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on 10 March 2000
Paul Preston's A Concise History of the Spanish Civil War should be regarded as essential reading by anyone looking for an introduction to one of the pivotal events of the twentieth century. Written in clear, readable prose, Preston traces the causes, course and consequences of the civil war, addressing along the way major themes such as the internationalisation of the conflict, the revolution in the republican zone and the emergence of Franco's brutal regime.
A Concise History of the Spanish Civil War has justifiably received a huge number of extremely positive reviews: as one reviewer wrote in History Today, '[Preston's] economical style, together with a telling choice of quotes and mordant use of irony, serve his purpose admirably...it is founded upon a vast knowledge and will not easily be refuted.'
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on 2 December 2004
If you only read one book about the subject, let this be the book.
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on 9 July 2014
First class. And is an enthralling read Brings the war to life in a way that makes it as real today as in the thirties. I was absorbed from start to finish.
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on 10 August 2014
Authoritative and clearly written and full of surprises if you start of with everyday casual beliefs.
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on 12 February 2008
This might be a concise history but it is not uncomplicated.

The early chapters especially, are proliferated with the names of the competing political groups that represented both sides in the conflict. This includes-PSOE, FNTT, PNV, UGT, CNT, FAI, CEDA, JAP, FJS and this is not exhaustive. These chapters set the scene for the conflict, but it's not an easy introduction.

The chapters devoted to the actual conflict are less intense, and more interesting. However a further two chapters describe the rivalries within each side, and this again becomes tough going. I was losing interest towards the end.

I also found some of the prose a bit outdated and reminiscent of old communist/socialist propaganda. The author does state that there is little sympathy for the right, and this is understandable given their fascist agenda. However, I didn't find it overtly partial.

There's no doubt that the author has an in depth grasp of his subject. It certainly broadened my knowledge of the war, especially in relation to the number of deaths and atrocities, the unsavoury role of the Catholic Church, and the reluctance of Britain and France to support the war against fascism.

I cannot say that I can recommend the book, but on the other hand I wouldn't discourage anyone from buying it.
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on 12 November 2003
If you're doing HY209 at LSE buy this book now. Preston sets the exam after all. It is concise and the best place to start to unravel the complexity of the Spanish civil war but you'll need more, obviously.
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on 13 May 1999
This book is very concise about the spanish civil war but it is very slow and almost boring to read. It took me a long time to filter through most of th useless stuff to find the real important parts. This is not an easy read, i was very patient. Keep looking if you can!
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on 11 October 2015
good
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