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An engrossing and revolutionary biography of Isabella of Castile, the controversial Queen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus's journey to the New World, established the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of the most influential female rulers in historyBorn at a time when Christianity was dying out and the Ottoman Empire was aggressively expanding, Isabella was inspired in her youth by tales of Joan of Arc, a devout young woman who unified her people and led them to victory against foreign invaders. In 1474, when most women were almost powerless, twenty-three-year-old Isabella defied a hostile brother and a mercurial husband to seize control of Castile and León. Her subsequent feats were legendary. She ended a twenty-four-generation struggle between Muslims and Christians, forcing North African invaders back over the Mediterranean Sea.

About the Author

Kirstin Downey

Kirstin Downey recently completed a biography of Queen Isabella of Castile, which is being published by Random House on October 28, 2014. She also serves as editor of FTC:WATCH, a newsletter that follows the Federal Trade Commission and the antitrust division of the Justice Department. She previously was employed as a writer and investigator for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, whose report became a New York Times bestseller. She wrote the book's first chapter, which detailed the many warnings that were issued to business executives and government officials about the looming problems in the mortgage market, but which were ignored. Ms. Downey is also the author of "The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life and Legacy of Frances Perkins," which was published in 2009, and was named one of the best biographies of the year by the American Library Association, Library of Congress and the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Ms. Downey was a reporter for The Washington Post from 1988 to 2008, winning press association awards for her business and economic reporting. She shared in the 2008 Pulitzer Prize awarded to the Post staff for its coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings. In 2000, she was awarded a Nieman fellowship at Harvard University. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

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