Straddling a small corner of Spain and France in a land that is marked on no maps except their own, the Basques are a puzzling contradiction - they are Europe's oldest nation without ever having been a country. No one has ever been able to determine their origins, and even the Basques' language, Euskera - the most ancient in Europe - is related to none other on earth. For centuries, their influence has been felt in nearly every realm, from religion to sports to commerce. Even today, the Basques are enjoying what may be the most important cultural rennaissance in their long existence. Mark Kurlansky's passion for the Basque people and his exuberant eye for detail shine throughout this fascinating book. Paperback, 372 pages, Mark Kurlansky Author, Penguin publishing.