Human stories during the Spanish Civil War woven into a compelling book.
In the initial section Rhodes details in a readily understandable form the buHuman stories during the Spanish Civil War woven into a compelling book.
In the initial section Rhodes details in a readily understandable form the build up to the Spanish Civil War and how General Francisco Franco led a military revolt against the republic aided by Mussolini and Hitler. The republican side was aided by Stalin for a time, whilst the other western powers stood aside. Despite the non-intervention of the western powers, 40,000 foreign volunteers came to the republic’s aid.
The author tells the stories of some of those who travelled to Spain to support the republican cause. There’s some obvious characters here, Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, a brief appearance by George Orwell as well as lesser known characters such as Norman Bethune, a Canadian surgeon, Edward Barsky, an American doctor and Patience Darton, a British nurse.
Robert Merriman, a Communist from California also features prominently. He was the commander of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion of US volunteers on which the hero of Hemingway's war novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls was based.
The book does concentrate quite significantly on the medical aspects of the Spanish Civil War as well as the processes that went into the creation of the major modern art pieces the war produced namely Picasso’s “Guernica”, and the lesser known “The Reaper” by Joan Miró for the 1937 Paris World Fair both commissioned by the Republican Government. The book would have benefited from images of these art works, however I was reading an ebook review copy so the final versions may well have photos.
The book focuses on the characters and their personal stories and is therefore not a military history, however it’s better for that. Personal stories have much more impact and I found the story of Patience Darton particularly moving. If you are at all interested in the Spanish Civil War then well worth a read. ...more
Highly acclaimed in Spain, this is a cracking thriller set in a believable 1950s Barcelona that builds the tension to a brilliant climax.
It is post-CiHighly acclaimed in Spain, this is a cracking thriller set in a believable 1950s Barcelona that builds the tension to a brilliant climax.
It is post-Civil War Spain and in 1950’s oppressive and very fascist Barcelona Ana Martí Noguer, a keen young female journalist, is surprised to be assigned to work with the Police when wealthy socialite Mariona Sobrerroca is found murdered.
The story expands from a straight forward murder to an intriguing puzzle the leads to the city's corrupt and ruthless power brokers.
This appears to be Sara Moliner’s first book and it is an excellent debut. However, it turns out that Sara Moliner is a nom de plume and is Rosa Ribas, who has written at least three other books and co-author Sabine Hofmann.
They really do create a very believable fascist Barcelona where violence and rumour abound. I did feel that some of the language didn’t appear to fit the period. For example the word “teenagers”, but on checking it appears to have been around longer than I thought.
The authors’ descriptions of the shady characters in the book ooze sleaze and depravity and their writing style gives real depth to the story.
Recommended reading for anyone wanting a different and intelligent crime thriller as well as those who are fans of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s Cemetery of the Forgotten Books series and Rebecca Pawel’s Tejada series. ...more
I was expecting a history of an element of the Spanish Civil and was presented with a personal story of the author's jouStrange and unusual book this.
I was expecting a history of an element of the Spanish Civil and was presented with a personal story of the author's journey to understand why a Falangist leader survived a firing squad and to try and explain how and why he was spared.
It took me some time to get into the book and I was considering dropping it, something I rarely do. However, the second half of the book pulls together a very human story of how we remember, and that all memories only last as long as someone remembers them....more
Excellent book portraying Madrid after the Civil War in the early days of Franco's dictatorship. Harry is asked to work in the British Embassy as a trExcellent book portraying Madrid after the Civil War in the early days of Franco's dictatorship. Harry is asked to work in the British Embassy as a translator, but in reality he's there to spy on his old schoolfriend Sandy who is working closely with the Franco regime.
The story uncovers their schoolboy past and friendships that leads to a dramatic climax in the mountains around Madrid.