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Willy Maley (Glasgow, Scotland)

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The Spanish Holocaust
The Spanish Holocaust
by Paul Preston
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 23.46

61 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monumental Scholarship, 29 Mar 2012
This review is from: The Spanish Holocaust (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.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 3, 2013 11:28 AM GMT

by Mark Johnson
Edition: Hardcover

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave, breathtaking, brutally honest, 25 May 2007
This review is from: Wasted (Hardcover)
Lazy labels like `misery memoir' are slapped onto books of varying quality. Mark Johnson's Wasted, based on his life on the streets, is in a class of its own. It's a harrowing tale with a happy ending and a strong but far from simple message. Mark is an amazing success story, someone who, after years of abuse and addiction, offending and sleeping rough, has gone on to become living proof that rehab works. You could also say he's an example of the wisdom that comes with experience. In telling his own story, Mark is telling the story of other young people, and it's no surprise his ideas about mentoring are now being taken seriously by the probation service in England and Wales. There's nothing self-serving about his recollections, no denial, no preaching. This is the real deal from a writer who is bigger than the story he's telling, and with a story as powerful and compelling as this that's saying something. When Johnson talks about the world he came from, the one he left behind, and the one he wants to help others out of, his writing has the passing bell ring of truth. "Pranged is the tuning fork that never stops vibrating", Johnson says of the comedown from crack, "Pranged is fingernails on metal dustbin lids. Pranged is your body and mind being cut open and exposed to everything sharp in the world", and "pranged" is what the reader feels after putting down this brave, breathtaking, brutally honest book.

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