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Soldiers of Salamis

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  3,487 Ratings  ·  256 Reviews
In the final moments of the Spanish Civil War, a writer and founding member of Franco's Fascist Party is about to be shot, and yet miraculously escapes into the forest. When his hiding place is discovered, he faces death for the second time that day-but is spared, this time by a lone Republican soldier. The writer becomes a national hero and a member of Franco's first gove ...more
Paperback, 214 pages
Published 2004 by Bloomsbury Publishing (first published January 28th 2001)
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Nov 27, 2013 Traveller rated it it was amazing
Right through the center of Spain runs a deep scar. This scar has many dimensions. In terms of time, it spans the most of the 20th century; and at certain points in time, it cut the land that Spain consists of up into pieces. But the deepest scars run in the Spanish psyche and in its individual and collective memory.

A lot of the novel Soldiers of Salamis deals with this scar. At first, the narrator of the book believes that this scar has nothing to do with him, that it does not affect him. I tho
Mike Puma
Oct 03, 2011 Mike Puma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mike by: Roberto Bolaño
Shelves: spanish-author, 2012

5 stars, with some reservations. 5 stars for the idea. 5 stars for the inclusion of Roberto Bolaño as a character (many thanks, Javier, many thanks indeed). 5 stars because I’m not one to challenge the opinions of Bolaño, Mario Vargas Llosa, or Susan Sontag (at least with regard to this novel). Some minor demeriting for what, at times, seem a relentless history of Spanish and French battles during WWII. 5 stars for Part Three, which bested my skepticism during Part One and Part Two (how does one

The first two parts of this book revolve around a rather unheroic but entirely factual figure, Sanchez Mazas, a founder member of the Falangist group in Spain in the 1930's and later a minister in Franco's government with the status of national hero, who, we are told right at the beginning, escaped death by firing squad during the Spanish civil war.
The narrator, a journalist and writer called Javier Cercas, but who is entirely fictional, becomes obsessed with this reprieve from death story and
Jun 20, 2011 Lee rated it really liked it
4.5 stars? Fiction that feels unlike fiction. Fiction that's partially about how it's not fiction. Non-fictional fiction about writing, about war, about endurance/persistence, about poets realizing their ideal worlds through political action, about heroism, about historical reconstruction from fragments as a creative act that keeps the dead alive, especially the dead who live on in the words of people almost gone themselves. Structurally interesting novel about a writer trying and failing to wri ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 28, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-non-core, 501
Just when is the right time to set records straight? Wait, in the first place, do we always need to? Are there instances when it is better to leave them as they are?

These are the questions this 2001 novel, Soldiers of Salamis originally written in Spanish by Javier Cercas (born 1962) try to pose to us. In this novel, the questions can be applied to both national, i.e., Spain particularly in that part of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) when the Falangist poet Rafael Sanchez Mazas was not killed
Ben Winch
Aug 17, 2012 Ben Winch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The word 'revolution' gets bandied about a lot, often without context and usually with positive intonations, as though the act of revolt itself were somehow desirable. In an age that makes a pop-star of Che Guevara, Javier Cercas writes, soberingly, of a right-wing and unheroic revolutionary, the largely-forgotten Spanish Falangist writer Raphael Sanchez Mazas, and in doing so exposes the senseless bloodlust that motivated this facist's revolt. Sanchez Mazas's cause, the 'moral and aesthetic def ...more
Nov 18, 2016 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spanish-lit
I wanted a copy of this book long before I read Cercas' "Anatomy of a Moment" and finally tracked it down in Spain. Worth the wait because I totally enjoyed the read.

Like "Anatomy of a Moment," Cercas uses a personal anecdote in telling the story of an incident that happened at the end of the Spanish Civil War. The father of a friend of Cercas was involved in the firing squad incident of the Falangist poet Rafael Sánchez Mazas. Without giving much away, Sánchez Mazas gets away but runs into a so
Mustafa Şahin
May 14, 2016 Mustafa Şahin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-literature
İspanya İç Savaşı temelinde Sanchez Mazas'ın izini süren hem anlatı hem de roman türünde bir kitap.

Her ne kadar ana karakter Mazas gibi görünse de kitabın yarısından sonra ortaya çıkan ve gönüllere taht kuran Miralles benim için asıl karakter oldu. Hatta kahraman oldu da diyebilirim. Savaşa ve artık altmış yıl geride kalmış arkadaşlarına dair söyledikleriyle şu güzelim pazar günü kafama birkaç çivi çaktı. Kendisine seviyesizce sormadan edemiyorum: sendin, di mi lan?
Vit Babenco
Sep 20, 2015 Vit Babenco rated it liked it
A long echo of the Civil War can still be heard after the sixty years… And the author tries to find an answer to some questions that have been left unanswered in the past… Accidentals encounters, planned meetings, recollections and musings, interviews and talks all serve his purpose.
“…books always end up taking on a life of their own, and because a person doesn't write about what he wants to write about but what he's capable of writing about.”
The story is told in a rather flat and officious lang
Nov 29, 2015 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, mainstream
Una obra con un arranque y un final brillantes, que decae en la parte central y sin embargo, de las que te dejan la sensación de haber leído algo contundente. De los 3 personajes importantes del libro (incluyendo al propio autor), creo que el verdadero protagonista es el último en aparecer y del que menos se habla (o mejor dicho, el último en tener nombre y apellidos). Pero aún no estoy seguro...
Georgina Koutrouditsou
Τον τελευταίο καιρό οι αναφορές που γίνονται διαδικτυακά(και όχι μόνο) για τον παραπάνω συγγραφέα με οδήγησαν στην αναζήτηση των κειμένων του.Και τι καλύτερο από το να ξεκινήσω με το πολυσυζητημένο 1ο του βιβλίο τους "Στρατιώτες της Σαλαμίνας".

Ο τίτλος μπορεί να μπερδέψει,αλλά το εξώφυλλο του βιβλίου(χαρακτηριστική φωτό του Ρ.Κάπα),για κάποιον που έχει ασχοληθεί με τον Ισπανικό Εμφύλιο πολέμο,θα δείξει ξεκάθαρα ότι αυτό είναι ένα βιβλίο που έχει να αφηγηθεί πολλά.Αν και μικρό σε όγκο,το περιεχόμ
Una novela muy floja con un prólogo y un epílogo brillantes.
Nov 20, 2011 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foreign-fiction
There is a fascinating earlier post on this book by Javier Garcia, in Spanish, which links to a longer post of his on the book, and then to one by the author Roberto Bolaño. The review by Bolaño is largely a description of the book, but because he knows Javier Cercas he reveals two important facts that are relevant to understanding Soldiers of Salamis. One is that the 'Javier Cercas' who appears in the novel is not the author, or at any rate has several characteristics that are not those of the ...more
El Avestruz Liado
Apr 03, 2013 El Avestruz Liado rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, Bolaño fans
Recommended to El Avestruz by: Semana's list of top 100 novels
Thomas Carlyle once said “The history of the world is but the biography of great men". Well, this book is a novel revolving around the antithesis of such a statement.

The driver of the novel is the history of the shooting of Rafael Sanchez Maza, one the main ideologists behind fascism in Spain during the first half the past century. He escapes his shooting and in the ensuing persecution one of the soldiers looking for him allows his escape. The protagonist of this novel is a journalist (writer?)
Nov 25, 2016 Hakan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
kitap üç bölümden oluşuyor. ilk bölümde bir yazarın ispanya iç savaşı’nda yaşanmış bir olayın gerçek anlatısını yazmak için yaptığı araştırmalar, ikinci bölümde bu araştırmalar sonucunda yazdıkları ve üçüncü bölümde yazdıktan sonra yaşadıkları var. “roman içinde roman” denebilecek bu kurgu, javier cercas’ın tarihsel gerçekliğe bağlı kalması, daha doğrusu tarihsel gerçeği bir üst-kurmacanın içine yerleştirmesiyle özgün bir hal alıyor.

yaşanmış olayların, gerçek kişilerin bulunduğu ilk iki bölüm ed
حسين العُمري
رواية تتحدث عن لحظة من زمن الحرب يحاول كاتب صحفي العودة إليها ليرويها ،، لحظة من لحظات القدر امتد أثرها لأكثر من ستين عاماً ، الكثير من الشخصيات والأحداث والذكريات تدور في فلكها، الجنود الذين سقطوا ولم يتعرف إليهم أحد والذين صنعوا تاريخ الأوطان ، المجهولون دوماً الذين صرخوا إلى الأمام إلى الأمام ثم غابوا بلا أثر ولا ذكرى
Victoria Mars
No conecté con la historia. La Guerra Civil española me es demasiado ajena y con esta libro sentí que se me distanció mucho más.

Lo único que rescato es el "personaje" de Bolaño. Sin él, no hubiera terminado el libro.

Sep 17, 2014 Roseb612 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Roseb612 by: 1001
Už hodně dlouho jsem nad žádnou knihou po dočtení neměla tak nejasný pocit, že vlastně vůbec nevím, o čem ta kniha byla. Samozřejmě že má děj a to vlastně poměrně jednoduchý (historka o záchraně jednoho nacionalisty na konci španělské občanské války), ale právě proto jsem měla neodbytný pocit, že tohle ten pravý děj prostě není. Knížka není ani o skládání jedné historické události z více pohledů, které ji ve finále vykreslí - sice se děj hlavní epizody v knize opakuje vlastně třikrát, ale od toh ...more
Mar 29, 2016 Ivan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prvenstveno, hvala mom prijatelju Andriji, friško stranački ofarbanom aktivistu, koji mi je u moru knjiga koje želim pročitati i poznavajući moje stroge navike hijerarhije i čitanja po već posloženom poretku, uspio vrlo lako, u sekundi zapravo, nagovoriti da pružim priliku i odmah se bacim u iščitavanje Javiera Cercasa, za kojeg do tada nisam nikad čuo, što je začuđujuće, jer me posebno zanima španjolska i latinoamerička književnost, tako da kad god vrludam knjižnicom i vidim na polici hispanske ...more
May 15, 2013 Mara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Para una persona que no es española, me encanta esta breve novela sobre la guerra civil en España, y al fin y al cabo me hizo darme cuenta de las realidades complejas de esta gran lucha. Al centrarse en la vida de Sánchez Mazas y su escape del pelotón de fusilamiento, Cercas crea un relato apasionante que no sólo es de enorme importancia para el futuro de la Falange Española, sino también completamente factual. Con humor sutil, Cercas habla de las frustraciones de ser escritor, pero de no tener ...more
Oct 05, 2010 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little like Galeano or Zinn in its insistence that history lives and breathes in the personal narratives of those who lived it, and that official versions malign or at best hint what it was like to live through civil wars, through dictatorships. Book is an elegy for a past that has gotten far too past far too quickly, an argument for memory, for care in assessing heroes, for seeing the humanity in all sides of a conflict, for how the secrets to one's national past lie locked away in nursing ho ...more
May 21, 2009 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-list-books
What a peculiar little book! At first we completely failed to get on - long lists of names, jumping between dates, a narrative that flitted between various points of the Spanish Civil War and the present. The book is split into three parts, detailing first the writer's early forays into researching his novel, the middle part is the novel, albeit in an unfinished form, and then he ends with more present day narrative of his thoughts and investigations post novel. As the story enters the second bo ...more
May 23, 2015 Razvan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inițial, în prima partea a cărți, nu întelegeam de ce citesc această carte. Vedeam doar o mulțime de date și cifre despre un război despre care nu știam mai nimic, războiul civil din Spania. În a doua parte am început să înțeleg că de fapt cartea este despre o minune care i s-a întâmplat unei "vedete" a regimului lui Franco dar și despre oamenii simpli care au făptuit acea minune, salvându-i viața. În partea a treia am înțeles în sfârșit de ce această carte este magnifică. Nu este despre razboiu ...more
Sep 18, 2010 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"False novels" - that favored blend of fact and fiction and self-reference - are easily becoming a popular genre in Latin American writing. Along with authors I've been reading a lot (César Aira, Javier Marías, Roberto Bolaño), Javier Cercas is one of its best practitioners. Soldiers of Salamis is a cleverly structured treatise on memory and narrative direction. Its experimental elements hark back to the whimsical device of the playful author of the Quixote ( ...more
جنود سالامينا

اقتنيت هذا الكتاب بعد توصية الكثيرين

القصة واقعية تاريخية .. و أنا أحب أن أتعمق في التاريخ
لكن الرواية بها نوع من الرتابة والتكرار !!
بالاضافة إلى أنها تحتاج لقدرٍ عالٍ من التركيز .. اضطررت لأن اقرأ الكثير من الصفحات مرتين أو أكثر ( لأني شعرت بالتشتت )

تمنيت لو كنت مُلِمّة بتاريخ أسبانيا ( الحرب الأهلية الاسبانية و عهد فرانكو و غيره ) قبل أن أقرأ هذه الرواية ..

أعجبني الجزء الأخير .. مختلف عن الأول والثاني

أنصح بها المهتمين بالروايات التاريخية .. أما القارئ العادي فـ لا
Apr 07, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had I a better background in the Spanish Civil War and the rich literary context that informs this work I could easily have given it 5 stars. The intertwined tale of an author searching to understand the motivation behind a single soldier's decision to spare the life of one of the Falangist's top propagandist with the story of that soldier and his comrades provided a fulfilling emotional and intellectual journey. I am sure this will count as one of the most impactful books to cross my eyes.
Apr 13, 2015 Roberta marked it as abbandonato  ·  review of another edition
Javier Cercas mi piace molto ma questo 'saggio' (non è che sia esattamente un saggio, però sicuramente non è nemmeno un romanzo) parla di un episodio della Guerra Civile Spagnola. Non conosco nulla di questo periodo e continuo a confondermi. Se riproverò a leggerlo dovrò decisamente documentarmi.
Nov 13, 2016 Nynke rated it really liked it
Shelves: university
Three stars for part one;
Two stars for part two;
...Seven stars for part three?

= 4 stars
Realmente, mi review es conflictivo. El narrador -que en este caso sí resulta ser casi plenamente el autor- me cae mal, su sentido del humor españoleto, su prosa rimbombante, su cinismo frente a su historia personal, etc... Sin embargo, la historia que cuenta es una grandísima historia y en cierto punto a la mitad agarra un segundo aire que la vuelve un page-turner serio. Gran dominio del ritmo y también en las páginas finales la rimbombancia encaja.
Oct 05, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Spanish Civil War is one of those periods of history that I am interested in but have never really read about save 'Homage to catalonia' and 'As I walked out one midsummer morning' as far as fiction is concerned, and little factual. So there are preconceptions as to what is right and wrong particularly as so much of the history of fascism in Europe includes the association with Germany and Italy, and the atrocities and repression of the Franco regime. So reading a modern Spanish novel which ...more
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Javier Cercas Mena (Ibahernando, provincia de Caceres, 1962) es un escritor y traductor español.

Hijo de un veterinario rural, cuando contaba cuatro años, en 1966 su familia se trasladó a Tarragona, y allí estudió con los jesuitas. Es primo carnal del político Alejandro Cercas. A los quince años la lectura de Jorge Luis Borges le inclinó para siempre a la escritura. En 1985 se licenció en Filología
More about Javier Cercas...

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“Of course, if you ask, nobody was there when they torched the churches.” 3 likes
“If there's one thing I hate the Communists for, Your Excellency,' Foxa once said to Franco, 'it's for obliging me to join the Falange.” 3 likes
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