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For a "very short" book this gave me a good grounding in a period of history I knew very little about. It taught me a great deal and covered all aspects of the subject in a way that made me want to read another more detailed book on the War. I don't know if this is typical of the series, but I was impressed.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Or did the tech man speed up the recording of his own initiative? When you listen, it helps to mechanically turn down the speed of the narration -and then it sounds weird in a different way but at least you can think about what the author is saying. If you listen at the set speed, you get the impression that the reader doesn't have a clue about the meaning of what he is reading aloud.
This Very Short Introduction offers a powerfully-written explanation of the war's complex origins and course, and explores its impact on a personal and international scale. It also provides an ethical reflection on the war in the context of Europe's tumultuous twentieth century, highlighting why it has inspired some of the greatest writers of our time, and how it continues to resonate today in Britain, continental Europe, and beyond.
Throughout the book, the focus is on the war as an arena of social change where ideas about culture were forged or resisted, and in which both Spaniards and non-Spaniards participated alike. These were conflicts that during the Second World War would stretch from Franco's regime, which envisaged itself as part of the Nazi new order, to Europe and beyond. Accordingly, this book examines Spanish participation in European resistance movements during World War II and also the ongoing civil war waged politically, economically, judicially and culturally inside Spain by Francoism after its military victory in 1939. History writing itself became a battleground and the book charts the Franco regime's attempt to appropriate the past. It also indicates its ultimate failure - as evident in new writings on the war and, above all, in the return of Republican memory now occurring in Spain during the opening years of the twenty-first century.
* Hugely emotive and enduring subject that inspired writers such as Hemingway, Orwell, and Laurie Lee.
* Integrates the political, social, and cultural history of the civil war.
* Discusses the latest historical debates and applies a highly dramatic narrative, with plenty of personal experience woven into the analysis.
* Assesses the impact of the war on Spain's transition to democracy and its contemporary political culture.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
The Spanish Civil War is a pivotal moment in world history, perhaps the greatest and most tragic failure of appeasement. An internal struggle between the elected government and the Military, that became the great cause of the Left around the world. Graham's book doesn't really touch on the rise of the Communists as the dominant force within the Republicans or the reasons for, namely the failure of the Western Democracies to support the Spanish Government with Arms supplies. This allowed the Soviet Union as the only legitimate supplier to exhort greater influence. The book does do what it sets out to do, I must concede that, it is an introduction to a forgotten moment in history and one that deserves a more prominent place at the historical table. For those wanting a more complete and thorough account, look no further than Antony Beevor's The Battle for Spain.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful