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Showing 1-10 of 89 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 140 reviews
on September 2, 2017
I've read - and loved! - Antony Beevor's Stalingrad and had high expectations of this book. But it never got going... it is detailed, it gave me great insights into the civil war and the back ground, origins and what happened, but it somehow never got "personal". It consistently hovered at a 10000 feet above the story. Get this book as a good covering intro of the Spanish Civil War, but don't expect it to be like Stalingrad which grips you and never lets go...
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on May 11, 2013
A very long and detailed history of the Spanish Civil War. It actually starts out with a brief history of the centuries preceding the Civil War, which I found very interesting in interpreting how the different factions came into being.

I second the recommendation by other readers that you bookmark the section summarizing the various groups. You'll be referring to it numerous times, as you get lost in the alphabet soup of acronyms.

Another thing that strikes me as odd is how many reviewers seem to focus on which side Beevor seems to favor. Personally, I would say that his coverage is quite balanced. Yes, the anarchists come out looking better than the other groups, but that might well be simply because they were marginalized so early on. Mostly, it seems to be depressingly similar to so many conflicts that we see today. The major powers of the day mostly remain neutral, but at best their neutrality ends up hurting one side more than the other, and, worse, they turn a blind eye to help given to the sides by other nations. The end result is that extremist groups end up dominating both sides in the conflict.

Overall, the book has really opened my eyes to the actual nature of the Spanish Civil War. Very different from the romanticized popular history of an heroic, losing battle of democracy against fascism. As Beevor points out, it really is an unusual case of a history that was written by the losers.

I have the Kindle edition, which suffers from some flaws that have me wishing for the paper edition. There are numerous footnote indicators, which do not link to the actual notes in the back of the book. That makes it incredibly frustrating to actually use the footnotes, and I ended up ignoring them. It is also not set up for x-ray, which would have been a huge help in dealing with the number of names that occur at wide intervals in the book. The formatting is also odd--there are numerous places where a paragraph break occurs in the middle of a Spanish name. I have no idea what about the scanning process introduces this, but it's a bit jarring, and I think that some sentences were lost as well.
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on September 10, 2017
If you care about the Spanish Civil War, this is the book to own. The author is balanced and thorough in his appraisal of the Republican vs the Nationalists, and comes across as thoughtful, informative and rigorous. The book is not as easy to read as a novel, but if you care about facts,it does a great job presenting the conflict objectively. I was impressed by the author's level-headedness and scholarship.
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on November 26, 2014
If it wasn't for the death and tragedy the Spanish Civil War was a over long Monty Python sketch.
It was farcical with the splinter groups, all with their own agenda's.

There were groups that were genuine and weren't taking instructions from foreign government but this was rare, just amazing.

This is a very good over view if a tad dry with the facts just hammering you.

What does astound that Franco held power until 1975;,the entire world interferes in each others business but Franco was allowed to carry on for 36 years.

Not a light read but if you need a bit of education or lot of education on the Spanish Civil Way like myself, this is a good place to start.
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on September 13, 2017
Good read for history buffs
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on April 18, 2008
Lest I repeat what others have already written so well (and so many times), I will just affirm that this book is mainly up to Beevor's usual standard. Beevor has done us a great service in writing it as well, because the Spanish Civil War is probably one of the more poorly understood wars of the last century. I for one am grateful to have this resource.

My only gripe is that it seems that he inserted a lot of the information recently gleaned from Soviet archives, in a rather piecemeal fashion. There were a number of paragraphs or, more often, sentences, that seemed out of place to me. I cannot be certain that these were not part of the original, but regardless, the flow that I enjoyed in _Paris after the War_ and _Stalingrad_ did seem to be choppier in _The Battle for Spain_.

Because of that, if I were going to buy a Beevor book for narrative enjoyment, rather than to learn about history, I would buy his book on Olga Chekhova. I would not skip this one- I would just save it for a long winter, rather than the beach.
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on May 16, 2016
Great read, easy to follow for a complex group of different factions, sad at times, double cross of allies and of course the only real losers were the Spanish people, both Republican and Nationalist sides sold Spain's wealth to further their cause, very good insight of the lead up to WWII
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on July 26, 2014
As someone who knew very little about this war other than reading Hemmingway this was well written and understandable. I had recently visited Spain for the first time and this shed a lot of light on things that I observed in different parts of the country. Also very instructive on the internal complications of civil wars that the US might or might not wish to weigh in on. I read a lot of history and this was the best book I have read so far this year.
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on July 11, 2017
Full of great research. Spain arguably was prologue to the Second World War. Franco a forgotten brutal tyrant until 1975.
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on August 7, 2014
Great overview of all the events of the Spanish Civil War with an emphasis on battles and military aspects over political elements, though both are covered adequately. Beevor's work comes across as refreshingly unbiased honest and scholarly in such a politically charged war.
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