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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Spanish Civil War
`The Spanish Civil War' is a well researched and scholarly account of this often overlooked, but contentious conflict. The first hundred pages of this book are the driest to read which doesn't bode well initially, but with perseverance it quickly become more engaging and interesting to read. The first part of the book explores the setting and lead up to the war and is...
Published on 25 Nov 2009 by Spider Monkey

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Spanish Civil War according to a Stalinist apologist
Far too short on detail for me. Plus I find Preston too much of an apologist for the Spanish Communist Party in regard to its actions during the Spanish Civil War. I really did not agree with his generalised opinions on the Anarchists and other Leftist factions either but then again I am extremely biased in that regard. I agree with the author that thanks to the Spanish...
Published 13 months ago by steven trotter


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5.0 out of 5 stars The Spanish Civil War. Reaction, Revolution and Revenge, 8 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge (Paperback)
I am old enough to remember this war, but had no idea of the atrocities committed, although I new that Franco allowed the Germans to bomb Guernica. This book opens one's eyes to the horror of war.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Spanish Civil War by Paul Preston, 23 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge (Paperback)
The ultimate reference book (in English) on the Spanish Civil War. Summarises the background, the build-up and the events that made up this horrific conflict which happened so recently that the wounds are yet to heal.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spanish Civil War etc., 19 May 2013
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This review is from: The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge (Paperback)
Paul Preston is the ultimate on the Spanish civil war, his research is phenomenal and so detailed. He is always worth reading
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2.0 out of 5 stars The Spanish civil war by Paul Preston, 10 April 2013
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Charles F. Reynard "foxy" (england) - See all my reviews
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I found this book very repetitive and confusing. It is obvious the author knows his subject but falls into the trap of trying to impress the reader with long words and Spanish words and expressions. It would have been better if he had dealt with the events in chronological order and included more descriptions of the actual battles instead of concentrating mainly on the political and personal dealings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the best, 2 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge (Paperback)
Preston is a master of his subject matter and no one writes as authoritatively as he does about Spain and the Civil War. This is a brilliant and important book.
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26 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine work, 2 May 2007
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M. P. Crowther "Writer-historian-student" (Aylesbury, Bucks) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge (Paperback)
This book was essentially re-edited owing to the 70th anniversary of the war that started last year and will end in 2009. Preston's work on the subject is exemplary to begin with and this particular book is no exception.

Admittedly, I brought it to help with study and read it to help with revision some months later. However, Preston's book is interesting and informative on the matter. It might not be as long as others on the war but it is nonetheless a fine work. It is a perfect book for those who know little or nothing on the war and should not be overlooked when considering the war.
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent., 24 July 2009
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Rinconete (Córdoba, Spain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge (Paperback)
A superbly written brief history of the Spanish Civil War, well documented and very revealing. It is no sin to defend the constitutional government of the Republic and criticize ( or rather describe things as they really happened) a group of fascist generals who rose against it. Paul Preston's books are always a treasure and his knowledge of contemporary Spanish History impressive.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 31 Aug 2014
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A very well written,sensitive and extremely moving account of the complex circumstances which gave rise to the civil war and a well balanced analysis it's main events and the atrocities of the subsequent Franco regime.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have book., 18 Dec 2011
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This review is from: The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge (Paperback)
Alan Massie wrote of Preston that he "knows more about the Spanish Civil War than any other Englishman; more, even, than those who fought it."

If you are interested in understanding why many consider the Spanish Civil War to be 'the first modern war' , and if you interested in reading about the war that represented the 20th century's first major existential struggle between all the leading ideologies of the period, then Preston's book is no less than essential reading.

Preston skillfully describes the clashes between the aims and objectives of anarchism, fascism, communism, socialism, capitalism, materialism, imperialism, elitism and racism as well as outlining the collisions between hegemonic strategies and the development of class consciousness, in a part of Europe still struggling to come to terms with the shattering effects of the Industrial Revolution and the remnants of a serf, land-owner and master relationship between the people.

Preston has done a masterful job here, demystifying, carefully analysing and assessing the sometimes bewildering array of diverse political groupings,( CNT, POUM,Stalinist, extreme anarchist, Durutti's forces, Trotksy-ite, conservative Catholic, Phalange, North African mercenary etc) and he manages to do so in an even handed, fair,unemotional,detached, scholarly and unbiased manner. Many histories of the period are slanted and biased towards the communist resistance, or they idealise the anarchist resistance, or they offer a conservative-traditionalist nostalgic whitewashed view of the war. Preston however, takes no sides, and he tells us of the successes, failures and brutalities of all the diverse factions, in a spare and unadorned prose style.

Preston has written a masterful text, which is unlikely to be bettered any time soon, and he has received praise and respect from a number of academic journals and other highly regarded historians (such as Ian Kershaw)

Especially essential here is Preston's addition of a thirty page essay on his bibliographical sources - whatever your particular area of sympathy in the conflict ( anarchist, conservative, fascist, traditionalist, socialist) then you will find a lengthy description of all the texts that Preston considers worthwhile.

Preston's text also offers outstanding analysis of war strategy and cunning, and will be of great interest to followers of neo realist historians such as Mearsheimer, Waltz, and Morgenthau.

Like Eric Hobsbawm and Raul Hilberg, Preston writes beautifully, with a meticulous attention to detail and with an unadorned narrative and prose style -- I can't recommend his book highly enough.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A concise and largely enjoyable account, 27 April 2011
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This review is from: The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge (Paperback)
This book is very good if you want a concise account of a conflict which is little-known by many. All the main aspects of the conflict are included, such as the 'build-up', key battles, and the politics (both domestic and international) of it.

As a general reader, 300 pages covered all I really wanted to know (as well as a map, which really helped my understanding of the conflict), although others may wish to look elsewhere if 300 pages looks a bit light to them (possibly towards Anthony Beevor's book on the subject; although I have not read it, I'm guessing that at 600+ pages it is more in-depth).

My only real complaints include the 'dryness' of some sections. The first section especially so; whilst I enjoy background information, some of it was just boring and (I found) unnecessary. In addition, I found the masses of names, acronyms (etc.) tough going at first, but not too bad once I got a few chapters in (relevant glossaries are included, but still annoying to keep flicking to).

Overall, it was concise and worth reading.
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The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge
The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge by Paul Preston (Paperback - 5 Jun 2006)
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