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A Moment of War

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  353 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Concludes the autobiographical trilogy begun in Cider with Rosie and As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning.
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Published July 2nd 1998 by Penguin Group(CA) (first published January 1st 1991)
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Begona Fernandez
Unfortunately this memoir left me rather cold. I am obsessed with the Spanish Civil War so this book was a obvious choice. But with not enough personal details that make you care for any of the characters, the detached quality of the narration and when spaniards appear at all you feel Laurie is dealing with a different race he doesn't particularly like, to the point that you start to wonder what on earth he is doing in Spain in the first place.

He starts the book tired and ends it exhausted and t
...more
Sylvester
I only gave this 2* out of respect for Lee's talent as a poet and writer. I would otherwise have given it only 1*. This is one of those times when I am reviewing based entirely on my response to the subject matter - and has nothing to do with the quality of the writing. I hated the meaninglessness so much, not to mention the little situation with the 13 year old boy they threw into his cell to "warm" him (????) the boy's words, "You can hurt me." made me ill, and I had a hard time reading the re ...more
Rodrigo Paris
I am repeating myself, since what I wrote earlier disappeared all of a sudden. I had heard that sometimes people adorned their own biography, claiming participation in historical events in which they had no pat at all. This 'autobiographical' memoir of the war is a good example of that sort of deception. I would argue that Mr. Lee had absolutely no participation in the Spanish Civil War. The inconsistencies and contradictions are all too obvious. Let's look at the narrative:
In page 1 of my copy
...more
Sarah Foster
I fell in love with Laurie Lee's writing a few years ago, reading 'Cider with Rosie'. I begun reading Lee because he was from a village close to where I live, in Gloucestershire. Cider with Rosie, did not disappoint my want for nostalgia for my beloved Stroud(ish), however I stopped here for a while before reading 'As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning', which I knew would have very little to say about the rolling hills of Slad. However I started seeing a Spanish guy, and so, with a little more ...more
Kevin Varney
Blimey, it looks like Laurie Lee was lucky to have survived to write Cider with Rosie and his other books. He had balls of brass. I read some interesting things on the internet about him and the Spanish Civil War. There were some people who think this story was not true. However, there is evidence that he took part in the war, but that he suffered from epilepsy, so was never sent to the front. Laurie had more to worry from his own side it would seem. He had to write from memory decades later bec ...more
Nigeyb
Laurie Lee did an amazing thing. One midsummer morning he walked out of his childhood home in the Cotswolds (described in entertaining detail in the fabulous ‘Cider With Rosie’) and walked to Spain via London (described in ‘As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning’). The final part of the trilogy - ‘A Moment Of War’ – covers Laurie’s return to Spain during the Spanish Civil War. The introduction is brilliant. Laurie schleps across the Pyrenees to volunteer only to be arrested as a spy. I won’t say ...more
Louise
A Moment of War is the third and final book in Laurie Lee’s autobiographical account of his childhood and youth. I read the second, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning a couple of months ago but, as with this one, had read bits of it before while studying the Spanish Civil War and the role of foreign volunteers.

As I Walked Out… finishes with Lee’s decision to return to Spain now that the Civil War was underway, to fight for the Republican cause, and making a difficult journey alone and on foot
...more
Margaret
It would be wrong to say I 'enjoyed' this book, as it's an utterly bleak portrayal of Laurie Lee's life as one of the miscellaneous band of European intellectuals and working-class idealists who fetched up in Spain to do their bit to help the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. These men spent much of their time hungry, often baffled, bored and ill-led. Winter was bruisingly cold, and the towns and villages where they existed with half-starving Spaniards had withered to a state worse ...more
Caroline
Very good, very different from Homage to Catalonia. Lee is, if we believe this, oblivious to politics and strategy. He simply exists.

The bleakness and almost absolute zero cold are all one senses. Lee experiences five minutes of battle in the entire book; the rest is the curious sequence of sneaking into Spain, being taken for a spy, twice, narrowly missing being executed, twice, and completely random, disorganized movement toward the front. Then equally bolloxed up retreat.

And yet there is an e
...more
Janet
Laurie Lee’s memoir of his experiences as a member of the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. Entering Spain illegally by walking over the snow-covered Pyrenees, violin in his back pack, he sets out on an adventure but is soon disillusioned. He undergoes arrest and imprisonment (on more than one occasion), hunger, bitter cold, and when he has killed a man is forced to admit:
“Was this then what I’d come for, and all my journey had meant – to smudge out the life of an unknown young
...more
Sandra Danby
This is a tale of war, written by a poet, in language that draws pictures of a situation impossible to imagine. Lee walks into Spain across the Pyrenees to join the International Brigades for the last push of the Spanish Civil War. He arrives at Figueras, a town which remained loyal to the Republicans and so was bombed heavily by the Franco. “War had shrivelled and emptied it, covered it with a sort of grey hapless grime so that even the windows seemed to have no reflections.” Lee is passed from ...more
Emma Cameron
I did feel a bit let down by this book as one of the reviews on the back claimed that if I read this book I would know all I needed to know about the Spanish Civil War. That is one of the main reasons that I chose it and I feel that by the end I am no better informed than I was at the beginning. That said I did enjoy this book at it has inspired me to read "Cider with Rosie" and "As I walked out...".

I loved his style of writing and he made many pertinent points about the futility of war. “Was t
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Durdles
Not exactly the third part of a trilogy beginning with Cider with Rosie that you'd expect. This is a stark account of Our Lol's participation in the Spanish civil war. What motivated him to trek over the Pyrenees in the depths of winter is not explained. Did he have a death wish? Lorenzo is rightly treated with deep suspicion by everyone he encounters as he lurches from hopeless death cell to frozen troop train with a raggedy army of international volunteers. No one around seems to know what is ...more
Bbrown
I've never been a member of the armed forces, let alone been in a war, but Lee's writing strikes me as what being in that situation is actually like. Books like Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls paint the Spanish Civil War as disorganized, sure, but on the macro level. Lee shows that the war was disorganized and confusing on the personal level as well, with chance encounters saving foreign volunteers from being considered spies, with random assignments and relocations, with your next meal comi ...more
Nick
Laurie Lee felt that he owed the people of Spain something after wandering through its towns playing his violin as a young man. So when the Spanish Civil War broke out, he smuggled himself into Spain through France, and enlisted in the Republican cause. His soldier's-eye-view of the war is chilling, dispiriting, and full of anomie. The cause is lost almost before it began. Lee senses this and reflects it in the meaninglessness of his soldierly role. As a result, though, the book is a bit flat an ...more
Telans
Совершенно неожиданно - довольно скучно.
Тема guerra-civil-española меня безумно интересует - Хеммингуэй, Оруэлл, Неруда и вот теперь Лори Ли. 1937 год, зима, блуждание сквозь Пиренеи, неорганизованные силы республиканцев в Каталонии, абсолютно не запоминающиеся (ни чем) люди, появляющихся то тут, то там на страницах книги, воспоминания о войне, которые не трогают совершенно. Разочарование. Сумашедше-солнечно-соленая Испания, где ты? Что за страну под твоим именем описал Ли?..

...Вы падали не раз
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Andy
The final work in his great trilogy sees Lee re-enter Spain in order to fight for the Republic in the Civil War. A moving, yet often ribald, musing on the futility of ideology and violence.
Steve Williams
I really enjoyed this book, but, just for a change, I'm adding my review to www.bookloversmelbourne.blogspot.com.au which is my own book-dedicated website. Please take a look:)
Booklovers Melbourne
I really enjoyed this book, but, just for a change, I'm adding my review to www.bookloversmelbourne.blogspot.com.au which is my own book-dedicated website. Please take a look:)
Huw Evans
I really resented having to wait nearly thirty years to read this book. I read Cider with Rosie and As I Walked Out One...and the simplicity of the writing style and the small details made it absolutely captivating reading. Also, the idea of just walking away from everything stirred my wanderlust, even though I did little about it for many years. This book compares favourably with anything written by Hemingway and Orwell on the same subject and exposes the individual's fragility in the face of p ...more
Stay At Home Babe
The sequel to As I Walked Out One Midsummer morning... it is COMPLETELY different. It was a decent read in its own right, but I probably would have liked it more if I hadn't read the previous volume first. It could stand on its own as a look at the Spanish Revolution I'd never even heard before, but the tone and direction is so different from the previous that I spent half the book trying to adjust my expectations. I'm not disappointed that I read it, and would probably read it again.
Peter
A suitable follow-up to 'Cider with Rosie' and 'I walked out'......Beautiful descriptive writing the brutally brings home the horrors and futility of war and makes you ask the question why.Anyone who has visited the 'real Spain' realises just far the country has travelled in the last 70 years, lets hope they hold it together for the next 70. A Moment Of War by Laurie Lee
Chris Wright
Laurie Lee may have gone to Spain but I am under no illusion that all the events (and characters) are completely bogus. This book is a tick-list of Spanish Civil war dreams whether it's the girl he slept with, the time in the dungeon and the people he met. Stereotypical cockneys, scots and all of them completely fake and unbelievable.
Where is the Laurie Lee of Cider with Rosie and how sad that he had to make up such an awful book.
Tom Paver
A lovely read, despoiled by later questions that Lee was never able to answer convincingly about the truth of much of what he claimed to have experienced as a member of the International Brigades.

Better, then, to describe it as semi-autobiographical and enjoy it as an affectionate and informed window on a critical but much-overlooked period of twentieth century history. Well worth the read from that standpoint, to be fair.
Kathlyn
When I put down the book my first reaction was 'Why?' Why on earth did he make such an ill advised trip to Spain, at that time and in the freezing depths of winter? One assumes the naivety and impetuousness of youth. Neverthless, it was a haunting account of a period that was the precurser to, and largely overshadowed by, the devastating events that followed. Spain was Hitler's trial run.

Gary Stocker
Demonstrated well what a lot of war veterans say: about how there is a lot of waiting around and boredom. Then suddenly lots of frantic action. Also shows how wars (regardless of the rights and wrongs) messes things up. Laurie Lee was saying that some of the places that he had been to before the civil war had been vibrant places. Returning there during the war everything had just gone to pot.
Torben
A fascinating account of a young Englishman's involvement in the Spanish civil war. Less political than Orwell, it manages to capture the confusion and mistrust in the Republican lines in a much more effective, personal way. Although much darker than his previous autobiographical works, this book features some beautifully descriptive passages and moments of black comedy.
Kathryn
I read the autobiographical 'Cider with Rosie'(pub.1959)and 'As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning' (1969) years ago, not realising that there was a third book - probably because 'A Moment of War' wasn't published until 1991.
As always with Laurie Lee this is beautifully written. He powerfully conveys the horrors and the waste of war.
Terry Parris
A personal record of the Spanish Civil War by Laurie Lee, who volunteered for the Republican side. Impossible to put down but terribly depressing to see how unorganized the Republicans in Catalunya were. Easy to see why Franco's soldiers with the aid of German and Italian armaments won the war.
Rob Innis
Firsthand account of his personal experiences of volunteering for the Republican army during the Spanish civil war. He details his imprisonment, they thought he was a spy, but then things 'improved' a useful insight into how it really was written in Lee's thought provoking style.
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Do you believe him? 8 18 Nov 08, 2014 10:19PM  
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Laurence Edward Alan "Laurie" Lee, MBE, was an English poet, novelist, and screenwriter. His most famous work was an autobiographical trilogy which consisted of Cider with Rosie (1959), As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969) and A Moment of War (1991). While the first volume famously recounts his childhood in the idyllic Slad Valley, the second deals with his leaving home for London and his ...more
More about Laurie Lee...
Cider With Rosie As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning A Rose for Winter Red Sky at Sunrise: Cider with Rosie; As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning; A Moment of War I Can't Stay Long

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