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The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 Paperback – 24 May 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; New Ed edition (24 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753821656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753821657
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 4.6 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

exhaustive and admirably clear account. (THE SUNDAY TIMES)

the definitive book on the subject. (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Book Description

The bestselling author of STALINGRAD and BERLIN: THE DOWNFALL on the Spanish Civil War, drawing on masses of newly discovered material from the Spanish, Russian and German archives.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Antony Beevor's (AB) book on the Spanish Civil war is excellent background reading on this rather tragic event in Spain's History. AB goes through every single detail of the war.

He starts off with describing the development of Spain right up to the `Rising of the Generals' in 1936 and follows this up by going through the various factions involved. There is also a whole section on the involvement of other countries - most notably that of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union - in the civil war. When he covers the intellectuals' reaction to the whole event, I was quite surprised at some of the `nostalgic views' expressed. The section, which made me shudder was the book's section on the internal power struggle between the various Republican factions. A lot of this was a copy-cat event of the Stalinist purges in the Soviet Union during the 1930s. AB goes into quite a bit of detail.

I must agree that some of the battles can be hard to follow, but it does help if you study the maps quite thoroughly. But then again I think it would also help if these maps weren't all at the beginning of the book but instead put at the spot of the corresponding battles.

AB of course covers the nationalist victory plus the time after and he doesn't exactly mince words on the style of politics under Franco. But he also asks if a republican victory would have been the better solution and he does not give any definite answer except saying that a Stalinist-type communist regime could have been significantly worse.

All told I found this book very good.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is wonderful history-writing – both content and style. The author delivers a paced narrative of this terrible war – attention is paid in particular to the battlefield. Political controversies that determined sides at the time and debates ever since – these are considered and judged. Anthony Beevor confirms a deserved reputation as a researcher and a writer.

The account is arranged in forty relatively short chapters in seven sections. I found it straightforward to follow. The war did not begin on July 18 1936: a short early section traces division and discord to the 15th century. It did not end on 29 March 1939: the aftermath is reviewed to the death of the dictator. A final chapter offers his take on the big questions and the “what ifs”.

The meat of the book is the war itself.

This was a vicious conflict – civil wars are. The author does not feast on gory detail – he catalogues the toll in lives lost and livelihoods destroyed. He is at his best on the military war, especially its major battles.

The author makes sense of the forces on each side – anarchists, social democrats, Basques, Catalans and communists for the republic; Carlists, falangists and the officer class for Franco. He has been accused of bias, pro-republic and anti-Franco. However, the truth is that the victors exacted a very heavy price for defeat and – in a war where neither side was blameless – they spilt more innocent blood. The last twenty years have revealed concealed secrets and bodies.

Moreover, he does not spare the left. As the war continued, the republic lost its democratic legitimacy - centralization of command gave way to authoritarian rule. The machinations of the communists are skewered – both the PCE and their Soviet advisers.
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By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating account of the Spanish Civil War, its causes and its aftermath. Well written and easily read, this account, whilst almost 500 pages long is enjoyable and informative and the pages seem to fly by.

At times the events can be confusing and i found myself using the index to look back at the first references to some of the key people to help me keep track of who was who. The almost endless positioning, rivalries and hatreds which made for mini civil wars within the same sides, can make for confusing reading, as can the to and fro of the battles - but much less confusing than for the people at the time who lived through the madness.

This is a superb book which makes the complex events of the civil war relatively easy to follow. Of course at times, like any well written account of warfare and its almost inevitable atrocities, it is quite horrifying, and i found myself grateful for living in an age of relative peace. Long may that continue.
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Format: Paperback
Antony Beevor has written fine accounts of the battles of Stalingrad, Berlin and Normandy. However this book must rank as his masterpiece. It is a gripping narrative history of the Spanish Civil War, updated from an earlier account he wrote, with new material from former Soviet and other sources. At just over 450 pages (excluding references and notes) it is a substantial volume, but still only half the length of the Spanish language version of the work.

The author is clearly sympathetic to the cause of the Spanish Republic, but this does not stop him from being scathing about its failings, particularly its military ones. He is clear-sighted also about the atrocities of the Republicans but these pale in comparison with those of the Francoists, which were systematic and often chilling in their brutality. In one instance an American journalist was present when a fascist officer handed over to his troops two young girls. The officer "told him calmly that they would not survive more than four hours" (p. 92).

The Spanish Civil War prefigured the cataclysmic struggle of the Second World War, both in terms of the ideological conflicts and as well as the pitiless violence. Yet it is also a conflict which is important to understand in its own terms and for its influence on contemporary Spain and Europe. This is something that Beevor manages seemingly effortlessly. It is a great work of narrative history.
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