011


ISBN: 9781847654298

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B005IYT9X2

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Travel & Nature

Reviews for Into The Arena

'An informative and breathtaking volume of gonzo journalism'


'The essential incongruity of an Englishman in the ring makes this book an engrossing introduction to bullfighting'

 Financial Times

'He [Fiske-Harrison] develops a taste for the gruesome spectacle, but what makes the book work is that he never loses his disgust for it...what I really enjoyed about Into the Arena is that after nearly 300 pages I still couldn't quite decide whether bullfighting should be banned or allowed to flourish'

 Daily Mail

'Into the Arena begins by brilliantly capturing a fascinating, intoxicating culture ... Provides an intriguing introduction to Spain's "great feast of art and danger"'

 Sunday Times

'Entertaining ... bears comparison with Kenneth Tynan's outstanding book Bull Fever'


'Whatever you think of Alexander Fiske-Harrison's account of his quest to become a bullfighter, you have to admire his guts ... His descriptions of the fights are compelling and lyrical, and his explanation of different uses of the matador's capes is illuminating ... This complex and ambitious book examines not only life in the bullring but also Spain's cultural identity and modern ideas of masculinity'

James Owen Mail on Sunday

'Transposes the spectacle into words with great success'

 Literary Review

'A really, really good read'

John Inverdale 

'Fantastic... it's a fascinating insight into a world we know little about but are quick to judge'

Ben East Metro

Alexander Fiske-Harrison

Alexander Fiske-Harrison

Alexander Fiske-Harrison was born 1976 and is an English writer and actor. He is best known for writing and acting in The Pendulum in London's West End and has contributed to Prospect, Frieze, The Times and Financial Times.