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on 26 July 2012
The Battle for Spain
The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
By Antony Beevor

A review by the Cote d'Azur Men's Book Group

Professional historians often take comfort from the mass of detail in once secret files and wax eloquent when they are opened to scrutiny and reveal new versions of what really happened, for, as Churchill wrote "in war the truth must be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies"
Antony Beevor has produced the latest edition of the The Spanish Civil War that was first published in 1982 and reprinted by various publishers. It is not the same book as the original for it has been rewritten in many parts to include, in particular, the role of the Soviet Union in stoking the flames of war, supplying planes, tanks and ammunition and because the NKVD files show how the game was worth playing from the communist point of view.
The war was as violent and vicious as one would have feared. What was different was that all the then great powers had surrogate fingers on the trigger.Many films and videos have attested to the terrible human cost and books, by George Orwell and Heminway's Farewell to Arms testified to its raw brutality.
Germany supplied Franco's nationalists with everything they needed and, as the bombing of Guernica showed, used the battle as a training ground for the Second World War. Hit;er made Spain pay through the nose for his support and Russia made off with tons of Spanish gold. Those two comrades in arms also helped themselves to the spoils of war while extending hands of alleged political friendship
So what new has the author provided to whet our appetites? W ell, this book is described by The Times Literary Supplement reviewer as "a moving masterpiece of the indictment of war" and "a brilliant achievement", words that left the Book Group in a quandary. Members thought the book was packed with far too much detail and even trying to follow the orders of battle was confusing. Do we really want to know who was with what political organisation, that the communists were split into specific political groupings and that by joining the "wrong" cell you would be on Stalin's death list?
Facts, Russian facts culled from the secret files, are merely interesting not breathtaking. The NKVD did what they have always done, disposing of their enemies and even their friends on the streets, in the dungerons and on the battlefields while Franco murdered real enemies and also hapless innocent civilians caught up in the battles. Political opposition groups were shown no mercy.
Many British left wing idealists and intellectuals joined the Republican cause only to be disillusioned and fearing a NKVD bullet in the head, execution style, while thousands of refugees fled the country and Franco . A number of them ended in Russia where the Spanish Blue Division was formed and fought for the Russians on the Leningrad Front.
Countless thousands of Spaniards were sent to the infamous Gulags and many of those who stayed at home were persecuted. It turned out to be probably the first surrogate war in which foreign countries were content to watch from a distance and in the end pick over the bones and booty.
The Battle for Spain is a scholarly book but seems to lack Beevor's usual clarity and mastery of important detail. This is disappointing given the circumstances, the many recorded instances of atrocities but above all the red hot passion of the Spanish people does not emerge in cold print.
It is thirty years since the first publication. It quite possibly was a masterpiece then but the book group found it difficult to repeat that accolade today. It is undoubtedly of great importance for the professional historian, but it is now too much for the general readers.

The Battle for Spain
The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
By Antony Beevor

A review by the Cote d'Azur Men's Book Group

Professional historians often take comfort from the mass of detail in once secret files and wax eloquent when they are opened to scrutiny and reveal new versions of what really happened, for, as Churchill wrote "in war the truth must be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies"
Antony Beevor has produced the latest edition of the The Spanish Civil War that was first published in 1982 and reprinted by various publishers. It is not the same book as the original for it has been rewritten in many parts to include, in particular, the role of the Soviet Union in stoking the flames of war, supplying planes, tanks and ammunition and because the NKVD files show how the game was worth playing from the communist point of view.
The war was as violent and vicious as one would have feared. What was different was that all the then great powers had surrogate fingers on the trigger.
Germany supplied Franco's nationalists with everything they needed and, as the bombing of Guernica showed, used the battle as a training ground for the Second World War. Hit;er made Spain pay through the nose for his support and Russia made off with tons of Spanish gold. Those two comrades in arms also helped themselves to the spoils of war while extending hands of alleged political friendship
So what new has the author provided to whet our appetites? W ell, this book is described by The Times Literary Supplement reviewer as "a moving masterpiece of the indictment of war" and "a brilliant achievement", words that left the Book Group in a quandary. Members thought the book was packed with far too much detail and even trying to follow the orders of battle was confusing. Do we really want to know who was with what political organisation, that the communists were split into specific political groupings and that by joining the "wrong" cell you would be on Stalin's death list?
Facts, Russian facts culled from the secret files, are merely interesting not breathtaking. The NKVD did what they have always done, disposing of their enemies and even their friends on the streets, in the dungerons and on the battlefields while Franco murdered real enemies and also hapless innocent civilians caught up in the battles. Political opposition groups were shown no mercy.
Many British left wing idealists and intellectuals joined the Republican cause only to be disillusioned and fearing a NKVD bullet in the head, execution style, while thousands of refugees fled the country and Franco . A number of them ended in Russia where the Spanish Blue Division was formed and fought for the Russians on the Leningrad Front.
Countless thousands of Spaniards were sent to the infamous Gulags and many of those who stayed at home were persecuted. It turned out to be probably the first surrogate war in which foreign countries were content to watch from a distance and in the end pick over the bones and booty.
The Battle for Spain is a scholarly book but seems to lack Beevor's usual clarity and mastery of important detail. This is disappointing given the circumstances, the many recorded instances of atrocities but above all the red hot passion of the Spanish people does not emerge in cold print.
It is thirty years since the first publication. It quite possibly was a masterpiece then but the book group found it difficult to repeat that accolade today. It is undoubtedly of great importance for the professional historian, but it is now too much for the general readers.
End

The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
By Antony Beevor

A review by the Cote d'Azur Men's Book Group

Professional historians often take comfort from the mass of detail in once secret files and wax eloquent when they are opened to scrutiny and reveal new versions of what really happened, for, as Churchill wrote "in war the truth must be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies"
Antony Beevor has produced the latest edition of the The Spanish Civil War that was first published in 1982 and reprinted by various publishers. It is not the same book as the original for it has been rewritten in many parts to include, in particular, the role of the Soviet Union in stoking the flames of war, supplying planes, tanks and ammunition and because the NKVD files show how the game was worth playing from the communist point of view.
The war was as violent and vicious as one would have feared. What was different was that all the then great powers had surrogate fingers on the trigger.
Germany supplied Franco's nationalists with everything they needed and, as the bombing of Guernica showed, used the battle as a training ground for the Second World War. Hit;er made Spain pay through the nose for his support and Russia made off with tons of Spanish gold. Those two comrades in arms also helped themselves to the spoils of war while extending hands of alleged political friendship
So what new has the author provided to whet our appetites? W ell, this book is described by The Times Literary Supplement reviewer as "a moving masterpiece of the indictment of war" and "a brilliant achievement", words that left the Book Group in a quandary. Members thought the book was packed with far too much detail and even trying to follow the orders of battle was confusing. Do we really want to know who was with what political organisation, that the communists were split into specific political groupings and that by joining the "wrong" cell you would be on Stalin's death list?
Facts, Russian facts culled from the secret files, are merely interesting not breathtaking. The NKVD did what they have always done, disposing of their enemies and even their friends on the streets, in the dungerons and on the battlefields while Franco murdered real enemies and also hapless innocent civilians caught up in the battles. Political opposition groups were shown no mercy.
Many British left wing idealists and intellectuals joined the Republican cause only to be disillusioned and fearing a NKVD bullet in the head, execution style, while thousands of refugees fled the country and Franco . A number of them ended in Russia where the Spanish Blue Division was formed and fought for the Russians on the Leningrad Front.
Countless thousands of Spaniards were sent to the infamous Gulags and many of those who stayed at home were persecuted. It turned out to be probably the first surrogate war in which foreign countries were content to watch from a distance and in the end pick over the bones and booty.
The Battle for Spain is a scholarly book but seems to lack Beevor's usual clarity and mastery of important detail. This is disappointing given the circumstances, the many recorded instances of atrocities but above all the red hot passion of the Spanish people does not emerge in cold print.
It is thirty years since the first publication. It quite possibly was a masterpiece then but the book group found it difficult to repeat that accolade today. It is undoubtedly of great importance for the professional historian, but it is now too much for the general readers.

End
The Battle for Spain
The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
By Antony Beevor

A review by the Cote d'Azur Men's Book Group

Professional historians often take comfort from the mass of detail in once secret files and wax eloquent when they are opened to scrutiny and reveal new versions of what really happened, for, as Churchill wrote "in war the truth must be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies"
Antony Beevor has produced the latest edition of the The Spanish Civil War that was first published in 1982 and reprinted by various publishers. It is not the same book as the original for it has been rewritten in many parts to include, in particular, the role of the Soviet Union in stoking the flames of war, supplying planes, tanks and ammunition and because the NKVD files show how the game was worth playing from the communist point of view.
The war was as violent and vicious as one would have feared. What was different was that all the then great powers had surrogate fingers on the trigger.
Germany supplied Franco's nationalists with everything they needed and, as the bombing of Guernica showed, used the battle as a training ground for the Second World War. Hit;er made Spain pay through the nose for his support and Russia made off with tons of Spanish gold. Those two comrades in arms also helped themselves to the spoils of war while extending hands of alleged political friendship
So what new has the author provided to whet our appetites? W ell, this book is described by The Times Literary Supplement reviewer as "a moving masterpiece of the indictment of war" and "a brilliant achievement", words that left the Book Group in a quandary. Members thought the book was packed with far too much detail and even trying to follow the orders of battle was confusing. Do we really want to know who was with what political organisation, that the communists were split into specific political groupings and that by joining the "wrong" cell you would be on Stalin's death list?
Facts, Russian facts culled from the secret files, are merely interesting not breathtaking. The NKVD did what they have always done, disposing of their enemies and even their friends on the streets, in the dungerons and on the battlefields while Franco murdered real enemies and also hapless innocent civilians caught up in the battles. Political opposition groups were shown no mercy.
Many British left wing idealists and intellectuals joined the Republican cause only to be disillusioned and fearing a NKVD bullet in the head, execution style, while thousands of refugees fled the country and Franco . A number of them ended in Russia where the Spanish Blue Division was formed and fought for the Russians on the Leningrad Front.
Countless thousands of Spaniards were sent to the infamous Gulags and many of those who stayed at home were persecuted. It turned out to be probably the first surrogate war in which foreign countries were content to watch from a distance and in the end pick over the bones and booty.
The Battle for Spain is a scholarly book but seems to lack Beevor's usual clarity and mastery of important detail. This is disappointing given the circumstances, the many recorded instances of atrocities but above all the red hot passion of the Spanish people does not emerge in cold print.
It is thirty years since the first publication. It quite possibly was a masterpiece then but the book group found it difficult to repeat that accolade today. It is undoubtedly of great importance for the professional historian, but it is now too much for the general readers.

End
The Battle for Spain
The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
By Antony Beevor

A review by the Cote d'Azur Men's Book Group

Professional historians often take comfort from the mass of detail in once secret files and wax eloquent when they are opened to scrutiny and reveal new versions of what really happened, for, as Churchill wrote "in war the truth must be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies"
Antony Beevor has produced the latest edition of the The Spanish Civil War that was first published in 1982 and reprinted by various publishers. It is not the same book as the original for it has been rewritten in many parts to include, in particular, the role of the Soviet Union in stoking the flames of war, supplying planes, tanks and ammunition and because the NKVD files show how the game was worth playing from the communist point of view.
The war was as violent and vicious as one would have feared. What was different was that all the then great powers had surrogate fingers on the trigger.
Germany supplied Franco's nationalists with everything they needed and, as the bombing of Guernica showed, used the battle as a training ground for the Second World War. Hit;er made Spain pay through the nose for his support and Russia made off with tons of Spanish gold. Those two comrades in arms also helped themselves to the spoils of war while extending hands of alleged political friendship
So what new has the author provided to whet our appetites? W ell, this book is described by The Times Literary Supplement reviewer as "a moving masterpiece of the indictment of war" and "a brilliant achievement", words that left the Book Group in a quandary. Members thought the book was packed with far too much detail and even trying to follow the orders of battle was confusing. Do we really want to know who was with what political organisation, that the communists were split into specific political groupings and that by joining the "wrong" cell you would be on Stalin's death list?
Facts, Russian facts culled from the secret files, are merely interesting not breathtaking. The NKVD did what they have always done, disposing of their enemies and even their friends on the streets, in the dungerons and on the battlefields while Franco murdered real enemies and also hapless innocent civilians caught up in the battles. Political opposition groups were shown no mercy.
Many British left wing idealists and intellectuals joined the Republican cause only to be disillusioned and fearing a NKVD bullet in the head, execution style, while thousands of refugees fled the country and Franco . A number of them ended in Russia where the Spanish Blue Division was formed and fought for the Russians on the Leningrad Front.
Countless thousands of Spaniards were sent to the infamous Gulags and many of those who stayed at home were persecuted. It turned out to be probably the first surrogate war in which foreign countries were content to watch from a distance and in the end pick over the bones and booty.
The Battle for Spain is a scholarly book but seems to lack Beevor's usual clarity and mastery of important detail. This is disappointing given the circumstances, the many recorded instances of atrocities but above all the red hot passion of the Spanish people does not emerge in cold print.
It is thirty years since the first publication. It quite possibly was a masterpiece then but the book group found it difficult to repeat that accolade today. It is undoubtedly of great importance for the professional historian, but it is now too much for the general readers.

End
The Battle for Spain
The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
By Antony Beevor

A review by the Cote d'Azur Men's Book Group

Professional historians often take comfort from the mass of detail in once secret files and wax eloquent when they are opened to scrutiny and reveal new versions of what really happened, for, as Churchill wrote "in war the truth must be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies"
Antony Beevor has produced the latest edition of the The Spanish Civil War that was first published in 1982 and reprinted by various publishers. It is not the same book as the original for it has been rewritten in many parts to include, in particular, the role of the Soviet Union in stoking the flames of war, supplying planes, tanks and ammunition and because the NKVD files show how the game was worth playing from the communist point of view.
The war was as violent and vicious as one would have feared. What was different was that all the then great powers had surrogate fingers on the trigger.
Germany supplied Franco's nationalists with everything they needed and, as the bombing of Guernica showed, used the battle as a training ground for the Second World War. Hit;er made Spain pay through the nose for his support and Russia made off with tons of Spanish gold. Those two comrades in arms also helped themselves to the spoils of war while extending hands of alleged political friendship
So what new has the author provided to whet our appetites? W ell, this book is described by The Times Literary Supplement reviewer as "a moving masterpiece of the indictment of war" and "a brilliant achievement", words that left the Book Group in a quandary. Members thought the book was packed with far too much detail and even trying to follow the orders of battle was confusing. Do we really want to know who was with what political organisation, that the communists were split into specific political groupings and that by joining the "wrong" cell you would be on Stalin's death list?
Facts, Russian facts culled from the secret files, are merely interesting not breathtaking. The NKVD did what they have always done, disposing of their enemies and even their friends on the streets, in the dungerons and on the battlefields while Franco murdered real enemies and also hapless innocent civilians caught up in the battles. Political opposition groups were shown no mercy.
Many British left wing idealists and intellectuals joined the Republican cause only to be disillusioned and fearing a NKVD bullet in the head, execution style, while thousands of refugees fled the country and Franco . A number of them ended in Russia where the Spanish Blue Division was formed and fought for the Russians on the Leningrad Front.
Countless thousands of Spaniards were sent to the infamous Gulags and many of those who stayed at home were persecuted. It turned out to be probably the first surrogate war in which foreign countries were content to watch from a distance and in the end pick over the bones and booty.
The Battle for Spain is a scholarly book but seems to lack Beevor's usual clarity and mastery of important detail. This is disappointing given the circumstances, the many recorded instances of atrocities but above all the red hot passion of the Spanish people does not emerge in cold print.
It is thirty years since the first publication. It quite possibly was a masterpiece then but the book group found it difficult to repeat that accolade today. It is undoubtedly of great importance for the professional historian, but it is now too much for the general readers.

End
The Battle for Spain
The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
By Antony Beevor

A review by the Cote d'Azur Men's Book Group

Professional historians often take comfort from the mass of detail in once secret files and wax eloquent when they are opened to scrutiny and reveal new versions of what really happened, for, as Churchill wrote "in war the truth must be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies"
Antony Beevor has produced the latest edition of the The Spanish Civil War that was first published in 1982 and reprinted by various publishers. It is not the same book as the original for it has been rewritten in many parts to include, in particular, the role of the Soviet Union in stoking the flames of war, supplying planes, tanks and ammunition and because the NKVD files show how the game was worth playing from the communist point of view.
The war was as violent and vicious as one would have feared. What was different was that all the then great powers had surrogate fingers on the trigger.
Germany supplied Franco's nationalists with everything they needed and, as the bombing of Guernica showed, used the battle as a training ground for the Second World War. Hit;er made Spain pay through the nose for his support and Russia made off with tons of Spanish gold. Those two comrades in arms also helped themselves to the spoils of war while extending hands of alleged political friendship
So what new has the author provided to whet our appetites? W ell, this book is described by The Times Literary Supplement reviewer as "a moving masterpiece of the indictment of war" and "a brilliant achievement", words that left the Book Group in a quandary. Members thought the book was packed with far too much detail and even trying to follow the orders of battle was confusing. Do we really want to know who was with what political organisation, that the communists were split into specific political groupings and that by joining the "wrong" cell you would be on Stalin's death list?
Facts, Russian facts culled from the secret files, are merely interesting not breathtaking. The NKVD did what they have always done, disposing of their enemies and even their friends on the streets, in the dungerons and on the battlefields while Franco murdered real enemies and also hapless innocent civilians caught up in the battles. Political opposition groups were shown no mercy.
Many British left wing idealists and intellectuals joined the Republican cause only to be disillusioned and fearing a NKVD bullet in the head, execution style, while thousands of refugees fled the country and Franco . A number of them ended in Russia where the Spanish Blue Division was formed and fought for the Russians on the Leningrad Front.
Countless thousands of Spaniards were sent to the infamous Gulags and many of those who stayed at home were persecuted. It turned out to be probably the first surrogate war in which foreign countries were content to watch from a distance and in the end pick over the bones and booty.
The Battle for Spain is a scholarly book but seems to lack Beevor's usual clarity and mastery of important detail. This is disappointing given the circumstances, the many recorded instances of atrocities but above all the red hot passion of the Spanish people does not emerge in cold print.
It is thirty years since the first publication. It quite possibly was a masterpiece then but the book group found it difficult to repeat that accolade today. It is undoubtedly of great importance for the professional historian, but it is now too much for the general readers.

End
The Battle for Spain
The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
By Antony Beevor

A review by the Cote d'Azur Men's Book Group

Professional historians often take comfort from the mass of detail in once secret files and wax eloquent when they are opened to scrutiny and reveal new versions of what really happened, for, as Churchill wrote "in war the truth must be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies"
Antony Beevor has produced the latest edition of the The Spanish Civil War that was first published in 1982 and reprinted by various publishers. It is not the same book as the original for it has been rewritten in many parts to include, in particular, the role of the Soviet Union in stoking the flames of war, supplying planes, tanks and ammunition and because the NKVD files show how the game was worth playing from the communist point of view.
The war was as violent and vicious as one would have feared. What was different was that all the then great powers had surrogate fingers on the trigger.
Germany supplied Franco's nationalists with everything they needed and, as the bombing of Guernica showed, used the battle as a training ground for the Second World War. Hit;er made Spain pay through the nose for his support and Russia made off with tons of Spanish gold. Those two comrades in arms also helped themselves to the spoils of war while extending hands of alleged political friendship
So what new has the author provided to whet our appetites? W ell, this book is described by The Times Literary Supplement reviewer as "a moving masterpiece of the indictment of war" and "a brilliant achievement", words that left the Book Group in a quandary. Members thought the book was packed with far too much detail and even trying to follow the orders of battle was confusing. Do we really want to know who was with what political organisation, that the communists were split into specific political groupings and that by joining the "wrong" cell you would be on Stalin's death list?
Facts, Russian facts culled from the secret files, are merely interesting not breathtaking. The NKVD did what they have always done, disposing of their enemies and even their friends on the streets, in the dungerons and on the battlefields while Franco murdered real enemies and also hapless innocent civilians caught up in the battles. Political opposition groups were shown no mercy.
Many British left wing idealists and intellectuals joined the Republican cause only to be disillusioned and fearing a NKVD bullet in the head, execution style, while thousands of refugees fled the country and Franco . A number of them ended in Russia where the Spanish Blue Division was formed and fought for the Russians on the Leningrad Front.
Countless thousands of Spaniards were sent to the infamous Gulags and many of those who stayed at home were persecuted. It turned out to be probably the first surrogate war in which foreign countries were content to watch from a distance and in the end pick over the bones and booty.
The Battle for Spain is a scholarly book but seems to lack Beevor's usual clarity and mastery of important detail. This is disappointing given the circumstances, the many recorded instances of atrocities but above all the red hot passion of the Spanish people does not emerge in cold print.
It is thirty years since the first publication. It quite possibly was a masterpiece then but the book group found it difficult to repeat that accolade today. It is undoubtedly of great importance for the professional historian, but it is now too much for the general readers.

End
The Battle for Spain
The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
By Antony Beevor

A review by the Cote d'Azur Men's Book Group

Professional historians often take comfort from the mass of detail in once secret files and wax eloquent when they are opened to scrutin
77 comments| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 January 2013
Great history book, providing enough context for those that are not that familiar with the situation, and enough detail for those that are close to it. It is very helpful to understand the current situation in Spain today. Strongly recommend it!
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on 17 March 2012
Delivered promptly and price was acceptable.
Book is very readable description of little known war outside of the short-range scope of north west european history lessons. Addition of updated sinister role of stalinist russia due to opening archives is extremely interesting. Having read A Winter in Madrid, and this book, one learns about a recession period awash with political andeconomic instability, and one can compare the direct threat on lives with our current mini recession.
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on 7 December 2010
Beevor's account of the background to what became known as the Spanish Civil War makes the whole thing seem inevitable: inevitable that the industrial workers and left intellectuals would attempt to break the hold of landowners, church and military, and inevitable that the forces of reaction would resist vigorously and, ultimately, successfully. I saw an exhibition of Civil War posters in Seville a few years ago, and what was striking was the ragbag of organisations on the republican side compared with the clear singleness of purpose of the nationalists.
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on 6 July 2016
A magnificently balanced and interpretive account of a difficult and devastating conflict
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on 24 February 2014
If you want to read a book giving the communist version of what happened during the Spanish Civil War then this is the book for you, if however, you would like to read an objective book about this period save your money and buy a book by Stanley G.Payne !
11 comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 September 2015
Just received. From earlier reviews I know I shall not be disappointed.
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on 8 November 2015
Very accurate details but gets bogged down in to many details
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on 31 March 2015
Full of facts that are actually true to the Battle for Spain.
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on 2 January 2016
Still reading - it's a long book - but impressive so far.
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