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The Spanish Civil War: Revised Edition (Modern Library Paperbacks) Paperback – Abridged, December 4, 2001
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"Mr. Thomas has understood [the Spanish Civil War] incredibly well and has written it superbly. A full, vivid and deeply serious treatment of a great subject."
–Vincent Sheean, The New York Times Book Review
"Stands without rivals as the most balanced and comprehensive book on the subject."
–American Historical Review
From the Inside Flap
A masterpiece of the historian's art, Hugh Thomas's The Spanish Civil War remains the best, most engrossing narrative of one of the most emblematic and misunderstood wars of the twentieth century. Revised and updated with significant new material, including new revelations about atrocities perpetrated against civilians by both sides in this epic conflict, this "definitive work on the subject" (Richard Bernstein, "The New York Times) has been given a fresh face forty years after its initial publication in 1961. In brilliant, moving detail, Thomas analyzes a devastating conflict in which the hopes, dreams, and dogmas of a century exploded onto the battlefield. Like no other account, The Spanish Civil War dramatically reassembles the events that led a European nation, in a continent on the brink of world war, to divide against itself, bringing into play the machinations of Franco and Hitler, the bloodshed of Guernica, and the deeply inspiring heroics of those who rallied to the side of democracy. Communists, anarchists, monarchists, fascists, socialists, democrats -- the various forces of the Spanish Civil War composed a fabric of the twentieth century itself, and Thomas masterfully weaves the diffuse and fascinating threads of the war together in a manner that has established the book as a genuine classic of modern history.
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Top Customer Reviews
Let me tell you, this is one detailed, well-researched volume. From knowing essentially zero about this subject, I can now say that I know more than I'd ever hoped to know!
Well-written in a clear and concise narrative. Thomas recounts events from the late 18th century, which led to the formation of the Republic, and the politics and events which directly led to both the Rebellion (by what became the Nationalists) and the subsequent Revolution within the Republic by Anarchists, Socialists and Communists.
A very complex and highly confusing situation is rendered clear by author Thomas. Detailed assessments of not just the military struggle, but of all the parties involved on both sides, as well as those who tried NOT to become involved at all. Thanks to this book, I have a new understanding of just exactly what Anarchism is--and it's NOT simply chaos and lack of order, as the casual use of the word implies today. Details, too, on the Marxists, Communists, Liberals, Radicals, Revolutionaries, Socialists, POUM, PSUC, labor unions, Nationalists, Monarchists, Carlists, Falangists, Catalan separatists, Basques and more. The narrative documents as well, the involvement of the Russian, German and Italian governments; the "non" involvement of the French, UK, US and other governments; the role of "volunteers" in the Republican armies; naval matters; murders and reprisals; "terror"; and politics.
Amply documented sources, many from first person accounts of events and some from interviews the author conducted himself. Giant bibliography, if you care to read more. Reasonably unbiased account of the events that transpired as well as reasonably unbiased characterizations of the participants in the tragedy that was the Spanish Civil War. I whizzed through this book quickly and it held my interest well. Not at all a boring tome.
I give FIVE STARS to THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR by Hugh Thomas. Scholarly, yet eminently readable. The only thing that threw me for a loop was the Queen's English word "gaol", instead of the American English "jail"! ;>)
This book is amazing - it gives you all the facts, background, everything you need to know to find out what happened from before the war during the wars of succession and into the military coups of Primo de Rivera.
However, this book is not for the light of heart. It was intended as a major academic work, so it's not exactly a straight narrative that will sustain you on the beach.
In sum, read this book if you're hungry for knowledge, but pick something with a more narrow focus if you're looking for a more gripping narrative.
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