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SPAIN AT WAR is a fascinating book that I was assigned to read while taking Spanish history in college, but that I subsequently enjoyed and reread several times afterward, even writing notes in the margins in order to deepen my understanding of the themes. It is a British book, so ultimately it is from foreigners' perspectives and a little stereotyping is probably inevitable. Still, you certainly do not have to be a Spaniard (and I am not) to be thrilled by the descriptions and have your imagination challenged. It is a must-read for anyone, anywhere in the world, who wants to more fully understand not only the Spanish Civil War, but World War II and class and political conflicts in the modern world as well.
What is perhaps the most interesting aspect of this book is that it offers a snapshot of the 1930s that most Americans would not be likely to hear from their grandparents' or great-grandparents' reminiscences, or from nostalgic Hollywood period films or TV shows. The countercultural 1960s could hardly compare to all the social dislocations and ideological turmoil that rocked Europe during the Great Depression years, especially in countries such as Germany, Italy, or (of course) Spain. Though in one sense it was a time of great violence and injustice, there also existed many forms of liberation - for the poor, for freethinkers on both ends of the political spectrum, and (perhaps most dramatically of all) for women. It was a truly exciting period in history, when ordinary people felt empowered by their beliefs and were willing to fight, kill, and die for them.Read more ›
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Unfortunately a very superficial and biased account of that violent conflict. The authors often omit important facts to further their own idealogical agenda (pro-Republican in this case.)One cannot help but recieve the impression that the authors fail to fully comprehend and analyze certain key aspects and motivations involved (Carlism or the violence and character of the Republican religious persecution are notable examples.)The bibliography is useful but fails to include the groundbreaking and fresh scholarship of Warren Carroll and some others on the topic. This book is of very limited value to the serious student of the period (1931-1939).