4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Quite Easily the Best and Most Balanced Account of the Spanish Civil War,
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This review is from: The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 (Hardcover)
This is quite easily the best and most balanced account of the Spanish Civil War that I have read. The book is supremely well written and very easy to read. The book contains the best account of the actions and motivation of Franco, other well known volumes devoted to the life of Franco are just so hopelessly biased and unbalanced as to be of limited value. This revised book by Antony Beevor, the original was published in 1982, has been republished following much new research by Spanish historians and new material from the German archives and especially from Soviet files which had not been previously accessible. This account of the conflict is well up to the standard Beevor has previously set with his works on Stalingrad and Berlin: The Downfall. Readers who may be wary about tedious descriptions of battle tactics should not be concerned as Beevor sketches them in quickly but never gets bogged down in relating endless formation or group manoeuvres. The momentum is always maintained and as with his other books Beevor is at his most interesting when describing the conflicts and discussions within the Nationalist and Republican leadership. Given the terrible conflicts on the Republican side between the social democrats, the Trotskyists, the anarchists and the Stalinist communists, the rivalries and attempts between the groups to retain or increase their power make excellent reading and were crucial to the progress and final outcome of the war. It is quite fascinating to read about the Catalonian leadership on the Republican side, perhaps one of the only anarchist groups to actually hold real power that the modern world has seen. Beevor also deals head-on with the oft repeated propaganda clichés of the Spanish war, still routinely trotted out by our ignorant friends in the BBC, and shows that they do not usually stand up to close scrutiny and that the truth is far more complex and multi-faceted. My only minor quibble with this book is that it would have been nice to have seen more photographs of the key Republican leaders of the different factions. Otherwise I have no hesitation in wholeheartedly recommending this book to anyone interested in the true history of the Spanish Civil War and I would venture to say that this will be the definitive account for some years to come.