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

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  126 Ratings  ·  16 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 November 30th 1990 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1950)
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Ming Lee
Feb 24, 2013 Ming Lee rated it it was ok
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
Jul 10, 2008 Flora rated it liked it
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
Aug 09, 2011 David Bales rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
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
Apr 09, 2012 Georgina Thynne rated it it was amazing
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!
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.
Jul 10, 2013 Luc rated it it was amazing
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.
Robert Jerome
Aug 14, 2015 Robert Jerome rated it it was amazing
This is an invaluable account of the political views preceding the Spanish civil war. The author makes a great argument as to how the various views arose regionally based of the mode of life in each region of Spain.
Oct 20, 2013 Caroline rated it liked it
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..
Jul 08, 2011 Jesus rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, history
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!
Nov 27, 2016 Alba marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Y éste también lo dejo, por el mismo motivo.
Aug 24, 2016 BLESSY rated it liked it
Well-written but this book is a huge mess with regard to methodology and chronology
Chris Pollard
Aug 14, 2010 Chris Pollard rated it really liked it
Good overview of the situations leading up to the Civil War
Henri Troppmann
Sep 19, 2012 Henri Troppmann rated it really liked it
Very good, amazing prose, sort of idiosyncratic. Very interesting take on Spanish Anarchism. Definitely worth reading.
The second star is just accumulated goodwill from "South from Granada". This one was virtually unreadable.
Oct 15, 2009 alex rated it liked it
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.
Jonathan rated it it was ok
Jun 01, 2015
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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.

Librarian Note:
There is more than one author
More about Gerald Brenan...

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