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I am Spain: The Spanish Civil War and the Men and Women who went to Fight Fascism

I am Spain: The Spanish Civil War and the Men and Women who went to Fight Fascism [Kindle Edition]

David Boyd Haycock
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Praise for David Boyd Haycock

'It's well known that writers including Cornford, George Orwell, Stephen Spender, WH Auden, John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway went to war, but this is the first book to show clearly who was where when, moving through the war month by month. The results are fascinating. David Boyd Haycock is a skilful historian, providing analyses of the political and military machinations at the same time as he brings the battles to life. And he makes the most of his colourful cast, strewing the narrative with splendidly unlikely tales of quirky heroism. By the end of the book it feels as though almost every eccentric British intellectual found his or her way to Spain.'

'Haycock manages the drama in this tale with such skill that his story unfolds like a well-plotted novel. Never before have the private vicissitudes in these artists' lives been made so real or their exuberance so vivid'
Frances Spalding, Daily Mail

'Haycock's narrative of this entangled, war-defined group is so strong that it often has the force of a novel, hard to put down . . . We should call for a joint exhibition of [their] work, to complement the moving portrayal of their lives in this engrossing and enjoyable book.'
Jenny Uglow, Guardian BOOK OF THE WEEK

'A lucid study of the lives behind the art . . . What gives Haycock's book its freshness is that, through skilful use of letters and memoirs left by his five subjects, he injects it with the anxiety, ambition, self-doubt and jealousy that possessors of youth and talent are fated to feel'
John Carey, Sunday Times

'What a fascinatingly tangled mess of human lives! Haycock tells the whole story engagingly and unpretentiously: the human conflicts, the clashes of ideas, and the terrible disruptions of war beneath it all.'

'A sad tale, wonderfully told… [Haycock] fades the many different narratives in and out with ease'
Country Life

'Boyd Haycock sets the story of Nash, Spencer, Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler and Richard Nevinson against the backdrop of Britain before and during the war, and he delineates it all with real vigour. Recommended.'

'There is something endlessly appealing about a group of artists behaving badly while simultaneously creating their best work...Depression, doubt, love triangles and the horrors of war all conspire against their ambitions, causing their fortunes to diverge wildly... [Haycock's] research provides rich context, with personal letters supplying detail to every squabble or concern'

'A vintage decade of early twentieth century British art, told in vivid and entertaining detail through the adventures of five highly gifted young painters ... I greatly enjoyed it'
Sir Michael Holroyd

'Truly fascinating from every angle - almost a work of art in itself'
Books Quarterly

'An extraordinary book. I read it avidly ... The familiar cast is handled in a quite new and original way. They have been made fresh and vulnerable once more, and their work re-evaluated, made new to us'
Ronald Blythe

'Haycock's narrative teems with colourful characters and dramatic detail.'
Simon May --...

Product Description

George Orwell, Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, John Dos Passos, Felicia Browne, John Cornford, Stephen Spender... These were just some of the talented, committed and adventure-hungry men and women who travelled to Spain to join the struggle against General Franco's fascist rebellion. Through their personal letters, diaries and memoirs, David Boyd Haycock brings the experiences of these remarkable individuals -- as well as many less celebrated but equally compelling figures -- stunningly to life. He describes the mingled excitement and trepidation with which they set out for Spain, and their sheer relief that here at last was a chance to do something against the calamitous threat posed by Fascism. He evokes the glamour and the terror of wartime Barcelona, as Stalin's security forces lethally stifled dissent and imposed Party orthodoxy. And he charts the painful disillusionment of a generation of men and women as they witnessed the triumph of realpolitik over morality, and came to understand their impotence in the face of greater forces. Hemingway described the Spanish Civil War as 'the dress rehearsal for the inevitable European war'. I am Spain is at once a compelling, scrupulously researched account of this pivotal 20th-century conflict, and a moving, psychologically exact portrait of an extraordinary, passionate and gifted group of men and women whose minds and lives were changed by the experience of war.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4457 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Old Street Publishing (21 Nov 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #47,034 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An illuminating view of the Spanish Civil War 7 Nov 2012
I think the reviewer who criticised this book for not setting the war in its wider context misses the point. 'I am Spain' doesn't aim to be an exhaustive account of the Spanish Civil War - territory that has already been heavily trodden by historians. Rather, it offers a new lens through which to view the conflict - a European crisis that magnetically drew idealistic young people into its chaos and bloodshed. The book's strength is that it restricts its scope, taking this one episode from the lives of disparate characters from Hemingway to Orwell, and examining, vividly and often painfully, the effect it had on them. The parallels and contrasts between their reactions is illuminating. A highly recommended read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intimate introduction to a terrible Civil War 6 Nov 2012
I knew very little about the Spanish civil war before I read this book, but found this an engrossing introduction. I really enjoyed the author's last book, A Crisis of Brilliance, and this one is written in the same very readable style, full of intimate personal accounts drawn from letters, newspapers, autobiographies, etc. It's a terrible story though, of a horrible war fought in the shadow of a looming global disaster - another world war.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Does a good job 22 July 2014
Is it right for an author to rate his own book? Then, is it right for Amazon to get away with not paying their fair share of taxes by operating out of some tax haven in Europe whilst simultaneously undermining the high street bookshop in Britain and paying discounted royalties to authors? Probably not.

Anyway, re-reading this book after two years away from it, I think it does what I intended it to do very well indeed, even if Andrew Causey didn't like it. It's dramatic, exciting, puzzling, dangerous, tragic and sometimes funny - and all told through the words of people who were there - mostly British and Americans, but Germans, French and others too. If you want to learn about the Spanish Civil War without reading an ordinary history book, thenI'd say this is as good a place as any to start (though I would, wouldn't I).
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Havin A Spanish member of our family who lived through the results of this conflict this equipped me to undertstand better how deep this conflict permeates the Spanish psyche
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