This is a very useful book for people with little knowledge of contemporary Spain. In keeping with the goals of the Interact Series, of which it is a volume, "Spain is Different" highlights basic cultural differences between Spain and the United States. (The title refers playfully to a much mocked tourist slogan from the 1960s.) This brief book is not a travel guide, nor does it offer much in terms of historical overview. Wattley-Ames does, however, explain in straight forward fashion basic dynamics of Spanish society that will be unfamiliar to many Americans. Her writing is clear and to the point. (After an introductory chapter that situates Spain in relationship to Europe, Latin America and the United States there follow chapters on Society and the Individual; Relationships; Language and Communication; Work; and, finally, Play.) For example, her four page summary of Spanish family relationships is, with one exception that I'll get to in a moment, right on target. Not only does she situate family life in a broad social context that will be helpful to Americans planning a visit or move to Spain, but she also points out common Spanish feelings about American families: "As for the American habit of moving to the other side of the country or the world without a backward glance, most Spaniards are both envious and dismayed." It's a perceptive and accurate observation. Now, for the exception: in the same section on the family, she has this to say about the thorny issue of child raising in an American-Spanish marriage: "The American is inevitably stricter than the Spaniard about mealtimes, snacks, treats, and naps. Spanish children typically enjoy large quantities of attention and few rules at home." This last sentence is true, but a Spanish parent, especially a mother, may find American eating habits and table manners decidedly lenient. (And as an American married to a Spaniard, well, maybe I'm the exception to Wattley-Ames' rule...) Wattley-Ames' text is judiciously sprinkled with Spanish words and expressions that serve to underscore observations. She is clearly knowledgeable of her subject matter and the book is free of significant errors, although I might quibble with some omissions. (Her discussion of regional languages and linguistic politics, for example, is a little misleading and too brief.) On the other hand, her observations on Spanish social life are particularly astute. Just as importantly, she is well aware of the dangers of generalization and stereotyping, and combats this intelligently by accompanying her observations with appropriate real life examples, proverbs, quotes from respected Spanish observers, etc. Of particular value are the chapter ending "encounters", which provide concrete examples of situations in which an American would benefit from having 'cultural literacy' regarding Spanish customs and behaviors. There is a brief bibliography that includes a valuable section on recent Spanish cinema.