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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and well written, but incomplete, February 5, 2007
This review is from: The Collapse of the Spanish Republic, 1933-1936: Origins of the Civil War (Hardcover)
If there is a contested topic in recent European history, biased in many cases by political sympathies and hatreds, that is the Spanish Civil War. To understand this terrible event, it is necessary to look at the causes in the period prior to 1936, particularly at the developments during the Second Spanish Republic, from 1931 to the eve of the war. Payne's book tries to offer an objective and meticulous account of those convulsed years. In my opinion, he achieves the second point, providing a detailed picture of the events and their main characters, with powerful descriptions of their personalities. But he seems to fail in offering the completely unbiased work I was looking for, though I do not know if that would be possible. Particularly, he mostly blames the left, Socialists and Anarchists, for all the political violence characterizing the regime. Truly, many people, in Spain and out of Spain, have idealized the left Republicans, forgetting that the sectarian behavior of many politicians in the left were a direct cause of the radicalization of the right. A work like Payne's book was necessary to bring new light on this issue. In summary, the work is readable, interesting and valuable. But it should not be the only source of information on the topic. For example, the first part in Hugh Thomas's `The Spanish Civil War', entitled `The Origins of the War', provides a gentle and concise introduction to the topic.
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Location: St Paul, MN, USA

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