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The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution And Revenge

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  325 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Presenting a full-blooded account of the pivotal period in 20th-century European history, this book recounts the struggles of the war, analyses the wider implications of the revolution in the Republican zone, and assesses the ways in which the Spanish Civil War was a portent of the Second World War that ensued so rapidly after it.
Published June 5th 2006 by Harper Perennial
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May 25, 2016 Neal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick read. Preston's focus is on the holocaust carried out by Franco's forces against the Left in Spain. But the book also does a good job of highlighting the role that the Catholic Church and the British ruling class played in supporting the fascists and in explaining Franco's military strategy. Rather than seek a quick win, which at certain points was within his grasp, Franco chose a methodical conquest of the country and gave his forces plenty of time to "purge" captured territory of the r ...more
Oct 19, 2012 Diego rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hay que ver lo poco que cuesta enterarse de las cosas. En poco más de una semana y con un mínimo esfuerzo he aprendido más acerca de nuestra historia reciente que en los últimos 10 años. Soy consciente de que eso no dice mucho en favor de mis conocimientos previos, pero es que no podía seguir debatiendo sobre república, monarquía, comunismo, fascismo, nacionalismo y todos los demás 'ismos' con los que se llenan la boca hasta las pescaderas, sin tener una mínima base sobre la que asentar mis idea ...more
Sep 06, 2012 Jack rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Preston is extremely sympathetic to the Communists, and it shows in this book. Perhaps that sympathy comes more from his antipathy towards Franco and his regime, which is entirely understandable - I'm no fan of what Franco did during and after the war. Preston seems to let that color his entire understanding of the war, however, to the point that he makes flimsy rationalizations for Communist plots to eradicate their socialist, anarchist, and revolutionary communist opposition at the expense of ...more
Feb 20, 2013 Stevie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Far too short on detail for me. Plus I find Preston too much of an apologist for the Spanish Communist Party in regard to its actions during the Spanish Civil War. I really did not agree with his generalised opinions on the Anarchists and other Leftist factions either but then again I am extremely biased in that regard. I agree with the author that thanks to the Spanish Communist Party Madrid held out for so long but there was no excuse for their later conduct against the other Leftist factions ...more
Jul 25, 2008 Dale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nonfiction, spain
This is a high-level history of the Spanish civil war, focusing mostly on the political and social aspects of the war. Preston is, naturally, quite sympathetic to the Republican cause, and offers detailed and compelling evidence of the mass murder perpetrated by Franco's nationalist forces.

The stance taken toward the civil war by Britain, France, and the US is quite revealing of the inherently corporate- and imperialist bias of those governments at the time. The League of Nations voted a 'non-in
Nacho Martín
En general bien. Tiene cosicas, como llamar a Alcoy "ciudad portuaria", que te dejan la mosca detrás de la oreja sobre el rigor del conjunto.
May 06, 2016 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this book several years back. It was informative but retention was difficult because of the use of acronyms i.e. CNT, UGT, POUM, etc. Reading about the Spanish civil war, no matter how well written, requires a mastery of the massively complex political intrigues of the period and the wide variety of players participating in it. It takes several texts by different authors using different approaches to grasp or place in context these bewildering acronyms. I must read it again, after wider bac ...more
I write this as someone with a keen interest in the Spanish Civil War...I found large swathes of this book very difficult to get through!
Part of this is for the right reasons - the brutality of the war as typified by Preston's lists of the numbers killed in certain areas is not easy reading.
Part of it, however, was that the writing style did seem to drag for me, in particular the two chapters on 'politics behind the lines'.
Saying that, the book did pick up towards the end with regards its readab
Miquel Codony
Nov 18, 2010 Miquel Codony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Puto Franco.

Si teniu curiositat sobre la història de la (nostra) Guerra Civil i, com em passava a mi, us sentiu més còmodes recorrent a un autor estranger de prestigi reconegut (amb el poc o molt valor que aquest fet pugui tenir en realitat) que exposant-vos a les potencials fílies i fòbies partis ... (continue)

Puto Franco.

Si teniu curiositat sobre la història de la (nostra) Guerra Civil i, com em passava a mi, us sentiu més còmodes recorrent a un autor estranger de prestigi reconegut (amb e
Dan Cohen
Jul 12, 2014 Dan Cohen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history

This is quite a good book, but I couldn't say I enjoyed it. For the most part that's not the author's fault - it stems from how depressing the subject matter is. I knew little of the Spanish Civil War before reading the book and didn't realise just how awful the war was, or the behaviour of the protagonists before the war and after the war. Makes you want to leave the human race entirely!

In terms of the book itself, the author is clearly a serious professional historian and I've no grounds for t
Michael Oliver
Oct 30, 2013 Michael Oliver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a basic knowledge of this conflict before I started the book. I also knew that Franco was a control freak par excellence who was determined to turn Spain's clock back to the time before the French revolution and modernity.

But as other reviewers have noted, reading about the specifics of the War and the gruesome atrocities perpetuated by both sides is a deeply upsetting experience. But for me, the most troubling legacy of the Spanish holocaust was the role of the Catholic Church in supporti
Geoffrey Gates
I'd read a bit about the Spanish civil war in Robert Hughes' 'Barcelona', Colin Toibin's 'Homage to Barcelona', and George Orwell's 'Homage to Catalonia.' That provided enough background to the conflict for me to attempt this more historical exploration of the origins, course and aftermath of the civil war. I found it very engaging and an important book in terms of grasping the complexity of the conflict and some of its terrifying moments. Highly recommended.
Cheryl Kent
This was a detailed and thorough analysis of the spanish civil war. It was quite hard-going - more due to the complexity of the subject matter rather than the writing. It is so difficult to equate what occured with the Spain that I know today and pretty horrifying that Franco continued in power until the 1970s.
Benjamin Fowler
May 14, 2014 Benjamin Fowler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, Orwell's book led me here. Several sites said that Preston was the one to go to for the mid-range history book, too deep for amateurs and light readers, but not deep enough to be for experts. Great read on the war that few remember because WWII started so quickly afterwards.
Feb 12, 2015 Conor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and informative but it lacks nuance in its portrayals of the two sides - the republicans are heroised while the nationalists seem to be nothing more than the forces of pure evil.
Nov 22, 2014 Jc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-politics
Interesting to see that the author, who must have spent over ten years on his subject, despised the man. Franco was a horrible little man with very few redeeming features. Even as a soldier he seemed to have reached his level of incompetence as a colonel. Circumstances did the rest, not talent. A very well written history book that reads very easily.

Franco is just as unpleasant in the second part of his career. He was incompetent, lazy, corrupt (at least his wife was) and pompous. All his action
Jim Jaqcobs
Jun 14, 2015 Jim Jaqcobs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written but very detailed to the extent that there is some difficulty in tracking all the personages involved in the era.

Worth the "slog."

Jul 16, 2008 Lawrence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scholarly, but not esoteric. This book helps you to understand how it was possible for Franco to gain and remain in power for so long. The book leaves you with a clear understanding of why the war remains a key concern of modern day Spain, indeed of modern societies generally. It is a balanced book, meticulously researched and clearly written. The bibliographic essay is as intriguing as the substantive materials in the book. Made me want to look up many of the sources cited and discussed to incr ...more
Gary Griffiths
Mar 27, 2016 Gary Griffiths rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best account of the war and its' origins.
Jennifer Sarha
Dec 01, 2014 Jennifer Sarha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting, if at times disturbing - Paul Preston provides a thoughtful and informative account of the Spanish Civil War.
Jul 28, 2011 José rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There seems to be a good deal of talk about bias in all the reviews about Spanish Civil War books. Most seem to be concerned about the leftist bias of the authors. However, none of the histories I have read have shied away from mentioning the desecration of churches, the murders of priests and nuns, the heavy-handedness of the Communists and the Soviets, or the mass killings at Paracuellos de Jarama.
Mar 26, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great look that tries to understand the motivations behind and progressions of the Civil War, and it attempts to understand the motivations behind the violence on both sides. It's impossible to not be biased, but I think he gives both sides a fair treatment (which still results in Franco and his side acting despicably on the whole) (HIST 369- Univ Senior)
May 13, 2012 Russ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thorough and balanced analysis of the war and its causes, Preston tells the story in a way that makes the complicated alliances and endless conflicts within the conflict understandable. The consequences of the Spanish Civil war and the repression of Franco's regime are rendered reachable in this well written book.
Rick Harrison
Dec 10, 2013 Rick Harrison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Preston's approach to the Spanish Civil War was definitely interesting, it is a good summary of the war for those who want to get a quick idea of the Spanish Civil War. However he shows a leftist bias, focusing on the violence of the nationalists, while largely defending the Republic.
Sep 05, 2012 Victoria rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
Didn't get to complete this book, i read just half of it. Perhaps it's too dense for a reader that is just looking for an introduction to understand the Spanish civil war. Will try out other books like Ghosts of Spain. From what i gathered, it's more left wing that right.
Dec 05, 2008 David marked it as own-but-not-yet-read  ·  review of another edition
This is one of two books I'm currently reading about the Spanish Civil War; the other is by Antony Beevor. Interestingly, both are major rewrites of earlier books, with the revisions attempting to reflect the huge amounts of new material that continues to come to light.
Dean MacKinnon-Thomson

Totally readable and decisively pro-republican. This book deals professionally with the history, while avoiding the dull 'taking no side' fence sitting

A must read!

Viva la republica! .

Jung Keun Jeon
Sep 02, 2012 Jung Keun Jeon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book gave me a lot of details about the Spanish Civil War and these hard copy books are better than those big fat picture books.
Roger Barker
A good book very deep and intense also very comprehensive a job to follow who's who at times but an excellent insight into an awful period in history
Mar 27, 2014 Carolyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
OK. Now I know more about the Spanish Civil war. I had to make myself finish this. Very dry. I like my history with a little verve
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Paul Preston, author of Franco and Juan Carlos, holds the Príncipe de Asturias Chair of Contemporary Spanish History at the London School of Economics. He lives in London.
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“Several thousand peasants were loaded at gunpoint onto lorries and deported hundreds of miles from their homes and then left without food or money to make their own way back.” 0 likes
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