The book also examines the myriad of political polemics to which the war has given rise, as well as all of the latest historical debates. It assesses the impact of the war on Spain's transition to democracy and on the country's contemporary political culture.
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©2005 Oxford University Press; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
This Very Short Introduction offers a powerfully-written explanation of the war's complex origins and course, and explores its impact on a personal and international scale. It also provides an ethical reflection on the war in the context of Europe's tumultuous twentieth century, highlighting why it has inspired some of the greatest writers of our time, and how it continues to resonate today in Britain, continental Europe, and beyond.
Throughout the book, the focus is on the war as an arena of social change where ideas about culture were forged or resisted, and in which both Spaniards and non-Spaniards participated alike. These were conflicts that during the Second World War would stretch from Franco's regime, which envisaged itself as part of the Nazi new order, to Europe and beyond. Accordingly, this book examines Spanish participation in European resistance movements during World War II and also the ongoing civil war waged politically, economically, judicially and culturally inside Spain by Francoism after its military victory in 1939. History writing itself became a battleground and the book charts the Franco regime's attempt to appropriate the past. It also indicates its ultimate failure - as evident in new writings on the war and, above all, in the return of Republican memory now occurring in Spain during the opening years of the twenty-first century.
* Hugely emotive and enduring subject that inspired writers such as Hemingway, Orwell, and Laurie Lee.
* Integrates the political, social, and cultural history of the civil war.
* Discusses the latest historical debates and applies a highly dramatic narrative, with plenty of personal experience woven into the analysis.
* Assesses the impact of the war on Spain's transition to democracy and its contemporary political culture.
The Spanish Civil War is a pivotal moment in world history, perhaps the greatest and most tragic failure of appeasement. An internal struggle between the elected government and the Military, that became the great cause of the Left around the world. Graham's book doesn't really touch on the rise of the Communists as the dominant force within the Republicans or the reasons for, namely the failure of the Western Democracies to support the Spanish Government with Arms supplies. This allowed the Soviet Union as the only legitimate supplier to exhort greater influence. The book does do what it sets out to do, I must concede that, it is an introduction to a forgotten moment in history and one that deserves a more prominent place at the historical table. For those wanting a more complete and thorough account, look no further than Antony Beevor's The Battle for Spain.
As Spaniard, I am proud to read such good introduction from an English publisher.
The people who supported the Republic know that this is a very serious book. The people who supported Hitler and his comrades like Mussolini and Franco are complaining, as I can see in the other comments.
But the truth is, the Republic was ripped from the Spanish territory, and with the Republic, all democratic values.
This book helped me training my English while I was reading the book and listen to this audiobook at the same time.
I will wait for more Very Short Introductions. Thank you, Audible.
An avid audio fan, I listen mainly whilst walking my dog. I enjoy many and varied subjects,history,travel,espionage,crime,anything good
Helped me sort out some of the romantic ideas that I have held for so long.Easy to follow,the subject is still of great importance.
Certainly a trigger to read about the Civil war in more detail.
The later chapters,about how Spain now is dealing, and not dealing with its' history, were very interesting.
A good listen
Helen Graham is a historian of renown, an authority of the subject matter and yet it is propaganda, painting the blackamoor white. Her book should be retitled as a defense of Republican Spain and the case against Franco. There is nothing the Spanish Republicans do that is awful and nothing the Africanistas do that is laudable.
She decries how historians look at this from the lens of the Cold War. As if she writes without bias, this woman gives the murder of the Red Terror, the six months from the summer of 1936 to the winter of 1937, a period of about six months, a period in which the Spanish Republicans slaughter 6,000 Catholic clergy and another 4,000 Catholic lay people. A total of 10,000 - murdered in extra-judicial killing - not for anything they have done but rather who they are. And people wonder why Britain and France were reluctant give the Spanish Republic guns. She mentions that fact once in one sentence and her reasoning behind the murders was that the Spanish Catholics represented the monarchy. She does not even mention that 4,000 Catholic lay people including pregnant women and children. She does not mention the 80 year old Nuns killed. The humiliation these people had to endure before their death. She drives by the fact these people - the Spanish Republicans (the people she defends) would dig up the bodies of dead clergy to desecrate them. Who does that? The Soviets didn't do that. ISIS doesn't do that. The Nazis didn't do that. The story of man's inhumanity to man is echoing theme throughout human history and I am baffled where else in human history that happened. And yet, this author, Helen Graham makes no exploration or explanation except to say they did not like the king. Does King Alfonso eat children? What did King Alfonso do that the Catholic Clergy had to suffer. Spain had 17 bishops. Guess how many were killed? 13. You wouldn't know it by reading this book.
This book is really, really sad that an author with this gravitas is so myopic and so cruel.
Would you ever listen to anything by Helen Graham again? No. I have heard enough.
The narrator is a bit dull.
Don't buy this book. Read Orwell instead. You will feel better about yourself.
An interesting subject.
It gets bit boring after awhile !!!
This could have been more interesting. It read like a textbook rather than a viable history
The highly-biased and overly-emotional opinions of the author on the side of the Spanish Republic made this more of a propaganda pamphlet than a history book. The first half actually showed some nice research and factual tidbits, especially in terms of international influence. But the author's obvious emotional disgust with Franco and the romantic love for the communist state makes this a very poor introduction to a subject which deserves a much deeper and syntopical point of view. I felt as though I was listening to the reading of a sophomore term paper. The last half was particularly overwhelming, syrupy, and self-indulgent.
No, I wish to read much more on this topic but I'll be much more careful in my choice of authors next time.
Clear, Concise, Emotional
I would really appreciate it if the publishers would have more respect for the reader than to allow author's, who write to influence rather than educate, to pontificate on such an important subject. I felt the same way about the introduction to Existentialism.
Seventy years after the Spanish civil war ended, and twenty years after the Communist bloc collapsed, Dr. Graham is still curiously unable to overcome cliches and her all too obvious political leanings to give readers a balanced, scientific perspective. Scant and selective on specific historical fact, the book abounds, however, in manichean portrayal, "what if" speculation, and anachronistic PC rant. The analysis of the social and political causes leading to the war skips the facts to the point of becoming laughable for anybody with previous information on the topic. When they do not fit her preconceptions, Dr. Graham even happily dismisses widely-known ocular witness accounts such as that of George Orwell. Overall, readers are left to swallow that a very large majority of Spaniards of all extractions were dimwit enough so as to fight along general Franco in the war, and to support him massively until his death in 1975, against their best interest and that of their country. Frankly, one would expect more from an Oxford professor...
"A very good very short introduction..."
For a "very short" book this gave me a good grounding in a period of history I knew very little about. It taught me a great deal and covered all aspects of the subject in a way that made me want to read another more detailed book on the War. I don't know if this is typical of the series, but I was impressed.
No prizes for guessing from which part of the political spectrum this lady hails from, far too black and white (francoistas - bad, republicans/communists - good) and sometimes descending into practically a loveletter to the republican ideal as well as finishing with a bizarre epilogue about how great the strange "law of historical memory", put in place by PSOE government, is.
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