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The Spanish Labyrinth: An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil War
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The Spanish Labyrinth: An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil War

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  74 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Written during and immediately after the Spanish Civil War, this classic account of its background represents a struggle to see issues in Spanish politics objectively, despite the author's personal involvment.
Paperback, 414 pages
Published September 13th 1990 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1950)
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Ming Lee
This book is an interesting account of the Spanish Civil War, but one cannot read it as a solely history. Brenan, an Englishman, writes condescendingly about the Spanish people, making offensive sweeping generalizations about the lower classes, ones that if not read with a skepticism may be interpreted as fact. He adds his opinion without noting so, which is dangerous if you are not actively looking for it, and his imperialist tone shines though. Though he "fell in love with Spain," this book sh...more
Flora
A difficult but excellent work on socio-politico history of Spain. Update to modern times by pairing this with the recent one by Giles Tremlett for good understanding of Spain.

David Bales
Pretty dense history of the background to the Spanish Civil War, first published in 1943. I liked very much the descriptions of Spain's political and religious structure from the 16th to the 20th centuries and the role of the church, which was very powerful. A good model on how a falsely rich country became destitute and divided.
Georgina Thynne
A brilliant account of the social and political background of the Spanish Civil War that 50 years' on is still highly relevant for understanding today's democratic Spain with its autonomous regions and separatist movements. I just wish I could remember to whom I lent my copy, as they haven't given it back!
Ruboslav
Como siempre me pasa con los libros de sociopolítica histórica, acabo aburriéndome. No obstante, este libro en concreto hace, para mí, una acertada visión de la España de esa época. Recomendado para quien quiera conocer la situación que propició la guerra civil.
Caroline
I didn't manage to finish the book as I fear I'll never get to grips with Spanish history however its as good a place as any to start if thats your thing. There was an unpleasant undertone to the book with regard to his attitude to the Spanish people I felt..
Luc
Excellent book on the root causes of the Spanish civil war, although slightly gossipy and some use of Marxist language. To read in combination with Anthony Beevor's military account, Bartholomé Bennassar's biography on Franco and George Orwell's work.
Jesus
Superb description of Spain in the years before the civil war (covers about a century). Very enlightening for me Spaniard of the forces fighting for and having the power in the 20th century... and still today. ¡Gracias don Gerardo!
alex
Interesting if faulty (due to it being written only a few years after the war had ended) background study of the political malaise in Spain before the civil war.
Henri Troppmann
Very good, amazing prose, sort of idiosyncratic. Very interesting take on Spanish Anarchism. Definitely worth reading.
David
The second star is just accumulated goodwill from "South from Granada". This one was virtually unreadable.
Chris Pollard
Good overview of the situations leading up to the Civil War
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Edward FitzGerald "Gerald" Brenan, CBE was a British writer and Hispanist who spent much of his life in Spain.

He is best known for The Spanish Labyrinth, a historical work on the background to the Spanish Civil War, and for South from Granada: Seven Years in an Andalusian Village. He was awarded a CBE in the Diplomatic Service and Overseas List in 1982.
More about Gerald Brenan...
South from Granada: A Sojourn in Southern Spain (Kodansha Globe Series) Face of Spain A Life of One's Own: Childhood and Youth The Literature of the Spanish People: From Roman Times to the Present Day Memoria Personal, 1920 1975

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