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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stark and compelling - not for the faint hearted!
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...
Published on 22 April 2012 by David J. Glazier

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41 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Disturbing
From the first sentence - when six labourers were shot as a lesson to others by the local landlord - to the last, which recounts a solitary death in a psychiatric hospital, this book is not so much a history as a relentless catalogue of atrocity. Curiously, each page reads almost the same as every other - more murder, rape and horror. After a few chapters I found it hard...
Published on 14 Mar 2012 by DK


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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MASTERPIECE, 15 Mar 2012
This review is from: The Spanish Holocaust (Hardcover)
"De entre todas las historias de la historia, sin duda la más triste es la de España, porque termina mal", wrote the poet Jaime Gil de Biedma "From all stories of history the saddest one is the story of Spain because it ends badly" No one is better qualified to tell this grim story than Paul Preston. He not only is the author of essential studies about Spanish contemporary history, but also has wonderful narrative and analytical skills. Both qualities have joined body and soul in this book. He very precisely (and painfully) illuminates the dark times of terror and suffering during the civil war describing brilliantly many of the ghastly events that broke so many lives and changed forever the life of a whole country. This book is simply a masterpiece
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary work., 10 Mar 2012
This review is from: The Spanish Holocaust (Hardcover)
Paul Preston has succeeded again. His recipe seems simple although, definitely, it is not an easy one: a more than impressive amount of research and evidence, historical and scholarly honesty (although not a pretended "neutrality"), and a stunning narrative account which provides vivid and often excruciating images of ferocity and ideological fanaticism and cruelty, but also reflects the human condition in times of war. Most important is his effort to seek the roots because, as Norbert Elias would put it, "terror and horror hardly ever manifest themselves without a fairly long process in which conscience decomposes". Regarding the Spanish Civil War, something that should not be forgotten -and Preston doesn't forget - is that it was a military coup what unleashed the killing and triggered fears and violence.
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33 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, 5 Mar 2012
By 
D. P. Mankin (Ceredigion, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Spanish Holocaust (Hardcover)
When I first picked up this well written, astutely researched but often heart-wrenching book I was immediatetely struck by the title; although by the time I had finished reading it I could well understand why the author, Paul Preston, opted to describe events in Spain under the Fascists as a 'Holocaust'. The book provides an insightful analysis of the smashing (and I use that word deliberately) of democracy in Spain. By focusing on ordinary people, rather than front line fighters, he succeeds in revealing the extent of Franco's brutal regime. I had not realised so many Spaniards (including women and children) had been tortured and murdered (this is a slaughter of the 'innocents' on an industrial scale). I suspect some will disagree with the author's adoption of 'Holocaust' in the title but if you read the book you will discover that this is more of, what I can best describe as a thought-provoking device, a way of challenging the reader's preconceptions about the Spanish Civil War (and its origins and consequences). I certainly deepened my understanding of Spanish history. Highly recommended.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding work - obligatory reading, 11 Mar 2012
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This review is from: The Spanish Holocaust (Hardcover)
If you want to know what really happened in Spain before, during and after the Spanish Civil War and how and why it was that thousand upon thousand of innocent men, women and children were persecuted, tortured and murdered, then this remarkable book is a truly essential read.
You don't need to be a historian to be able to appreciate The Spanish Holocaust. Paul Preston begins at the beginning - that is, with the struggle for survival of a desperate people totally subjugated to the utter inhumanity of a brutal ruling class - a ruling class whose brutality was further exacerbated by the government's attempts at social reform. Seeing such reform as a threat to their hitherto comfortable existence, a group of army generals led by Francisco Franco and backed by powerful landowners and the Catholic Church, staged a military coup to overthrow the government. It was this failed coup that provoked the bloody civil war that was to rage in Spain from 1936 to 1939.
Despite its eloquent narrative and meticulous attention to historical detail, the book is not a pleasant read. It provides a harrowing illustration of what can truly be described as `man's inhumanity to man'. Preston makes no attempt to respect neutrality, simply to respect the truth, and we are told the bare and dreadful facts in a narrative without drama or embellishment - horrifying and moving and compelling as it is.
The inhumanity continued even after the fighting was over. Thousands of fleeing civilians were bombed pitilessly by rebel aviators. Whole towns were systematically stripped of all townsfolk who might be deemed to pose a threat - including schoolteachers, doctors and anyone else in a position of influence. When these were not found, innocent citizens were arbitrarily selected to be executed in their place. With or without the pretence of justice, military or otherwise, people were herded into town squares or into the surrounding countryside and shot en masse, often being first made to dig their own graves.
Furthermore, survivors were denied the right to mourn their dead or to talk about their tragic experiences. This extraordinary book gives voice to that injustice.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spanish testament, 9 Aug 2012
By 
R. Baxell (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Spanish Holocaust (Hardcover)
As other reviewers have commented, this is not an easy read. The reader is confronted with page after page of detail forensic detail of the appalling brutality inflicted by Franco and his followers before, during and for many years after the Spanish Civil War. The book shows clearly that the Rebels' application of terror was a deliberate and systematic attempt to eradicate those whose vision of Spain differed from their own. Even to those who have studied this troubled period will find that Paul Preston's accounts of the contempt, loathing and murderous hostility that many of the Spanish Right felt towards anyone they associated with the Republican project are still shocking and deeply depressing. Despite or, in fact, because of this, it is an important book which demands to be read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and well written., 14 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Spanish Holocaust (Hardcover)
A very unfortunate and harrowing part of Spanish history and this book helps one understand why it came about.
Recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Spanish civil conflict, 27 Oct 2013
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A better book to understand the difficult factions and religious groups in the spanish civil war than Anthony Beevor's book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Appaling, 1 Oct 2013
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Until reading this book I had not appreciated just how vicious, nasty and barbaric this war was particularly by the Nationalists and Franco. Life was cheap and no-one was safe whether men, women, young children or prieists. Disgusting war not helped by the involvement of Germany, Italy & Russia along with the pathetic, misguided attitudes adopted by Britain & France.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and compelling, 15 Aug 2013
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traveller (stirling, scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Spanish Holocaust (Paperback)
I bought this as the Spanish Civil War is an event in history which I don't know too much about, and was glad that I picked this particular book. Meticulously researched, comprehensive in scope and very well written, it details the social and economic circumstances which led to the war, decribes all the events and horrors, and the consequences which are still being felt today. An totally absorbing read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars recommended for any one interested in Spain, 2 May 2013
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This review is from: The Spanish Holocaust (Paperback)
University dissertation was on Spanish Civil War so a very good book on the consequences of the war ignored by most commentators.
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The Spanish Holocaust
The Spanish Holocaust by Paul Preston (Paperback - 31 Jan 2013)
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