Books: The Infatuated Traveler

IBERIA by James A. Michener. 818 pages. Random House. $10.

This hefty, meticulous report on the authors meanderings and experiences in Spain is, he says, "a 19th century English-style travel book." Happily, it is that and much more. It is an unabashed celebration of an old infatuation with a country, and thus has the engaging, slightly breathless quality that is rarely found in modern travel books, now that the world has grown small.

James Michener first visited Spain as a chart boy aboard a freighter that hauled oranges from the eastern coast to the marmalade factories of Dundee. In the 35 years since...