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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspirational read, 19 April 2013
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This review is from: Story of the Iron Column: Militant Anarchism in the Spanish Civil War (Paperback)
I've read all the standard histories of the Spanish civil war and revolution, some of which (particularly Beevor) are sympathetic to the anarchist/anarchosyndicalist experiences of that struggle, but the standard histories don't delve far in my opinion. There are a few books which give a feel for the actual, lived experiences of the CNT-FAI rank and file: Vision on Fire, an edited collection of Emma Goldman's thoughts on the Spanish Revolution is one example; The Story of the Iron Column is another. Standard works refer to the inadequacy of arms distribution on the anti-fascist side - Abel Paz makes it clear just how much this was a result of political machination and fatally rigid bureaucratic inertia, particularly on the part of the Communists, but also the wider bourgeois republican camp. The issue of militarisation and the resistance to it is not dealt with as some distant policy issue but is treated through the words and actions of the Iron Column's militians. You get a feel for the difficulties of the early hectic effort to shore up the front - when, for instance, a Guardia Civil detachment in the Iron Column defected to the fascists along with vital arms; and you get a feel of the betrayals experienced by the anarchists as the revolution was undermined and increasingly sabotaged by the Stalinist Communists and Socialists. In my opinion, you have to read books like this to get a feel for the struggle as it really happened in Spain in the 1930s, not as historians distantly document it.
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Story of the Iron Column: Militant Anarchism in the Spanish Civil War
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