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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Re: Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Post by santi » 14 Mar 2008 12:18

Hi all,

The tittle of the book is "La guerra civil española" and is divided in two tomes (I and II): ISBN I is 84-9759-821-0 and ISBN II is 84-9759-822-9.

Sorry, but I don't know Mr. Julian, and I don't know is he is alive or not. I'm only 18 years old and I 'm starting the world of XX century history, so I don't know a lot of good writers. If you know how can I help you only tell me [email protected]

Un saludo

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Re: Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Post by pedroinlondon » 19 Feb 2009 12:41

I would strongly recommend "The Last Crusade" by Warren Carroll. You can get it for free from my page at scribd or buy it from amazon. It's a great book, expounding the reasons that led Franco and Spanish patriots to rise against and overcome the possessed that were starting a reign of terror in Catholic Spain, as their "cousins" had already in place in Russia.

paul philippou
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Re: Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Post by paul philippou » 22 Mar 2009 17:51

I have recently published a book on the Spanish Civil War that might be of interest to forum members, especially those interested in the International Brigades and foreign volunteers. In the acknowledgements of the book I mention the Axis History Forum some of whose members assisted me with some queries. In addition, I have recently uploaded to the web my research on the volunteers from Greece that fought for the Spanish Republic in Spain: ... nteers.htm

Writer: Philippou Strongos, Paul
Supplier: Warren & Pell Publishing
Year: 2009
ISBN: 9780955419959

Price: £14.99 (incl. VAT)
Pages: 327
Trade Paperback

Greek Books sold by Bibliagora, usually dispatched within: 24 hours

SPANISH THERMOPYLÆ is the story of the fifty-seven Cypriots who served in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39.
It is also the story of a war that defined the lives of a generation and whose outcome decided the fate of hundreds of millions of people across the world. Drawing on recently released records from the Comintern Archive in Moscow, Spanish Thermopylae will appeal both to the reader interested in the experiences of the Cypriot volunteers, and to anyone looking for a concise history of the Spanish Civil War.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Post by normski- » 01 May 2009 06:46

@paul philippou

Baxell's book on the British Battalion is now a lot cheaper. You can get a new copy online for under £10 including postage and it is well set out, covering not just the British Battalion but also touching on the British units in the Thaelmanns, La Marseillaise, the Muerte es Maestro centuria and the POUM

I've recently been reading various stuff re the British in Spain, viz:

Britons in Spain, Bill Rust Lawrence And Wishart Ltd 1939
British Volunteers for Liberty: Spain, 1936-39, Bill Alexander, Lawrence & Wishart Ltd 1982
Crusade in Spain Jason Gurney, Faber and Faber, 1974

The first 2 of these are official accounts by communists and they are fine as factual accounts but Jason Gurney's book, published posthumously, is written with a satirical eye and of all the books I've read on the SCW, it's the only one which made me laugh out loud. Gurney was a sculptor and a bohemian radical. He was one of the British Battalion scouts who made a sketch map of the Jarama battlefield which is recycled in all the successive accounts of the British experience there. He then became a XV brigade runner and was subsequently wounded and invalided out of Spain. His role meant he was mobile and able to observe people at various levels of the brigade hierarchy during critical points before during and after the Jarama battle and his account of that battle is vivid and gripping, and likely to be upsetting for anyone whose sympathies lie with the Republic.

Igor, SCW enthusiast
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Re: Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Post by Igor, SCW enthusiast » 24 Aug 2009 11:41

Dear Spanish Civil War enthusiasts,

There is a new book on the Soviet volunteer fighter pilots in the Spanish Civil War, entitled “Ikh nazyvali ispantsami” (“They Were Named “The Spaniards”) by Oleg Kaminskiy and just published by DRUK publ. in Odessa, Ukraine, Russian language, HB, ISBN 978-966-490-028-4.
This is the 363 pages book including it seemed to be a wholly completed list of the almost 400 fighter pilots made the war in Spain. This list represents all the detailing biographies of all the Soviet fighter pilots known by today and their participation in the SCW and various conflicts and wars, air victories in all wars they made, their service in the Red Army, post war services, place of residence until retirement and places of death, sources of confirmations in the SCW participation. Also the author gives a separate list of those whose participating in the SCW causes a lot of questions and it is not confirmed to the end. Also, photos of about 140 fighter pilots are included. There is a bibliography in the end of the book containing 103 Soviet and Russian sources, also many footnotes to compare with foreign witnessed data.

If someone would be interested in this book to have in English language version, I have opened a translation service. This is not a free one but very cheap I use with my fellows and friends on the regular basis. For more information, please write on my email address below.

All the very best,
Igor N.Gordelianow.
[email protected]

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Post by JD » 23 Nov 2009 09:15

camarada_j wrote:Orwell was no Communist. He was a Socialist: yes he fought on the side of the 'Anti fascists' early on in the war (He left Spain in mid 37). But he fought with the POUMist militia (which was a non Stalinist revolutionary socialist party) and also was caught up in the May Days in Barcelona May 37 where the Communist (Communist Party of Spain, PCE) backed police started a suppression of the POUM and to an extent the Anarchists. Orwell (and his wife) had to flee Spain as he was wanted by the PCE.
The POUM was a Marxist organisation: the initials stood for "Partido Obrero Unificación Marxista", which roughly translates to United Marxist Worker's Party. Orwell was a committed socialist but he signed up with the POUM because it was the force he felt most closely fitted his personal views. I don't think he had any particular loyalty to that unit.
It is important to remember that the 'Anti Fascist' forces in Spain were a coalition, including Communists, Socialists, Anarchists, left Republicans. So to say 'Didn't he fight on the side of communists?' is an over simplification of the Republican camp.
Ultimately it was Spain that cemented Orwell’s' distain for Stalinist totalitarianism - Just look at Animal Farm and 1984.
This came about because of Trotsky's links with the POUM, which were used to great effect by the Stalinists when the POUM was suppressed even though they had fallen out with Trotsky. Trotsky believed that democracy was an essential component of Socialism, which fits neatly with Orwell's personal views. By this time Stalin - who was no democrat - was working his way up to having Trotsky bumped off so it's hardly surprising that he would not want to supply a Trotskyist party in Spain.

Orwell's frustration with the activities of the Stalinists was very evident in Homage to Catalonia and he was very bitter that the POUM was suppressed when so many of its members had fought and bled for the Republic. This, of course, included Orwell himself. That they were accused of being in league with the Nationalists is probably what pushed him.

Homage to Catalonia is one of the best books I've ever read on any subject.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Post by mars » 25 Nov 2009 18:50

I think one of reason that the POUM was so easily destroyed by Communist was that POUM killed too many people in the summer of 1936, they got a "well deserved" nickname as "the butchers of Barcelona", by destroying the POUM, the communist not only get rid of one of their archenemy, they also did some kind of "public favor", it was like one stone kills tow birds

Bob Lamoreaux
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Re: Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Post by Bob Lamoreaux » 09 Jan 2010 15:11

"Arms For Spain" by Howson is the only book that I've found (at least in English -- unfortunately, my only language) that delves into the foreign arms purchases, primarily by the Spanish (Republican) Government. His book (and his research) should not be accepted without question as I've found numerous errors and contradictions in the work. Further, he tends to categorize all arms dealers as "shady" and implies an "Iron Circle" of arms dealers existed. I do not accept either of these categorizations or conclusions.

I might be somewhat prejudiced as I'm writing a book about the private arms dealers of the 1930s-early 1940s. While Howson's book was valuable in directing some of my research, I discoveredthat he was a little sloppy in some of his. Because historians, and arms historians in particular, rely on the accuracy of a writer's research, I get annoyed when that research proves to be inaccurate.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Post by Ironmachine » 09 Jan 2010 19:06

Bob Lamoreaux wrote:His book (and his research) should not be accepted without question as I've found numerous errors and contradictions in the work.
Indeed. In fact, Artemio Mortera Pérez made a devastating review of it in Revista de Historia Militar nº 9 (March 2001), that showed that it was full of mistakes (and what's more, they seem to be intentionally made to fit into Howson's thesis, not just the result of poor methodology).
A much, much better work is the book Atlas Ilustrado de las Armas y Uniformes de la Guerra Civil Española by Lucas Molina Franco y José María Manrique García. AFAIK it is only available in Spanish (256 pages, being sold at this time for about 15€) but I doubt that you could find more reliable information in a single book about the weapons employed in the SCW.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Post by superskib » 24 Jan 2010 16:23

I am reading the Oxford University Press (OUP) Very Short Introduction (VSI) to the Spanish Civil War (SCW).
Published in 2005 it is written by Prof. Helen Graham who has a chair in Spanish history at Royal Holloway College of London University. It is small format (A5) and 170pp so it is a brief pocketable book on the subject. In my view it is a useful broad brush overview of this complex and contentious subject.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Post by sjashford » 11 Aug 2010 17:21

Ladies and Gentlemen, and anyone who does not feel included by those terms,
I have today received a new offering from Osprey Publishing, which will be invaluable reading for those interested by this forum.
Spanish Civil War Tanks - The Proving Ground for Blitzkrieg - author Steven J Zaloga - ISBN; 978 1 84603 512 8
Cost GBP 9.99, so about Euro 12-13
In the standard paperback format of Osprey this tome has 48 pages, containing text, 40 photos (b&w inevitably), 8 pages of colour drawings, including a cutaway of a T26.
He starts with a review of world tank technology & history at the outbreak of the SCW. Then a brief exposition of the state of tanks in Spain, or more accurately AFV, as he covers protegido camion. An explanation of the complex history leading to the outbreak of the SCW and then into the opening stages of the war, with particular discussion on the supply and use of AFV. He finishes with a section @the lessons of the Spanish Civil War@ where intirguingly, but also correctly (in my opinion, at any rate) debunks the cliche which forms the subtitle of the book.
You wanna know more - buy the book and read it.
An excellent overview of the subject, necessarily brief, but I think that it just about covers everything you really need to know - and if you want more then check the "Further Reading" pages.
An excellent buy for all enthusiasts of the subject, and particularly for the new student.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Post by Jazzeum » 29 Aug 2010 05:12

I received the Osprey book on SCW Tanks and I think it's quite good. I also have on order from Quiron Ediciones Carros de Combate Volume II, which covers the SCW.

Regarding recommended reading, I first read the Thomas book when I lived in Spain in the late 60s. I think it still stands up pretty well.

I also like the Ronald Fraser book "Blood of Spain," an oral history. I always find oral histories to be interesting.

I also think the Beevor book is quite good. Yes, he is hard on the Communists and I think justifiably so.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Post by Jazzeum » 21 Sep 2010 19:17

Does anybody have any recommendations for a geographical guide to the battles of the War? I find that in the books that I have the maps are OK but not great or some don't have any.

Any recommendations/suggestions are much appreciated.

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Re: Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Post by normski- » 02 Oct 2010 14:18

Yes an atlas of SCW maps is something everyone here could probably do with. But considering how many battles there were and how large they were, then the next question would be where do you stop? How much detail would ever be enough?

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Re: Recommended reading on the Spanish Civil War

Post by Jazzeum » 04 Oct 2010 22:47

Following that post, I went ahead and ordered through Abebooks Atlas de la Guerra Civil Espanola by Fernando Puell de la Villa and Justo Huertas Barajas.

Hasn't arrived yet so I'll let you know what I think about it when I receive it. Suppose it's better than nothing :lol:

It's also available from Casa del Libro, ... 0001188623

Here is the Casa del Libro's summary of the book:

"Cumplidos 30 años del golpe de Estado del 18 de julio de 1936, la presente obra ofrece por primera vez al lector una visión inteligible, nítida e imparcial de la génesis, desarrollo y desenlace de la más terrible guerra fratricida que ha asolado España.

Con el fin de desentrañar esta enmarañada sucesión de hechos de armas, catalogarlos con método y claridad, y plasmarlos en mapas de conjunto y de detalle, se ha compartimentado el estudio de la contienda por semestres. Por cada uno de ellos se ofrece un mapa comprensivo de los diferentes hechos de armas acaecidos en el período analizado, seguido de otros parciales y de detalle de las principales batallas que tuvieron lugar en él, ordenados cronológicamente.

A estos capítulos vienen a sumarse dos iniciales que enmarcan el surgimiento de la contienda con un conjunto de mapas sobre la situación política y militar de la Segunda República, y otros tantos sobre la génesis y desarrollo del golpe de Estado. Asimismo se complementa el ciclo bélico de la Guerra Civil con otra serie de mapas relacionados con la presencia de unidades españolas en los campos de batalla de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, entendiendo ésta como la persistencia de la lucha por los mismos ideales que habían ocasionado el conflicto en la Península.

Para finalizar, se incluye en el Apéndice una guía biográfica de los distintos personajes a que se hace referencia, con pequeños datos biográficos y la adscripción a su bando correspondiente, así como las cronologías de la Guerra Civil española y del exilio y de la participación española en la Segunda Guerra Mundial."

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