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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book, 5 Jun 2003
By 
Adam Bartleby "Bartleby2009" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Into the Heart of the Fire: The British in the Spanish Civil War (Paperback)
This title has the rare quality of being both rigourous and readable. Hopkins' use of archive material lends a substantive take on the Spanish War that is powerfully delivered in an economical style of writing that is at times heart-wrenching but never strays into the melodramatic; 'Spain is where men learned that men can be right yet be beaten, that force can vanquish spirit, that there are times when courage is not its own recompense'.

The book essentially falls into two parts, firstly a discussion of the class politics of the UK in the 1930's and then how this translated onto the bloody battlefields of Spain. The former might sound boring but is actually rich and highly rewarding - this is a book that is hard to put down.

A basic knowledge of the Spanish War (e.g. A Concise History of the Spanish Civil War might be useful before reading this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Where men realised that you can be right and be beaten', 9 May 2003
By 
Adam Bartleby "Bartleby2009" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Into the Heart of the Fire: The British in the Spanish Civil War (Paperback)
Professor Hopkin's book is an all to rare thing in academia; both rigourus and a joy to read.
If you have already read a concise history of the Spanish War and have found some romantic appeal to the volunteers of the International Brigades and that period in history, then I cannot reccomend this book more highly.
Beautifully written, well researched and of appropriately lengthy yet readable length, anyone with a genuine interest in the area will speed through the pages and come away with something all too rare in Spanish Civil War books: something new.
Whilst sympathetic to the Left and to the Republic and the volunteers who defended her, Hopkins pulls no punches in debunking the myths and inequities of Stalin's influence on the brigade.
Definitely one for any self respecting historian of the 20th century who thinks history is more than just watching a weepy Spielberg film.
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Into the Heart of the Fire: The British in the Spanish Civil War
Into the Heart of the Fire: The British in the Spanish Civil War by James K. Hopkins (Paperback - 1 Aug 2000)
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