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The Spanish Holocaust [Paperback]

Paul Preston
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

31 Jan 2013

Selected as the Sunday Times History Book of the Year for 2012, this is a meticulous work of scholarship from the foremost historian of 20th-century Spain.

The culmination of more than a decade of research, ‘The Spanish Holocaust’ seeks to reflect the intense horrors visited upon Spain during its ferocious civil war, the consequences of which still reverberate bitterly today.

The brutal, murderous persecution of Spaniards between 1936 and 1945 is a truth that should have been told long ago. Paul Preston here offers the first comprehensive picture of what he terms “the Spanish Holocaust”: mass extra-judicial murder of some 200,000 victims, cursory military trials, torture, the systematic abuse of women and children, sweeping imprisonment, the horrors of exile. Those culpable for crimes committed on both sides of the Civil War are named; their victims identified.

‘The Spanish Holocaust’ illuminates one of the darkest, least-known eras of modern European history.


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The Spanish Holocaust + The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge + The Spanish Civil War: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress (31 Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006386954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006386957
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘A book of extraordinary moral and emotional power, a classic of historical scholarship and a deeply affecting record of man’s inhumanity to man.’ Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times

'A harrowing and moving account of the immense terror and enormous atrocities, especially perpetrated by General Franco's followers, during and after the Spanish Civil War, meticulously researched and superbly written by an outstanding historian.' Ian Kershaw

‘Essential reading for anyone wishing to understand Spain and its recent history…. Preston’s excellent, spine-chilling narrative explains just how deep Franco’s early investment in terror was….this is an invaluable book that does not shrink from even the harshest of truths’ Guardian

‘Preston’s staggeringly detailed powerful and affecting chronicle of the savagery unleashed during the Spanish civil war….is a history of rare moral and emotional power, which alters forever our view of one of the most symbolic conflicts of the last century’ Sunday Times, History Book of the Year

About the Author

Paul Preston CBE is Príncipe de Asturias Professor of Contemporary Spanish History and Director of the Cañada Blanch Centre of Contemporary Spanish Studies at LSE. He was lecturer at the University of Reading and Professor of History at Queen Mary University. In 2006 he was awarded the International Ramon Llull Prize by the Catalan Government. Among his many works are 'The Triumph of Democracy in Spain' (1986), 'Franco: A Biography' (1993), 'A Concise History of the Spanish Civil War' (1996), 'Comrades' (1999), 'Doves of War: Four Women in Spain' (2002), 'Juan Carlos' (2004) and 'The Spanish Civil War' (2006). He was decorated by Spanish King Juan Carlos a 'Comendador de la Orden de Mérito Civil' and in 2007, the 'Gran Cruz de la Orden de Isabel la Católica'.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stark and compelling - not for the faint hearted! 22 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am an unabashed Hispanophile - I first went to Spain in 1949. My father had an involvement with Harveys of Bristol and we drove to visit sherry bodegas in Jerez de la Frontera from Gibraltar, my mother's childhood home. It was the first foreign country I ever visited. I felt at home immediately.

Here I am 63 years later commenting on a book which should have been written many years ago but nobody had the courage to do so. During the several years that I lived and worked in the country and during the many visits that I have made since 1949 people were very reluctant to talk about the Civil War to me or my wife. One was aware of it, of course, but the circumstances and reasons for what happened seem to be so impossible to obtain that Spaniards seem to suffer from collective amnesia no matter which "side" they or their families were on. Of course, not many Spaniards who were involved at the time are now alive so first hand accounts are hard to come by. It seems that the experts on the period are either British - Hugh Thomas and Paul Preston, for example - or Irish, Ian Gibson, of course.

The Spanish Holocaust is not a book to be read for pleasure nor, indeed, quickly. Preston goes to pains to record the atrocities committed by both sides - it is a pity that at times he seems to want to register the "score" with the Nationalists clearly "winning" but he also places much emphasis on the equally insidious acts of the anarchist movement and the involvement of opportunistic criminal elements. What is very clear, and very disappointing to me as a Catholic, is that the Church took sides with the Nationalists and justified much of the mayhem - maybe the Church in the Basque Country was an exception.
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60 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monumental Scholarship 29 Mar 2012
Format:Hardcover
With this book Paul Preston has produced the most compelling account of the Spanish Civil War to date, presenting in unflinching detail its causes, its chaos, its carnage, and its consequences. Preston's limitless erudition is offered up in an elegant prose that refuses to sanitize or sensationalize a period marked by unspeakable atrocities that nevertheless must be spoken of. The traumatic tales told in this incredible memorial to human suffering will make the reader lay it down from time to time - as its author had to do in the writing of it. As someone whose father fought for the International Brigades in Spain, and was captured at Jarama in 1937 and imprisoned at Salamanca, I have a personal connection to the conflict, but this is not a book about the International Brigades, or heroism, or one that shies away from looking long and hard at the despicable violence on all sides. Preston's clear-eyed study will make readers cry, but his utterly unsentimental analysis of war crimes, while never resorting to easy morality or high-minded condemnation, is a salutary lesson in understanding one of the most vicious episodes in modern history. This is research in the interests of recovery of memory, and that's arguably among the most important roles that scholarship can fill.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Tone:
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really I was looking to see how the Germans got involved in bombing towns in Spain, that brought me to purchase this book. What have read so far is horrifying. The writer has given the reader all the details of the massacres that occured, province by province, not only the workers who were all classed a Communists but also the persecution of the Catholic church and deaths of Priests,Nuns and Nurses. It is a gripping read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and the definitive history. 12 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very, very comprehensive and unbiased. Be warned, even if you thought you knew a lot about the Spanish civil war and its consequences for the Spanish people, you will be shocked by the sheer numbers (not just numbers - many are named and the specific circumstances of their deaths recounted) and the pervasive brutal thinking behind many of the executions and atrocities set out. Also, I had not realised the enormity and violence of the repression that continued for so long AFTER the war had ended.
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! Definitive! 22 Mar 2012
By Joe
Format:Hardcover
Nobody has written about the Spanish Civil War quite like Paul Preston. He is the "go to" historian in both English and Spanish.

Preston's `The Spanish Civil War' is already the definitive book for any antifascist who wants to understand the tragedy that was the fall of Spanish Republic. Throughout his substantial cannon of work he has eloquently portrayed the sacrifices that men and women from across the world made to fight Franco's brutal fascist regime and the shadowy and sinister support he received from Hitler and Mussolini, that was criminally ignored by the rest of Europe.

`The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain' is Preston's tour de force and possibly even surpasses his unparalleled biography of Franco to become his most important contribution to our understanding of 20th century Spain. As ever, Preston has sought to re tell the events, massacres and heroism through the eyes and memories of the lives of those who suffered most. The tragic tales of men and women who took up arms against a military machine that wanted to crush all vestiges of democracy, humanity and secularism.

The primary premise of this 700 page work is that Franco's belief in a Jewish-Masonic-Bolshevik conspiracy resulted in a conscious and systematic attempt to eradicate all Republicans. Preston places the figure of murdered Republicans as high as 200,000 which certainly justifies his use of the term Holocaust. Franco's fanaticism even allowed the Nazis to test drop their bombs on the Spanish people. To its shame, the outside world refused to come to their aid.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars the definite story of Spain's civil war
With compelling personal stories and lots of data for every part of Spain under Franco's terror, the atrocities by Franco are far worse than that of the leftist civilians. Read more
Published 23 days ago by A. Brehm
5.0 out of 5 stars eye opening!
This is a breath taking and hugely impressive account of what is perhaps one of the least known or understood conflicts of the 20th century. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Billj
3.0 out of 5 stars A shocking account of the conditions experienced by the civilian...
Graphic accounts of what the Spanish people had to endure at the hands of Franco's forces and the sheer hatred of anyone who had a left wing opinion. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Roger Bridgeman
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
This book consists of a laundry list of atrocities recorded in the most minute detail. You can't see the wood for the trees. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Egregious
1.0 out of 5 stars Mistake
This was a grave mistake. I thought it might be a reasonably well written modern history, but it's a dull academic history written in screaming polemic. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Peter Fine
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
My husband is Catalan and after hearing many stories about the diabolical treatment of his nation by Franco and the like i felt i wanted to try and understand why and how it... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Toby Macmillan
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and well written.
A very unfortunate and harrowing part of Spanish history and this book helps one understand why it came about.
Recommended.
Published 7 months ago by Mr S ROWELL
4.0 out of 5 stars Spanish civil conflict
A better book to understand the difficult factions and religious groups in the spanish civil war than Anthony Beevor's book.
Published 8 months ago by john dunne
1.0 out of 5 stars ideological polemics masquerading as history
The book is really a part of the on-going polemics about the Spanish civil war. Preston has progressively abandoned pretensions to objectivity, and produced a pamphlet posing as a... Read more
Published 9 months ago by advokat
4.0 out of 5 stars Appaling
Until reading this book I had not appreciated just how vicious, nasty and barbaric this war was particularly by the Nationalists and Franco. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer. Vivienne
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