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The Spanish Civil War: A Very Short Introduction
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The Spanish Civil War: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #123)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  196 ratings  ·  36 reviews
This Very Short Introduction offers a powerfully-written explanation of the war's complex origins and course, and explores its impact on a personal and international scale. It also provides an ethical reflection on the war in the context of Europe's tumultuous twentieth century, highlighting why it has inspired some of the greatest writers of our time, and how it continues ...more
Paperback, 175 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2005)
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Homage to Catalonia by George OrwellFor Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest HemingwayThe Battle for Spain by Antony BeevorThe Assassin's Mark by David EbsworthWinter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom
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Gary Foss
If you ask an American when the Second World War started, s/he will probably say December 7, 1941.* If you ask a Brit then you'll get 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. Japan went into Manchuria in 1931, and the main of China in 1937, but had occupied Korea since 1910, which points out that the Second World War was in many ways a continuation of the First World War, leading some contemporary historians I've read to suggest that those conflicts will be lumped together into a single historical eve ...more
Diego
La capacidad sintética anglosajona no tiene igual... Apenas 200 páginas y no sobra ni falta una jodida palabra. Y todo ello con un estilo digerible, sin cifras, fechas, acrónimos o nombres innecesarios. Unos lo tacharán de sesgado, pero lo cierto es que entre el fanatismo español y el enfoque objetivo y desapasionado de los ingleses hay un abismo. Yo tengo claro con cual me quedo.
Robin Friedman
The Very Short Introduction Series of Oxford University Press offers the opportunity to broaden one's knowledge and horizons in short, uniform paperback volumes on a variety of subjects. I took the opportunity to read this "Very Short Introduction" to the Spanish Civil War, fought between 1936 and 1939, by Helen Graham. Graham, Professor of Spanish History at Royal Holloway, University of London, has written a detailed study of the war, "The Spanish Republic at War: 1936 -- 1939" (2002) and a re ...more
Holly

As I have always found with this series of books, this book was eye opening; it gave a sufficient general overview to the Spanish Civil and, although I was already interested in Spanish history and culture due to my studying of the language, reading it has certainly encouraged me to look into it further. It had just the right amount of detail for its size and was quite easy to follow.

In some places, I did find my mind wondering off. This could be, perhaps, because the book wasn’t entirely engagi
...more
Ted
This review will take awhile. Have started on in 5/10.
Sandra Danby
This excellent little book is part of the series ‘A Very Short Introduction’ and is a blow-by-blow account of the Spanish Civil War. A confusing war with complicated names, political intrigues, fractured parties and much in-fighting, Helen Graham explains the origins of the war, the domestic and international contexts, and is particularly good at the social impact. If you have ever been confused by the various factions on each side, the connections with the wider international scene at the time, ...more
M
I know nothing about the Spanish Civil War, the only reason I know it occurred in the 20th century derives from being aware of Picasso's massive painting inspired by the war. Before I read Homage to Catalonia I thought it pertinent to brush up on the background.

How horrible! The Fascists won! And the Catholic Church backed them. I had no idea the travesties that occurred! This compiles the whole war including the lead up and after effects succinctly. You are able to absorb the entire framework
...more
Bruce Baugh
This is marvelous. Graham manages to cover the major events of the Spanish Civil War and how it felt to participants on each side. She makes excellent use of the historical record to illuminate motives, hopes, and fears, both for leaders and among the general public. This is one of the very best of the Very Short Introduction books I've read so far.
Timothy McNeil
This was a surprisingly quick read for a VSI (aided, no doubt, by having read a different book on the subject one month earlier). It was concise and forthright, which was also very nice. This one did not attempt to diffuse the subject through the multitude of competing political parties and labor unions (though it acknowledged the major players in those arenas).

Still, I got a little weirded out by Graham's use of language (such as eliminating the helping verb when using "obtained") at times.
Trish
A fascinating book about a tragic period in history. I hadn't really known much about the Spanish Civil War before, certainly not the extent and horror of it. Effectively the initial shots in WWII. German-Italian militiary support of Franco, and eventually Soviet support of the Republicans gave both sides a chance to prove the military technology they'd been building, while Britain and France used 'Non-Intervention' to just sit back and watch as Franco bombed the Republicans back to the Stone Ag ...more
Rory
When I made a rare departure into non-fiction, I did not expect to find the experience emotive. Yet, this book ended up being one of the saddest I have read. Despite being a compact volume, Helen Graham provides a probing, detailed account of the war. Those expecting detailed accounts of military manoeuvres will be disappointed - the writer focuses more on the political splits, international context and cultural and political significance of the conflict. What I feel Graham really brings to life ...more
Laura
A good introduction to a topic I knew almost nothing about ... Nicely summarizes the major events and themes, while also providing a short discussion of the Franco regime and current views on the Civil War in Spanish history. The reader was very competent.
Vikas Datta
Ms. Graham lucidly and succinctly gives the dynamics - internal and external - of this tragic conflict and its significance for the politics of the epoch and even later. A most valuable introduction...
David
Bite-sized account of the 1936-39 conflict. Graham emphasizes political flows (both inside and outside the country), so the reader must rely on the Chronology in the back matter to keep track of the battlefield narrative. She also devotes significant space to the war's aftermath, both to the regime of Franco that lasted into the 1970s and to what the war means to us now.

This is my first experience with the Oxford VSI series, and to my mind the format is a good choice for the layman. Minimal foot
...more
Emma
good introductory text w/ added historiographical musings at the end re: memory and dictatorships
Keeko
This was hard to put down. I knew there had been a civil war in Spain, but the only thing I knew was Chevy Chase's line from SNL, "This just in. "Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead" The more I read, the more I wondered why we don't learn about this in school. It seems that it was a very significant part of what led up to WWll. I appreciate that the author did such a good job of explaining things clearly. I feel like I learned a lot and had an interesting time doing it.
Ed
I've been wanting to understand the Spanish Civil War for some time, but have never been willing to invest the time. This "Very Short Introduction" is beautifully and passionately written. What made it especially worthwhile was the last chapter, which discusses the particular difficulties in memorializing a civil war in which the bad guys won and ran the place for forty years. Now that I have this introduction I plan to use it as a guide to reading other things.
Torben
A fairly decent introduction to a war that too many liars have said they would have fought in. This book manages to cover most of the main points. Of course as it's a short introduction it couldn't go into too much detail on certain things such as the internecine conflict on the Republican side or the international volunteers who sided with Franco. Well written and concise with some nice photos, this is alsoworth reading as a "refresher" on the subject.
Christina Dawn
"... a lone soldier, carrying the flag of a country that is not his own, of a country that is all countries and which only exists because that soldier raises its abolished flag ... ragged, dusty and anonymous, a tiny figure in that blazing sea of infinite sand, walking onwards... not really knowing where he's going nor with whom, nor why, not really caring as long as it's onwards, onwards, always onwards." (Javier Cercas, Soldados de Salamina)
Mary
Knowing nothing of the Spanish Civil War and being in Barcelona I thought this book would deliver to its title.
It is short, but very very dense.
The author's lens of socio/economic forces provoking the conflict was refreshing from the usual chronology of linear events.
I would have liked more detail on the Nationalist/Franco campaign.

I didn't realize the depth of the conflict and being in Barcelona saw how it is still very fresh.
Laura
As its title would indicate, it serves as a brief, but thorough and well-researched introduction to the Spanish Civil War. Graham has taken no pact of silence and therefore does not ignore the atrocities of the war, nor has her history fallen prey to lingering Francoist propaganda, but rather serves as an excellent counter that is suitable for students and lay readers alike.
Ben
Really very good - a comprehensive introduction but with a passionate argument for the achievements of the Republic and against the close-mindedness and cruelty of the Francoists. I would strongly recommend it. If you ask me, it's better than Antony Beevor's big fat massive book on the subject... though obviously it's not as good as Paul Preston.
Scott
For 150 pages, it does a good job covering the Spanish Civil War, and presenting not only the political but cultural implications at stake. What's really lacking here is a discussion of the internal politics on the republican side and the influence that Stalin did indeed have on that dynamic (something she too casually dismisses).
Alsjem
This was an excellent overview for someone who knew nothing of this topic. I was inspired to learn more on this topic after reading Winter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom. I'm now thinking of planning a visit to Spain. ...more
Annarita
The book gives a very clear descriptions of the events and causes that brought up the Spanish civil and the consequences in both domestic and international context. I personally read it in Spanish in my Erasmus year and I was delighted to discover that it was written by someone from my same university.
Ian Mchugh
This book is a brilliant introduction to the Spanish Civil War. Informative, succinct, and analytical. The themes are clear, the narrative is coherent, and there's plenty of intriguing areas left for further, more detailed, exploration.
Tiago Loureiro
Recomendo vivamente a quem vai fazer iniciar uma cadeira de história sobre a guerra civil espanhola. Bastante imparcial e crítico da tradicional visão de muitos historiadores. Adorei!
Call Me Ishmael
Timeline, people, parties, and general motivations. Good start on the subject before hopping into it.



ISBN-10: 0192803778
Veronica
Fairly informed, but unabashedly biased and oversimplified (at least seemed so at the time I read it).
B. Rule
An excellent short overview of the Spanish Civil War and its repercussions on Spanish society.
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