Top critical review
Concise and Crammed with Information
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I also found some of the prose a bit outdated and reminiscent of old communist/socialist propaganda.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.