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Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  2,086 ratings  ·  297 reviews
From the acclaimed, best-selling author Adam Hochschild, a sweeping history of the Spanish Civil War, told through a dozen characters, including Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell: a tale of idealism, heartbreaking suffering, and a noble cause that failed

For three crucial years in the 1930s, the Spanish Civil War dominated headlines in America and around the world, as
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Ed Smith There are more statements like this from various persons, including Franco, in "The Spanish Holocaust" by Preston. I have been studying the SCW for 50…moreThere are more statements like this from various persons, including Franco, in "The Spanish Holocaust" by Preston. I have been studying the SCW for 50 years and very rarely have come across this. I know of no books on this subject.

Most antisemitism in Spain was in the abstract as there were hardly any Jews in Spain. Usually the statements from some generals, priests and plotters was that the war would be to scourge the country of "reds" free-masons who were backed by foreign Jewish money (International Jewery). It was a foreign plot to control Spain.

Curiously, many people in Spain believe that Franco was of Jewish descent on his mother's side. This is fairly common in Spain as not all the Jews were expelled in 1492. What is also interesting is that Franco tacitly allowed around 50,000 Jewish refugees asylum in Spain, during WWII .


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Steven Z.
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Years ago I saw the film, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie about a teacher in a Scottish girl’s school who strayed from the school curriculum by praising Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini while romanticizing the Spanish Civil War. The arguments she used in her classroom reappear in Adam Hochschild’s new book SPAIN IN OUR HEARTS: AMERICANS IN THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR, 1936-1939 as the author presents the positions of multiple sides engaged in the fight for Republican Spain. The title leads one to ...more
Feb 23, 2016 rated it liked it
This was provocative...... that I was angered or annoyed at:

--- Texaco, which gave Franco all the oil he wanted, on credit, in contravention of United States Law; and played footsies with Hitler, without remorse; and suffered nothing but continued and increased wealth. Torkild Rieber, Texaco's chairman, was unabashed and unrepentant in his friendship with Göring. Years after this war and the one to follow, Bob Hope, Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock and Cecil B. DeMille were all happy to meet
Feb 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spain in Our Hearts is a well-researched book about American volunteers who fought in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade on the side of the Republic during the Spanish Civil War. Hochschild relies upon published and unpublished memoirs and the correspondence of soldiers, behind-the-lines spouses, journalists and celebrities to shape his book. But for me it seemed disjointed, jumping too frequently between the many personal narratives. It felt as if Hochschild was unsure whether he was writing a history ...more
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For anyone with an interest in the Spanish Civil War, Hoschild’s book is a must. I would recommend it highly for a first-time approach to the subject. It is written with the usual Hoschild flair for combining history with storytelling: as it is told through the perspective of a number of American and English men and women who traveled or fought in Spain during the war, an otherwise chronological and rather complete history of the conflict becomes very accessible to readers, especially ...more
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
This author is a superb historian and storyteller - weaving enough personal stories to keep us connected on a human level, while still making sure the numbers, dates, battles are covered. I learned a tremendous amount, especially about the conflict within the Republican side - between the Soviets and the Anarchists, and other self-defeating divisions. And, although i knew that the western “democracies” refused to help the elected (i.e. democratic) Republican government by refusing to sell them ...more
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent history of the Spanish Civil War, which raged from 1936-38, told through the lens of the experiences of multiple Americans who were involved in the war. The Lincoln Brigade of brave American volunteers is foremost in the story, but the author brings in the stories of the journalists, famous (Hemingway, Gelhorn), and unknown, as well as George Orwell, whose Homage to Catalonia is a wonderful piece of literature about the war. My opinion of Hemingway improved after reading this book; ...more
Leo Walsh
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
An exploration of the Spanish Civil War that highlights the horrors authoritarian regimes bring in their wake. Funny thing is, horrific things happened whether that authoritarian regime is Stalinist — Stalin 'purged' millions of dissenters in Russia during the War's timeframe and his commissars suppressed independence in Republican Spain — or from fascist Franco. And while the fascist Spanish Nationalists' acts seem more horrendous than those carried out by backers of the democratic Spanish ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating description of the participation of idealistic American (and other international) volunteers in the Spanish Civil War. This book concentrates on the American volunteers, but also some general history of the Spanish Civil War and some other volunteers from other countries. I think Franco's victory is widely understood to be because of the enormous aid he received from Hitler and Mussolini, but very few realize how much he really won the war due to Texaco, and to a lesser extent the ...more
Susan Paxton
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-stars, history
In a time when upwards of 20% of Americans are functional fascists (and a much higher percentage of white males), this book is a necessary corrective. Once upon a time common Americans fought fascism, some before the Second World War made it safe to do so - the Americans who volunteered to fight in Spain risked having their passports revoked and many would face persecution during the McCarthy era. Hochschild, who worked among reporters who had covered the Spanish Civil War, has written a deeply ...more
John Bohnert
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the first non-fiction book that I've read about the Spanish Civil War. I found this book fascinating. As a result, I decided to order THE BATTLE FOR SPAIN, HOMAGE TO CATALONIA, and THE SPANISH HOLOCAUST.
“Men of my generation have had Spain in our hearts,” Albert Camus wrote. “It was there that they learned … that one can be right and yet be beaten, that force can vanquish spirit and that there are times when courage is not rewarded.”

Camus' quote serves as the title inspiration for Hochschild's history of the Spanish Civil War, specifically told through the eyes of the American (and some British) members of the International Brigades. The book is a collective biography both with the well-known
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book put together a detailed picture of world events in the 1930s, and I only wish my parents were still alive so I could interview them on their own experiences during those difficult times. The book is so very well researched and presented, I can only share just a few quotes:
"Roughly 2,800 Americans fought in the Spanish Civil War, an estimated 750 of them dying there--a far higher death rate than the US military suffered in any of its twentieth-century wars."

"While the fighting lasted,
Apr 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, war, spain
“’Pain’ in our Hearts.” Hochschild teaches at Cal and co-founded Mother Jones so his world-view is ascertainable before cracking this one open. He asks himself if he would have hero-ed up to join the Republican International Brigade fighting very grim odds against fascism (but never really FOR communism or anarchy) in Spain. Hochschild also asks if you can have a revolution while fighting a war. He is overly sympathetic with the Republicans. Franco and the Nationalists were indeed nefarious but ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spain
It is in writing Spain in Our Hearts that author Adam Hochschild asks a fundamental and strongly contemporary question: When is it appropriate for a superpower like the United States to intervene in a conflict on foreign land for a justifiable cause or set of values? In asking this question, alongside Hochschilds strong narrative of the Spanish Civil War, gave this reader long pauses for thought. American intervention in countries post WWII has shown to be dramatically consequential (i.e. ...more
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
I read this book purely based on the author's reputation, having read some of his other books. I didn't think I really had any interest in the Spanish Civil War, but I knew this author could take any topic and draw me in. I was not disappointed. Mr. Hochschild's book is not so much a history of the war (although you will come away with a pretty good idea of its dimensions), but of the people (mostly Americans, but some Canadians and Brits, too) whose idealism led them take part. At the war's ...more
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american, spanish-lit
What to make of this book? I had mixed emotions. Disgust and anger comes to mind, as well empathy and learning so much about a neglected part of history.

Adam Hochschild paints a very tough and yet endearing portrait of the 2,800 Americans (and many others) who fought for the the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil war (1937-1939). His almost "folksy style" made it a page turner despite all the violent acts of war. He focused on the people, from the brave and not-so brave leaders to
Mary Alice
Ten stars

If you ever thought the Spanish Civil War was too hard to understand, a mishmosh of factions and personalities, this is the book you should read. Hochschild lays the war out very simply amidst the story of Spain's fight for freedom.

This is the story of the Americans who went to Spain to fight against fascism right before World War II. The U.S. government told them not to go, but American idealists --Communists, anarchists, newspaper reporters, medical personnel and others who loved
I'm fairly familiar with the Spanish Civil War, having read Homage to Catalonia, taken Nick Lloyd's well-researched tour in Barcelona, a Context travel tour in Madrid, and read other texts outlining the war and the Republican leaders. I bought this book as I was interested in learning about the Americans who chose to participate in the war. While the book does tell the stories of some of the Americans, it also spends much time on the drudgery of the war and the political situation both in Spain, ...more
Christopher Saunders
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
Adam Hochschild's Spain in Our Hearts views the Spanish Civil War through the lens of American participants - an approach which is much more fruitful than one might expect. While the book isn't terribly detailed on the war's political and cultural background, it does an excellent job covering the war's appeal to a generation of progressives. While Hochschild does show the contrad Participants profiled include well-known writers (Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell) and journalists (Louis Fischer, ...more
Julie LaRock
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating read concerning a part of history I knew very little about.
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spain in Our Hearts by Adam Hochschild deals with much more than the Americans who volunteered to serve the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil war (1936-1939). In fact, the life stories of these Americans, most not famous like Ernest Hemingway or his companion, Martha Gellhorn, are somewhat distracting except in connection with the larger issues surrounding that awful struggle.

Nonetheless, this is a very accessible, well-written book and it surfaces three points of particular interest.

Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Idealism is cool but you know what else is cool? Having the latest weapons that can be used to win the war.
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Less than a year of Spain "ruled" (hehe) by anarchists is inspiring enough to keep trudging through the descriptions of battles in this book. Battles: so tediously violent and futile. Hundreds of journalists in Spain and none of them thought to describe what Barcelona looked like for a few brief months when the people had "confiscated, collectivized" everything. It's a shame because it sounds amazing: "mansions confiscated from the wealthy had been converted into housing for the homeless; ...more
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Important topic, but a weird angle on it and boring. Why not just read Orwell's book? Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
You'll have time left over to listen to Spanish Bombs by the Clash and look at Guernica by Picasso.
Michael Fineberg
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it
The book is meticulously researched, beautifully written and sometimes interesting but I just did not maintain focus or understand, really, what the author intended me to learn. Most of the anecdotes were interesting and some of them made me think various things but I do not know how to connect them in any way, other than that they occurred at that time and in that place. I'm confident that at another time, or with deeper understanding, this book would have been more interesting to me.
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
If, like me, your knowledge of the Spanish Civil War is limited to tidbits such as Hemingway having been there, Picasso's Guernica, etc., this book is an excellent introduction to the events that should have alerted the world to what was coming next. Hochschild tells the history via the stories of several diverse Americans caught up in the struggle, from idealists to reporters to medical personnel and soldiers.
Adam  McPhee
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Adam by: Doug Henwood's radio show, I think?
Looks at the various roles Americans (and Canadians and George Orwell) played in the war. From the International Brigades to nurses and doctors for the Republicans to journalists to Nazi collaborators.

Rightly exorciates the war reporters for spending too much time with Hemingway at the front and missing the two biggest stories of the war: the social revolution underway in Republican Spain (deliberately played down by Martha Gellhorn and Virginia Cowles, completely missed by others), and also the
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
The Spanish Civil War, which began in 1936 and ended three long years later, always feels overshadowed by the World War that followed it. This is interesting, because it really was the opening volley. This impeccably researched book, covers this much-neglected slice of history. It focuses on the 2,800 hundred American volunteers, that fought on Spanish soil. America was struggling through a depression and FDR, wanted his country to stay out of any global conflict, ignoring the fascist threat ...more
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography, spain
I read this somewhat on a whim, and I'm quite glad I did. I didn't know much about the Spanish Civil War before this book, and I now am going to delve a bit into it by adding some more books about it into my book list.

This is a loose history of the Spanish Civil War, mostly relying on first hand accounts. It is heavy on information from diaries, journals, and journalists. Hochschild writes engagingly, explaining the broad outlines of the war's progress while mostly focusing on what is happening
Ai Miller
This book I found to be mostly okay? It was far more of a War Book (even if it wasn't focused necessarily on individual generals or whatever) than I was expecting (though I'm not sure what I expected,) and sometimes in his attempts towards aping a kind of journalistic Truth, Hochschild's historical imagination is limited (particularly regarding anarchist Catalonia) which is boring, but it wasn't super appalling to me in most respects. (Though there was a VERY weird throwaway line about how there ...more
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Hochschild was born in New York City. As a college student, he spent a summer working on an anti-government newspaper in South Africa and subsequently worked briefly as a civil rights worker in Mississippi in 1964. Both were politically pivotal experiences about which he would later write in his book Finding the Trapdoor. He later was part of the movement against the Vietnam War, and, after ...more
“Men of my generation,” wrote the French novelist Albert Camus, “have had Spain in our hearts. . . . It was there that they learned . . . that one can be right and yet be beaten, that force can vanquish spirit, and that there are times when courage is not rewarded.” 2 likes
“In June 1940, immediately after France surrendered to the invading Nazis, Rieber and Westrick took part in a celebratory dinner in a private room at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where executives of Ford, General Motors, Eastman Kodak, and other companies talked about the prospects for American cooperation with the Nazi regime that seemed certain to dominate Europe for the foreseeable future. Germany would be a good credit risk for American loans, Westrick said, and there should definitely be no more of this nonsense of selling US arms to the British.” 0 likes
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