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The Anatomy of a Moment

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  935 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
In February 1981, Spain was still emerging from Franco's shadow, holding a democratic vote for the new prime minister. On the day of the vote in Parliament, while the session was being filmed by TV cameras, a band of right-wing soldiers burst in with automatic weapons, ordering everyone to get down. Only three men defied the order. For thirty-five minutes, as the cameras r ...more
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Published February 1st 2011 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 2009)
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Luís C.
Aug 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Luís by: Caroline
The story repeats itself. Marx remarked that the deeds and great characters appear twice in history, the first time in a tragedy and the second in a farce, as if, when profound changes, men, frightened by their responsibility, summoned the spirits of the past, adopted their names, their gestures and their currencies to represent, using the prestigious disguise and the false language, a new historical stage, as if it was a conspiracy of the dead. On February 23, the intuition of Marx holds, altho ...more
Nancy Oakes
Mar 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Jorge Luis Borges once wrote that "every destiny, however long and complicated, essentially boils down to a single moment -- the moment a man knows, once and for all, who he is." Thirty years ago in February of 1981, that moment came for three people who refused to comply with the demands of Lt. Col. Antonio Tejero and other members of the military, who came into a session of the Spanish parliament waving a gun and ordered everyone down to the floor. It was, it seems, the beginning of a coup. F ...more
Only two of the books I read this year made it to my favorites list, and this was one of them.

Anatomy of a Moment is difficult to get into, but well worth the diligence to persist. The reader is gripped by Cercas’s rythmic delving into the players on both sides of the 1983 failed coup attempt in Spain that started with the rebels' incursion of the Cortes, the Spanish legislature. It is a gradual pealing away of first the surface version, the iconic televised pictures of Adolfo Suarez, General Ma
Lilly Roth
May 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting approach to non-fiction. Javier Cercas X rays a moment in Spanish history as if it were suspended in time. He digs into each and every character, their past and present, excavating into their souls and minds to understand what drove their actions.
An fabulous page-turner!
Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, history, 2011
Cercas is a novelist who found his literary attempts to arrive at the truth of Spain's February 23, 1981 coup d'etat no match for the mysterious reality of the event itself. Instead, he assumed the role of the historian, conducted interviews of the coup's central and peripheral figures and read everything he could on the subject. Cercas also watched endlessly the 35 minute video recorded inside of the Cortes where, as guns blazed and rightwing golpistas charged about, outgoing Prime Minister Ado ...more
Max Rebo
Mar 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cuando ocurrió lo del 23-F yo era un niño y no entendía mucho. Sólo recuerdo a mi madre asustada diciendo 'qué pasará ahora?'. Con los años, mi percepción del golpe pasó a ser la de una astracanada digna de una película de Berlanga o, para ser más exactos, de un cómic de Ibáñez. Desde luego, el bigote de Tejero recordaba al mostacho del Súper, y la ocupación del congreso por parte de la Guardia Civil, un plan tan disparatado como algún invento del Profesor Bacterio. Es ahora cuando he acabado de ...more
Andy Chirls
May 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some history is written as the product of the sweep of events and great forces, and other history is written as influenced by individuals. This book focusses on the individuals, and it does so beautifully. The writer works hard to convey the complexity of how the key individuals involved acted from moment to moment, and to convey the difficulty of understanding some of their motivations. As literature, it is beautifully written, with long, contemplative sentences that convey the complexity and b ...more
José Vivas M.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2017
Tremendo. Cercas construye un detalladísimo análisis sobre un momento de la historia política reciente de España -un fallido golpe de estado de 1981- a partir de minutos de video, y del gesto que se captura en él del presidente de gobierno saliente Adolfo Suárez al no protegerse tras su curul de los disparos cuando irrumpen en el Parlamento militares sedicientes. Y el análisis va capítulo a capítulo diseccionando los puntos de vista y los arcos de vida de cuantos coincidieron en ese momento hist ...more
Although I have a few more pages to go, I am enjoying this book so much that I wanted to provide an early review. I was lucky enough to win this via the Goodreads FirstReads, so thanks for the opportunity to read this one early!! I lived in Spain a few years ago and studied Spanish history, including the 23 Feb attempted coup. The more I read, the more I'm remembering...and learning. I love the way the author has dissected the 35 minutes of the video and looked at the coup from so many different ...more
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantástico libro de un autor del que me ha gustado absolutamente todo lo que he leído de él (Soldados de Salamina y La velocidad de la luz).

Si, como la mayoría de los que éramos niños durante el 23F, careces no sólo de memoria histórica propia, sino que además flaqueas en conocimientos históricos propiamente dichos, en este libro te das un baño fabuloso de todo lo que estaba ocurriendo en España mientras todavía jugabas al escondite. El autor hace una exposición de los hechos sobre los que se ha
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cercas manages to crank out nearly 400 pages on the 1981 coup attempt in Spain. At the center of the story is Adolfo Suárez, described by Cercas as the accidental hero of this incident and the successful transition of democracy in Spain. While I am not certain how the author made his decision to organize the content of the book (which seemed a bit disjointed), the frequent repetition of certain themes and phrases cast an almost musical aura over this work of non-fiction. Cercas leaves no stone u ...more
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Javier Cercas escribe en un castellano muy hermoso y tiene buenas ideas.
En una crónica que se niega a si mismo la posibilidad de novelar, se impone contar solo verdades. Y es un ensayo sobre las vida real, sobre los grises, sobre el cambio. Sobre lo muerto que parece vivo y sobre lo vivo que parece muerto.
No hay que estar interesado en particular sobre esos sucesos para disfrutarlo. Y en estos días está por morir Adolfo Suárez así que viene bien esta lectura para entender lo que dirán los periód
Nov 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So P. suggested that N.’s suggestion of Javier Cercas’ Anatomy of a Moment might have been an instance of 10-10-12 sabotage. Here I am, seven books from the end, and N. suggests at 450 page (dense) history of the 1981 failed Spanish coup. And I, ever the sucker for recommendations from those I trust, took the bait. Almost two weeks later I’ve finished the thing, so glad I read it, so glad for the recommendation, but not entirely without suspicion. Were these two weeks meant to be gobbled up in o ...more
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
De lo mejor que he leido de Cercas.
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vi siete mai chiesti perché, alla fine della Seconda Guerra Mondiale, mentre in molti paesi (Italia, Germania, Francia e, con trent'anni di ritardo, persino in Portogallo) scattava la necessità di fare i conti con la storia e rinnegare il passato destrorso e dittatoriale, la Spagna non abbia mai imboccato questo percorso? Vi siete mai chiesti quale sia stata l'eredità del Franchismo e che cosa di quella mentalità ottusa, bigotta e militarizzata continui a sopravvivere? Vi siete mai chiesti di qu ...more
Feb 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: espagne
Este libro propone una ilustración de lo engañoso que es el refrán "una imagen vale más que mil palabras". Javier Cercas parte de la imagén de Adolfo Suarez sentado, solo, en su escaño durante el golpe del 23 de febrero de 1981 para desarrollar en más de 300 páginas el retrato de la clase politica de esta época, del "pequeño Madrid del poder", con la precisión de un científico describiendo un ecosistema.
Construye a los personajes históricos como a personajes de novela, explorando en detalles sus
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strangely addictive read, in spite of the incredible page-long sentences: I don't know whether the author or translator were to blame but the results sometimes push English grammar to breaking point.

I knew nothing about this episode. I knew Spain's democracy had been fragile but I had not realised how fragile how recently. There's a lot to think about in here about the responsibilities of politicians: where loose language might lead and what compromise can achieve. I'd like to remember: the hu
Jun 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This non-fiction novel by Spanish author Javier Cercas explores in detail the half an hour of video footage of the 23 February 1981 coup d'etat in post-Franco Spain. When an armed faction of the military entered the Cortes and took the entire parliament hostage, three men refused to get down on the ground even while soldiers threatened them and bullets flew through the air. Cercas was so entranced by this video and the gestures of Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez (one of the men who refused to get d ...more
Especialment interessant per tenir mes coneixement del que va passar el 23F. Cercas procura explica els fets, desmenteix les confabulacions histriòniques i en algunes ocasions explica les seva pròpia teoria. El relat no segueix un ordre purament cronològic sinó radial, és a dir, el relat avança en la mesura que ens explica la trajectòria personal dels protagonistes fins al dia 23 de Febrer i totes les ramificacions del relat convergeixen en el cop d'estat, en el precís moment que Suarez, Carrill ...more
Joaquim Alvarado
Em sembla que el 23-F ha estat el tema que m'ha interessat més en tota la meva vida, per això m'he polit les 437 pàgines del llibre en només dos dies. En tot cas, el llibre no aporta novetats sobre el cop, ni és la seva intenció. De facto, el llibre es fonamentalment un homenatge a Suárez, i a la seva valentia el dia del cop, tot i que Cercas reitera la seva incapacitat de gestionar el sistema democràtic que va ajudar a implantar. De retruc, també s'analitzen les diverses trames que convergiren ...more
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: en-casa
Javier Cercas lo logra de nuevo: un libro extraordinario. Por momentos me perdía de la trama y los personajes, por tratarse de un momento histórico practicamente desconocido para mi. En un punto, incluso, estuve a punto de abandonar la lectura, pero volvió a atrapar mi atención. El epílogo bien vale la pena, porque explica la razón para que Cercas escribiese este libro.
Muy bueno el libro de Cercas y más teniendo en cuenta que no sabía absolutamente nada sobre el golpe del 23 de febrero. La manera en que Cercas va desengranando el golpe y cómo nos va mostrando uno a uno a los protagonistas es muy impresionante. Recomendable.
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Un relato detallado y claro del intento de golpe de estado, el 23F, en 1981. Está estructurado alrededor del instante en que todos los parlamentarios se tiran al suelo, menos Suárez, Gutiérrez Mellado y Carrillo.
De paso me ha servido para entender la transición.
Manuel Fernandez
Suárez papucho
Héctor Genta
Lettura diversa da quello che mi aspettavo, nel senso che mi è sembrata più una via di mezzo tra il saggio e il reportage simil-giornalistico che un romanzo. Cercas non parte dal tentativo di golpe del 23 febbraio 1981 per sviluppare una trama letteraria, ma si ferma sull'evento per analizzarne presupposti e conseguenze. Il fatto di non essere uno storico di professione permette all’autore di lavorare liberamente su più livelli: sull’accaduto, ovviamente, ma anche sulle ipotesi e soprattutto sui ...more
Bien escrito. Dice hasta cosas interesantes sobre el 23-F. Uno de los pocos escritores españoles contemporáneos vivos y publicados a los que se puede respetar.
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europei
Tre "eroi della ritirata" contro il golpe….

ottimo libro sul giorno noto in Spagna come 23-F : l'ultimo tentativo di colpo di stato in Europa il 23 Febbraio 1981 a Madrid. Cercas aveva iniziato pensando a scrivere un romanzo, ma la realtà è talmente forte, simbolica, potente che il libro tratta solo di vicende reali, concentrandosi sulle uniche tre figure che hanno avuto il coraggio di non nascondersi sotto i banchi del Parlamento davanti alle raffiche di mitra per difendere la democrazia: il p
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nieletko się czyta, ale warto, chociaż nudy to fascynujące. Tak jak nie można czasem patrzeć w dół, tak tu nie ma co się zastanawiać, co mnie obchodzi hiszpańska polityka sprzed lat trzydziestu z okładem.
Francisco Lopez
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excelente libro. Ayuda mucho a entender la historia reciente española. El autor tiene una forma de escribir única.
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Хавьер Серкас - определенно мой автор, с каждой новой книгой он восхищает меня все больше!

*Анатомия момента* - роман-эссе, посвященный одному из знаковых моментов в истории Испании ХХ века, а именно попытке военного переворота 23 февраля 1981 года. Принято считать, что военным переворотам больше подвержена Африка (в период между 1952-2000 годах 33 страны черного континента пережили 85 подобных выступлений), однако другие континенты не остались незаслуженно *забытыми* военными путчами - достаточн
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Is this fiction or non-fiction? 2 14 Apr 21, 2014 07:41AM  
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Javier Cercas Mena (Ibahernando, provincia de Caceres, 1962) es un escritor y traductor español.

Hijo de un veterinario rural, cuando contaba cuatro años, en 1966 su familia se trasladó a Tarragona, y allí estudió con los jesuitas. Es primo carnal del político Alejandro Cercas. A los quince años la lectura de Jorge Luis Borges le inclinó para siempre a la escritura. En 1985 se licenció en Filología
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