Praise

“[An] intriguing narrative of literary ambition and family dysfunction—betrayal, drug addiction and madness—that begins during the Spanish Civil War and continues into this century.” — Amanda Vaill, The New York Times Book Review

“In this sweeping, ambitious debut, journalist Shulman offers a group biography of a family indelibly marked by the Spanish Civil War…Prodigiously researched and beautifully written…” Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“A deeply researched portrait…Spain’s roiling history, beginning in the 1930s, forms the backdrop to the family’s turmoil. A richly detailed history.” Kirkus Reviews

“[A] brilliant biography of the outlandish Panero family.” The National Book Review

“‘Aaron Shulman has fashioned The Age of Disenchantments—part biography, part political history—in which he juxtaposes the Panero clan’s literary successes and private unraveling with the fate and fortune of Spain itself…A portrait of an earlier Spain…when poets were widely loved and celebrated and as a young visitor to the Paneros’ house put it, ‘all the young people were drunk with hope and poetry.’” — Caroline Moorehead, The Wall Street Journal

“Shulman’s narrative blends the personal and the political, and raises timely questions—about living and making art when fascism is a boot on your neck; about how our individual stories complicate and inform our collective history; and about the wisdom and cost of letting our families—and nations—define us.The Age of Disenchantments has something important to show us about the urgency of history and our agency within it.” The Los Angeles Review of Books

“The book reads as so many squiggling lines of startling connections, a grave revisiting of the horrors of the [Spanish] Civil War, and as genuine wonder and appreciation for a singular family. The way the Paneros moved, changed, decayed, and ended is astonishing.” Full Stop 

“The paradox of The Age of Disenchantments is that the Paneros, with their fatal and theatrical destiny, serve to give a very balanced telling of the 20th century in Spain…Those who get irritated with English-language books that paint Spain as if it were a scene from Carmen can trust Shulman.” El Mundo (Spain)

“A fascinating and groundbreaking account of the complex social conditions that were obtained not only under Franco, but also in the brutal early years of the Civil War in Spain.” — Charles Donelan, Santa Barbara Independent

“Part history, part melodrama, and sure to entertain public library patrons attracted to family biographies or Spain.” Library Journal

“Shulman is able to bring to life the Panero family’s heartache and the Spanish Civil War’s devastation as only a trained journalist can: by mixing history, interviews, and well-honed research to complete a full picture for the reader. The resulting work avoids a dry historical retelling of the War, instead, weaving a narrative story that piques even non-historians’ interest.” San Francisco Book Review

“Aaron Shulman has written a fascinating account of the epic rise and fall of the Paneros, a literary family that lived at the vortex of change during Spain’s dramatic past century. In Shulman’s hands, the story of the gifted, doomed Paneros becomes an absorbing rumination on loyalty and betrayal, history and myth, literature and pretense, the nature of family, and memory itself. A remarkable book, and a compulsive read.” — Jon Lee Anderson, author of Che: A Revolutionary Life 

“At its heart, this book is about the soul of Spain. The lives of the Paneros—poets, writers, brothers, lovers, and rivals—roiled and rhymed with the revolutions and counterrevolutions of a nation in search of itself. As richly and intimately drawn as the characters might have drawn themselves.” — Joe Hagan, author of Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine 

 “Aaron Shulman shifts gears through Spanish poetry, film, biography, and his own autobiography and fits these pieces together like so many Russian dolls that are each independent yet somehow nestle into one harmonious unit. He revives the complex, passionate, and faded, Grey Gardens–like landscape of the Spanish past, and, thanks to his deep love for Spain, readers will be enchanted with the journeys he shares.” — Soledad Fox Maura, professor of Spanish and comparative literature, Williams College, and author of Exile, Writer, Soldier, Spy: Jorge Semprún 

“Two generations of ambitious poets get swept up in and then magically become Spain’s warring, momentous, weird, and tempestuous twentieth century. This is a mythic saga of artists passionately believing that they were shaping the world only to be utterly re-made by it. Read The Age of Disenchantments now before we are all binge-watching it on Netflix.” — Jack Hitt, author of Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain

“Betrayal and sacrifice, passion and poetry, the fate of a country if not a continent, epic destruction—all is in play in this sweeping yet intimate account. Yet what makes this book so truly rich and resonant is Shulman’s ability to expose the core humanity that underlies the entire saga. That feeling left in the gut is this book’s most satisfying, lasting gift.” — Mark Eisner, author of Neruda: The Poet’s Calling