The Spanish Civil War
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The Spanish Civil War

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  357 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Since its first publication, 'The Spanish Civil War' has become established as the definitive one-volume history of a conflict that continues to provoke intense controversy. What was it that roused left-wing sympathizers from over the world to fight again
Paperback, 1120 pages
Published April 3rd 2003 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1961)
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Unfortunately it has a predictably status quo left liberal slant.

" for some curious reason, has acquired the reputation of being a definitive history of the conflict - is pretentious, superficial, and factually unreliable. For a devastating critique, the reader should consult Vernon Richard's "July 19, 1936: Republic or Revolution?" in Anarchy, No.5 (July, 1961)' and Richard's introductory remarks to Gaston Leval's "Collectives in the Spanish Revolution " ( London, 1975). " - Murray Bookchin' p...more
Sep 21, 2011 P J rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
UKIP makes me want to vomit, although the BNP is worse. Reading again Hugh Thomas’s gripping history, I was more moved than I expected to be by the great tragedy which befell Spain in the late 30s and which the liberal democracies allowed to happen by their fear of provoking fascist Italy and Germany.
Putting ones country first whatever the circumstances is a peculiar thing to do. To put ones own vision of what that country means before any other considerations crosses the borders of mental illne...more
Erik Graff
Mar 30, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: persons interested in modern Spain
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
After Mom left Dad she developed a medical condition which she could not pay for--despite the fact she worked full-time at a hospital--and had to move back to Norway where medical care was available for free, even for a native daughter who had taken on U.S. citizenship years before. I visited her there upon graduating from seminary and met the fellow, Egil, whom she was ultimately to wed.

Egil Karlsen, like many Norwegians, had a condo on the Mediterranean shore of Spain, not too far west of Mala...more
Hugh Thomas account of the Spanish Civil War is the most thorough version of the events written to date. His writing style makes the reader believe the entire account could be fiction. It is very easy to read and you hardly feel like you are reading history at all. The Spanish Civil War is one of the most devastating conflicts of the 20th century. It is the precursor to World War II and showcased as well as trained some of Germany, Italy and Russia's top talent. The sheer devastation of tactics...more
Bob Fowler
The story of this civil war, as told by Hugh Thomas, amazed me. Full of drama, courage and atrocity, idealism and deceit. It constantly surprises me how human societies can suddenly collapse, tearing themselves apart, and so easily resort to killing others whose beliefs differ. Is there a parallel to the current civil war in Syria? Where a rebel side seeks to overthrow a government which has lost touch with its people, but external volunteers enter to distort the picture. I knew little of the Sp...more
Greg Northrup
This thoroughly comprehensive and somewhat exhausting history nevertheless kept me more or less engrossed for its substantial duration. While difficult to keep track of the various politicians, activists, commanders and generals that make appearances throughout, Thomas nevertheless projects a intensely dramatic account of this wrenching and defining 20th century moment. Certain figures and moments will be vividly lodged in my head forever, as described by Thomas - among them the heroic defense o...more
Of the three histories of the Spanish Civil War I've read, Thomas's is the most comprehensive and balanced. He seems not to have an ideological axe to grind, which is impressive considering this war was inherently ideological. He focuses on the social and political causes of the war, the diplomatic and international consequences of it, and the military maneuvers that eventually led to Franco's victory. If you read one history of the Spanish Civil War, you wouldn't be wrong to choose this one.
Sean Hall
Read a lot of this book in chunks but can safely say that didn't ruin the enjoyment, not only is it readable it also encompasses the political aspects as opposed to the military strategies of the generals, which in other books can become very monotonous. "The personal is the political," as they say, which allows for figures like President Azana, General Franco and Largo Caballero a.k.a. the Spanish Lenin, to feel grounded and altogether believable, despite the fact that the account is not a pers...more
C. James
This is the best ever work to untangle the alphabet-soup of initials for all the groups that fought for and against The Spanish Republic. At least one and I think two students from my high school volunteered to fight for the Republic and joined the Lincoln Brigade. One was KIA. Another student wrote a poem about that time titled "The Story of War"

Eager, ruddy, freshly drilled.
Reeking, bloody, freshly killed.

And the Republicans (almost) won. See the film "To Die in Madrid."
I loved this book. Thomas spends a lot of time explaining the enormously complex cultural and political scene in Spain at the time. Fascinating study in politics and its limitations...
Patricrk patrick
I had always thought of the Spanish Civil War as a small thing. It had about a half a million men on each side and was fought out over a two year period while the other events leading up to World War II were going on in Europe. It finally ended six months before the start of World War II. Hugh Thomas estimates 400-600 thousand people died. This is more than the USA lost in World War II. The book gives the political as well as the military history. A very good read.
JZ Temple
Hugh Thomas has written several books that are all characterized by two things; they are extraordinarily comprehensive regarding their subject, and I keep finding myself losing interest as the story goes on. Not to say it isn't a good book, it's just something about Thomas's style that makes it feel like work to get through it. Never the less, it's a very detailed and worthwhile history of the Spanish Civil War, assuming you can get through it.
Czarny Pies
Jul 13, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who feels that they need to know more than what is in Hemingway and Gellhorn
This is a great book which I feel has now been superseded by Antony Beevor's excellent history of the Spanish War. If you are uncomfortable allowing Antony Beevor, who is often accused of being right wing, to form your views on Spain, then read this work by Thomas.

I read both thirty years apart and found both worthwhile.
Scholarly book written for non-historians; and it is a captivating book. Civil wars are tragic and the Spanish civil war was not an exception. There were some good people on both sides, unfortunately they were drowned out or killed by egotistic incompetents. It is hard to comprehend how violent the world was during the first part of the 20th century.
A bit on the long side. Also, way too much attention paid to the workings of the ineffective Non-Intervention Committee and the endless infighting among the republican forces. Way too may lists of names of individuals that are impossible to keep track of through the end. Beevor's book is better.
موريسكو باندوليرو
تفاصيل دقيقة عن الحرب الأهلية الإسبانية أو ما يعرف ب"الحرب العالمية الثانية المصغرة"، ألفه المؤرخ البريطاني، هيو توماس ، يتبين من خلال تحليله للأحداث غزارة اطلاعه وموضوعيته

عندما أنتهي منها، إن شاء الله، سأنقل بعض الفاصيل، خصوصا المتعلقة بمشاركة المغاربة في هذه الحرب.

Tom Smitha

Best account of this war that I have read. Well researched and excellently written. I also like that Hugh Thomas has updated book over the years as new information comes to light. This war and the politics behind it still resonates today, and not just within Spain.
A classic of the historian's art. Thomas makes the larger than life characters across the political spectrum extraordinarily vivid, and the tension never relents. A powerful and important book.
A well balanced approach to a very complicated subject. The book is long but very comprehensive. In my opinion it treats both sides fairly. A good reminder if how savage a civil war can be.
an exhaustive history of the byzantine political and military struggles that took place in spain 36-39. pretty good book, but man are there a lot of names and places. requires patience.
Henri Troppmann
comprehensive and well researched but puts too much trust in Francoist sources. Weird that a conservative historian has a streak of affection for Spanish Anarchism.
بهمن بهمن
class 5 ebtedayi boodam ke in ketabo khoondam(kheili tasadofi too ketabkhooneye dayim didam)va az oon moghe asheghe tarikhe jange dakhelie spania shodam;)
Very interesting to read the contributing factors to the war...a bit too much battle description for my taste but overall, it was accessibly informative.
Ridiculously in depth...great history of the Spanish Civil War, but probably way more than I ever wanted to know.
Salvatore Leone
A very long book about the Spanish Civil War, it is tedious in spots but quickly gets exciting again. A very good book.
Edward Lengel
Though old, this remains one of the least biased, most scholarly histories of the Spanish Civil War.
Pretty much the Tome of the Spanish Civil War.
Le classique toujours incontournable.
Jeff Allen
Jeff Allen marked it as to-read
Aug 18, 2014
Joel Nicholson
Joel Nicholson marked it as to-read
Aug 17, 2014
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Hugh Swynnerton Thomas, Baron Thomas of Swynnerton, is a British historian and Hispanist.

Thomas was educated at Sherborne School in Dorset before taking a BA in 1953 at Queens' College, Cambridge. He also studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. His 1961 book The Spanish Civil War won the Somerset Maugham Award for 1962. A significantly revised and enlarged third edition was published in 1977. Cuba, or t...more
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