This book, a history of Spanish Protestantism, is a story of Catholic suppression of ""heresy,"" a story of cruelty, ignorance, and inhumanity--all perpetuated in the name of Christ and State. Franco's Spain, as Carmen Irizarry sees it, is a medieval religious state in Fascist trappings, an hermetically sealed Catholic society which equates Protestantism with moral degeneracy and political subversion. It is the only place in the world where the ""true"" religion has been fulfilled. Today, Spain's Catholic absolutism is threatened by the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Freedom, but its immediate impact on the thirty thousand evangelicos remains to be seen. The author has read widely and brought together much good material here, the best of it gathered from personal interviews and extensive travel. Although the subject matter is itself fascinating, however, it suffers considerably by the technique used in the telling. The author rightly believes that modern Spain must be understood in the light of its past. But Mr. Irizarry, a member of The Reader's Digest staff in Madrid, is unfortunately no writer of history. The first section of the book, a discussion of the beginnings of Protestantism in Spain in the sixteenth century, is pedantic and dull. Fortunately, the bulk of the book deals with the present. Here, as a reporter, Mr. Irizarry excels. The writing is lively, personal, and meaningful. Despite its shortcomings therefore, The Thirty Thousand is a vigorous and pioneering study, one well worth reading.