A fresh and acclaimed account of the Spanish Civil War by the best-selling author of Stalingrad and The Fall of Berlin 1945.
To mark the 70th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War's outbreak, Antony Beevor has written a completely updated and revised account of one of the most bitter and hard-fought wars of the 20th century. With new material gleaned from Russian archives and numerous other sources, this brisk and accessible audiobook (Spain's number-one best seller for 12 weeks) provides a balanced and penetrating perspective, explaining the tensions that led to this terrible overture to World War II and affording new insights into the war - its causes, course, and consequences.
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The Battle for Spain gives great details into the causes and effects of the civil war without taking on a preferred side.
Almost all know little or nothing of this epochal event.
This quite thorough history is not easy, but is essential to one's understanding of this most catastrophic of centuries.
I've been vaguely aware of the Spanish Civil War, particularly as a testing ground for tactics and equipment in the lead up to World War 2, but ultimately I knew very little about it. I was completely fascinated by the way the conflict came about and how the alliances within each side shaped the conflict. It really brought home to me the idea that in war there is no white knight, no good guys, just degrees of evil.
A lesson unlearned.
The most important conflict you've never heard of.
The story of the Spanish Civil War is a cautionary tale about the price of government isolationism and stagnation in a world of social change. Old regimes lost their international sway as new social and political divisions began to reshape the 20th century world and as war-weary isolationism made strong international policy impossible in the western democracies. Ideas flowed freely across borders, eventually followed by money, soldiers and materiel. The West's commitment to non-intervention ensured both the radicalization of the Second Spanish Republic under influence of the Soviet Union, and their eventual defeat by Franco's Nationalist forces. This was the original proxy war of the 20th century, and it had long reaching repercussions for Europe and North America as the century continued into World War Two and the Cold War.
Antony Beevor weaves social, political, military and personal history together to create a wide-angle tapestry of the events of the Spanish Civil War. This comprehensive approach allows him to keep the narrative interesting without sacrificing content or context. The stories he tells are relatable, and you don't need a history degree to enjoy or understand this book. Beevor is also even-handed with his depiction of the warring factions. He takes time to show the failings of the Republicans and the human side of the Nationalists.
As others have pointed out, Sean Barrett's narration is a bit monotone. But to be honest, I didn't notice until I saw a review saying so. In a way, the performance fits. Barrett's measured, reserved tone matches Beevor's attempt to remain emotionally distant from the subject matter, allowing him to explore the history in an unbiased way. I never had a problem understanding what Barrett was saying, but I did catch a flubbed line that made it past the editor. Otherwise, his enunciation and intonation were perfectly fine.
If you love the history of the World Wars, the Cold War or the rise international socialism this book is a must have. It is accessible, well researched and well written. You wont be dissapointed.
If you want something with a more personal touch, try George Orwell's autobiographical Homage to Catalonia. If you want more American centric stories, try Adam Hochscild's Spain in Our Hearts. Both are on audible and are great compliments to Beevor's overview of the subject.
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