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The Cypresses Believe in God Paperback – September 1, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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The Underground Railroad
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 900 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press; First Thus edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586170465
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586170462
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,160,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 27, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book is filled with emotion and depicts with great skill the life and feelings of the people of the town of Gerona in Spain in the years before the Civil War. The most important thing is the personalities of the characters, but the suspense is great (I could not stop reading it for three straight days). It is a monument to catholicism too. It makes you understand how such a thing as the Spanish War took place. It was reprinted several times and had great impact in Spain and was followed by two more books. In my opinion the author deserves a Nobel Prize
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Format: Hardcover
I've taken up history books of late - and picked up this novel to read it through a second time. Considered by most old Spaniards to be the most unbiased account of events leading up to the Spanish civil war.
What an amazing book! Not only is the story gripping, but the characters have an unmatched depth. Human conflict, both internal and external is portrayed with impressive deftness. The most influential philosophical movements of the 20th century are embodied in likeable, lovable, and sympathetic characters (anarchism, existentialism, communism, catholocism, etc). The Alvear family is touched by each through people they meet, and through changes in their beloved Gerona. But the Alvear's somehow avoid being absorbed into any one ideology and thus remain the perfect referees to convey the meaning in all that happens during these tumultuous years.
If you like history: read this book.
If you like philosophy: read this book.
If you like a great story: read this book.
At least, that's what I tell all the people to whom I've given copies.
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Format: Hardcover
I realize that I am overselling this book by calling it the greatest book I ever read but, it is. The reason for it is that I was always interested in the Spanish Civil War. I always viewed that event as a microcosm of the politics of the 20th Century. The problems with most histories of the event is that they don't fully cover the political spectrum. Gironella presents a review of life in Spain leading up to the outbreak of rebellion. In his use of characters, the reader is introduced to every faction involved; from anarchist to royalist and everything in between. This personalization of the politics makes it all the more understandable and gives one an insight to the many conflicts within the conflict. Yes, it's long but I didn't think so even after the second reading.
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Format: Paperback
Like Russian novels of the nineteenth century, Gironella's great book is quite lengthy. But once you start reading, you are hooked. As in all great novels, you come to know the characters as if they are live persons you have met. You want to know what happens next to them. To understand the Spanish Civil War--maybe, to understand fully any historical era, you must ironically turn to a novel that captures the personalities and passions that shape history. Gironella does that for us and reverses the immense and false propaganda, encouraged by writers like Hemingway, that the Loyalist government in Madrid was a noble cause, when in fact it was a vehicle for anti-Christian fanaticism of the worst kind. But Gironella, like any great novelist, does not just paint black-and-white characters. He shows the mixture of good and bad behind people of all ideological hues. He captures the passion and pride of Spain expressed in the dreams and commitments of individuals struggling against each other. They hated each other, but they were all Spaniards seeking dignity for themselves and for the nation in savagely contradictory ways, some of them rational, others barbaric. In addition, it is unmistakable that Gironella is a Catholic. Catholic wisdom courses through the novel without preachiness. It seeps through characters like Mosen Francisco ("Mosen" is a Spanish honorific for priests meaning literally "My Lord," similar to the title Don or Dom), or the Christ-figure of the book, César. You will not only understand Spain and her savage civil war: you will understand yourself and life better.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Cypresses Believe in God is one of my top five all time favorite works. It is great literature with the fantastic character development. It is political science with the even handed overview of the many political movements in the 1930's (particularly in Spain). This work is a great overview of what led up to the Spanish Civil War. This book also for me gave such a human answer to a question that always nags me..."how could something like the XYZ war happen?" My only regret is that I didn't read this work much earlier in life, or prior to my visits to Spain. The length of the book may scare some people away from reading it...please don't let that stop you. This is one of the few books I mourned being over. I really didn't want it to end. I then purchased the two following books in this trilogy (also fantastic).

This work is highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Spanish Civil War is neglected in the teaching of World History. Here is your chance to learn and remember what lead to the Spanish Civil War.There are three books in the series,before the war,during and after.You will learn why to this day artists,writers,and even Hollywood will not tell the truth of this awful slaughter of innocent Catholics and freedom loving people.
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