- Paperback: 412 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (25 April 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521398274
- ISBN-13: 978-0521398275
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.9 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 322,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
The Spanish Labyrinth: The Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil War: An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil War (Canto) Paperback – 25 Apr 2012
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' … shows the expert, subtle-minded and sometimes cynically truthful, in his quest of what really has created modern Spain … careful, sympathetic and judicial'. Cyril Connolly The Observer
Gerald Brenan's The Spanish Labyrinth, first published in 1990, has become the classic account of the background to the Spanish Civil War.
Top Customer Reviews
The earlier dictatorship of Primo de Rivero is also covered, and (uniquely) the Agrarian problem (essentially the crux of all Spanish politics in this period) is properly covered.
If there are to be criticisms of this work, then perhaps the racial generalisations and assumptions made of Spaniards feel somewhat dated, and feel odd when compared to the political correctness of today. Also, the use of "anarchic" and "anarchy" to mean chaos (which is not the same thing!) is unfotunate, given that the Anarchist movement in Spain came closer than has ever been seen to giving these words their true meaning. But these are mere trifles. As well as being a seminal historical study, this is also a wonderfully readable account of one of the most interesting periods in Spanish history.
Perhaps the most important chapter is his analysis of the agrarian question which from Brenan's point of view was the most decisive issue facing Spanish society in that period. There can be little doubt of its importance, and Brenan shows the conflict over the question very well, most notably the clash between the landowning classes and peasants. Such issues surrounding class are of vital importance for any understanding of the civil war and Brenan proves himself to be the most apt for detailing this. This in itself may seen strange given the first edition was published in 1943, yet it has not lost any of its original strength and remains an absolute must for those interested in not only the Spanish Civil War but Spanish history in general.
It does fall prey to the generalising racial stereotypes that were common to the time it was written, but, looking past these the book is still worth a read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As everyone knows, the definitive English language guide to the causes of and the background to the Spanish Civil War written by a master and one who lived in a poor village in... Read morePublished on 19 Dec. 2013 by Amazon Customer
If you want to understand the Spanish people, this is the book for you: the best account of Spain and its roller-coaster history.Published on 27 July 2013 by Philip Davies
Paul Preston was fundamentally wrong when he wrote that Gerald Brenan provided the 'foundations of all modern scholarship on the Spanish Republic and Civil War': "While most... Read morePublished on 8 Feb. 2010 by William Podmore