Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Discussions on all aspects of the Spanish Civil War including the Condor Legion, the Germans fighting for Franco in the Spanish Civil War.
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Marcus Wendel
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Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Postby Marcus Wendel » 10 Dec 2006 11:37

The idea of this sticky is to collect recommendations on good books dealing with the Spanish Civil War.

Please post the title, author and a short (or long) explanation as to why you feel that particular title deserves to be included.

/Marcus



If you buy through the below links you not only get the books you want but you also support the forum while shopping!
* AHF Bookstore
* Amazon.com (UK, Germany)
Last edited by Marcus Wendel on 03 Nov 2007 19:34, edited 1 time in total.

paul philippou
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Postby paul philippou » 11 Dec 2006 21:36

Historical Dictionary of the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39 (Hardcover)
by James W. Cortada (Editor)
is probably one of the most useful guides in english to all aspects of the civil war.

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Postby paul philippou » 11 Dec 2006 21:38

Although there are newer books in Spanish (probably more accurate) I still love:

Castells, Andrew, Las Brigadas Internacionales de la Guerra Espana. Barcelona: Ariel, 1974.

normski-
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Postby normski- » 18 Dec 2006 08:02

Carlos Engel wrote highly detailed accounts of the organisation of both armies as follows:

HISTORIA DE LAS DIVISIONES DEL EJERCITO NACIONAL 1936-1939

HISTORIA DE LAS BRIGADAS MIXTAS DEL EJERCITO POPULAR DE LA REPUBL ICA 1936-1939 (2ª ED.)

Jose Maria Bueno Carrera wrote this volume which has hundreds of coloured drawings of uniforms used by both sides. In contrast to the Nationalists, the Republicans are often drawn smirking and with cigarettes hanging from their mouths, because Bueno is an unashamed Nationalist. Despite this amusing quirk the volume is informative not just on uniforms but also gives an impression of the range of light weaponry used by both sides.

UNIFORMES MILITARES DE LA GUERRA CIVIL ESPAÑOLA

If I had to recommend a single history of the war it would be The Battle for Spain by Anthony Beevor. It's a reworking of his original history The Spanish Civil War but using updated information including the KGB archives after they became available. It has good analysis of the political context and progress of the war and it has useful maps of various battles. The book was translated into Spanish before it was released in the UK.

http://www.antonybeevor.com/Spanish/spanishmenu.htm

I've just found this unashamedly pro-Republican website which gives a good idea of the range of Spanish language books available on the military detail of the SCW.

http://www.sbhac.net/Republica/Biblio/M ... itaria.htm

Casa del Libro has a special web page capitalising on the 70th anniversary of the war.

http://www.casadellibro.com/secciones/s ... erra+Civil

I am compiling a list of all the SCW books in my possession and might eventually post it here with comments.

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Fabi
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Postby Fabi » 18 Dec 2006 18:49

Osprey's Essential History Book about the Civil War

Nucleicacidman
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Postby Nucleicacidman » 19 Dec 2006 00:31

La Columna de la Muerte
Francisco Espinosa

Image

It narrates the battles between July 18th, the rising in Sevilla, and the Army of Africa's campaigns to Badajoz and secondary campaigns thereafter that are relevant to that area. It also offers a very good explanation of politics inside the Nationalist front during the first months of the war, and it is very well supported with clear sources. The notes almost matches the narration page for page in regards to the amount of pages dedicated to each.

It's published by Critica Contrastes and you can probably find it on the Casa del Libro website. I believe I bought it two years ago in The Corte Ingles.

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Fabi
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Postby Fabi » 19 Dec 2006 14:26

Lately I bought a book via ebay about the International Brigades. It was published in the former German Democratic Republic DDR. The texts at the beginning you can forget. All of it pro-stalinist propaganda. But the information given about all the different countries of orogin of the soldiers in the Int. Brigades is very good, but it's in German. The title is:
Die Völker an der Seite der spanischen Republik

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Postby paul philippou » 19 Dec 2006 19:12

Anthony Beevor is a very good writer and historian who in my opinion is unfortunately plagued by his anti-communism which taints his work. In his book Stalingrad it is less apparent, in both Berlin and in his account of the Spanish Civil War it causes problems. There are Republican histories of the civil war; there are Nationalist histories and there are popular histories like Beevors that pretend to be objective.

This whole business about the Comintern and KGB archives is very loaded. Historians have studied the same documents and found very different conclusions - I suggest that most historians that look at this material employ those documents that suit the thesis that they wish to argue. I am not a communist nor an apologist for Stalin but at the same time I cannot support historical argument that does not merit the standing it is given in the mainstream.

I include some books below (pro-Republican pro-International Brigade) written in languages other than Spanish or English:


Spanja 1936-1939: Zbornik Secanja Jugoslovenskih Dobrovoljaca u Spanskom Ratu. Belgrade: Vojnoizdavacki Zavod, 1971.

Belic-Dudek, Stevan, Jugosloveni u Spanskom Gradjanskom Ratu, in Spanja 1936-1939. Belgrade: Vojnoizdavacki Zavod, 1971.

Gajdek, Djuro, Spanjolski Boric Siska I Banje [Spanish Soldiers of Sisak and Banija]. Siask, 1985.

Gramc, Janez, Izvrsili smo Zadatak.

Kantorowicz, Alfred, Tchapiaev, Das Battalion der 21 Nationen. Rudolstadt, 195

Palaiologopoulos Demetres, Hellenes Antiphasistes Ethelontes Ston H Ispaniko Emphylio Polemo (1936-1939) [Greek Antifascist Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39)]. Athens: Ekdoseis Philippote, 1986.2.

paul philippou

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Postby normski- » 20 Dec 2006 01:45

@paul philippou

'This whole business about the Comintern and KGB archives is very loaded.'

Is anything about the SCW not loaded?.

'There are Republican histories of the civil war; there are Nationalist histories and there are popular histories like Beevors that pretend to be objective.'

The pro-Rep histories are quite divided & I suppose the Nationalist ones may also be, although I've not read enough of those to judge.

I think Beevor strives for objectivity. He's certainly attracted criticism in the International Brigades Memorial Trust newsletter in the UK for using the KGB archives as a source. However he presents a coherent explanation for communist political and military strategy during the war which from my pov fills in the gaps left by other English language histories. And indeed he claims not just to have reviewed the KGB archives but much other material written about the war in the last 20 years.

Feel free to expand your arguments though.

I am no communist either, although my father was when he fought in Spain & he would probably criticise Beevor too if he were still alive.


Another 2 books:

Dark and Bloody Ground, by F Perez Lopez: this purports to be a true account of the experiences of a Republican commando during the Ebro offensive and his subsequent capture and escape to France. But it's either entirely fictional, or heavily embellished. As the title suggests, it is bloody, he cheerfully leaves a trail of corpses behind him wherever he treads, like a Republican Rambo, and conveniently none of his comrades survive to corroborate his diaries which he supposedly passed over to a French academic.

It's my favourite work of SCW fiction outside films.

A Moment of War by Laurie Lee: This also purports to be a true and autobiographical account of the famous author's time in Spain. I'd say this is my least favourite work of SCW fiction, full of factual holes, such as the claim that Lee makes to have been a member of the International Brigades, when he was in fact turned down from joining due to his poor health. The British IB hated it, disputed it point for point and wrote polemics against it. I recommend this to no-one except people who like Lee's flowery style of prose and his flights of imagination.

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batu
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Postby batu » 26 Dec 2006 01:06

just finished Beevor's earlier edition of Spanish civil war and indeed I had an inpression similar to the one of paul philippou
that Beevor is somewhat biased against the communists.What comes straight to the mind is for example, at the end of the book
he describes the fates of the Spanish republican exiles. He mentiones tens of thousands of orphans sent to Mexico,
goes into details about hundreds of thousands interned in France and even mentiones a couple of hundred who managed to get to the UK.
But when he talks about the USSR, he bluntly states that only the seniour communist party officials were allowed in the USSR
and then makes sarcastic remarks about the 'land of the oppressed'. However, it is generally known that thousands of republican orphans
were evacuated in the USSR.
But Beevor conviniently omitted this well-known fact. That is just one example on the surface but with the due attention one can find other
examples of biased story-telling as well.

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B Hellqvist
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Postby B Hellqvist » 27 Dec 2006 00:21

Surely it would be more fair to refer to the current, re-written edition of Beevor's book, right?

"Homage To Catalonia" by George Orwell is a fine piece of journalism, and provides a passionate, excellently written, wry and often quite funny personal account of his involvement in the SCW.

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Postby paul philippou » 31 Dec 2006 18:17

Although his experience was pretty much limited to the quiet Aragon Front and the internal fighting of Barcelona.

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Postby normski- » 01 Jan 2007 15:11

Orwell was pretty anti-communist himself.

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Postby ''X'' » 03 Jan 2007 00:43

I have read Beevor's book and i found it really good,like all his other books.

Also,''Viva la Muerte'', a pro-nationalist one written from a Greek journal in the Spanish civil War

I have seen the DVD ''Brother against brother''

I also read a biography on Franco which also refers to the war,written i a good manner.Neither pro-Franco or against.

Also i would like to have a look on a book about volunteers for the nationalist side

I'm considering buying ''Fighting for Franco : International volunteers in nationalist Spain during the spanish civil war''

George Van Amber
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Postby George Van Amber » 11 Jan 2007 21:08

Orwell was pretty anti-communist himself.

I heard several times that Orwell was a communist. Didn't he fight on the side of communists?


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