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

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  2,735 ratings  ·  383 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 vo
Kindle Edition, 485 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Mariner Books; Reprint edition
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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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Jul 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-history
Hochschild follows the experiences of Americans drawn to the Spanish Civil War 1936-39. In a world still in throws of deep depression, extreme income inequality and rising fascism, Spain was a place where liberal idealists could make a stand. Many felt capitalism had completely failed and were enamored with the Soviet Union not seeing its underlying brutal reality. In Spain it was class warfare. Winning a national election, peasants and workers living in extreme poverty organized a new Republic ...more
Steven Z.
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 belie ...more
Feb 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 w
Jul 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
"Men of my generation had Spain in our hearts. It was there that they learned one can be right and yet beaten, that force can vanquish spirit and there are times when courage is not rewarded." - Albert Camus


Adam Hochschild tells the story of foreign Spanish Civil War volunteers who helped defend the Republic against a military coup led by Nationalist Francisco Franco in 1936. There was widespread economic depression, with Mussolini and Hitler in Europe, FDR in the US and Stalin in th
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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; Gel ...more

I'm afraid I exceeded the character-limit this time; so if you're interested, please check out my review here:
Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 was a deeply researched and well-written history of the Spanish Civil War as told in the experiences of ten Americans, including the likes of Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, and Martha Gelhorn. Adam Hochschild spins a sweeping history of the Spanish Civil War from the perspective of many individual perspectives as the war was dominating the headlines in America. Those individuals whose stories gave this book life will remain in ...more
Colleen Browne
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The books written by Adam Hochschild, in my opinion, are some of the best written and researched books on the shelves today. Previous to reading this book, my knowledge of the Spanish Civil War was minimal but this book has provided a great deal of knowledge about the war and yet again, makes me ashamed of the role America played. The CEO of Texaco should have been prosecuted and jailed, and prevented from selling as much oil to Franco as the dictator wished- and all on credit. FDR later lamente ...more
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
Susan Paxton
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, european
This is an outstanding history of the Spanish Civil War. Hochschild weaves the stories of volunteers, reporters and others in a way the personalizes the conflict and brings it home. I was unaware of the role that Texaco oil and its CEO played in Franco's victory. This book was an eye-opener on many fronts! ...more
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 a ...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 non-Spanis ...more
Leo Walsh
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Repu ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Michael Burnam-Fink
After King Leopold's Ghost, I'm willing to give anything by Hochschild a spin. Spain in Our Hearts is not quite worth it. The Spanish Civil War, and in particular the involvement of the International Brigades, is a subject where the moral issues seem to overwhelm historical objectivity. This was the first fight against fascism! And yet the Republicans were abandoned by the Western Democracies. The USSR was the Republic's most reliable supporter, and Stalinist commissars held key positions, enact ...more
John Bohnert
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. Vietna ...more
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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, f
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 free
Brendan Monroe
I recently completed a short story collection set during the Spanish Civil War, called Treasure of the Spanish Civil War, and while reading it I realized that I didn't actually know anything about the Spanish Civil War.

At least, nothing other than the basic three.

1. Hemingway participated (as a sort of glorified war correspondent) and famously wrote about it

2. George Orwell participated (like, actually fought in it) and famously wrote about it

3. The western democracies more or less stayed out,
Apr 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
“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 n
Christopher Saunders
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, He ...more
What a thoroughly researched book. Hochschild weaves the story of several people into his narrative, including Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn. I can really appreciate what one of the survivors of the Spanish Civil War said about 50 years later, "Life is never as easy and as black and white as what one thinks." It is so true. In youth, one thinks that they know everything. Only later, does one learn to appreciate the nuances.

My husband's niece's husband's grandmother is mentioned in the boo
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.
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 sta ...more
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 t
Clay W
Nov 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
What an intensely significant event that I only remember vaguely as a footnote in all of my history classes in highschool, both American and European, that failed to do a deep cover(even if it was a day to scratch the surface) on the Spanish Civil War between WWI and WWII.

The cast of historical figures including Hemingway, Orwell, Virginia Cowles, among those that were in the trenches such as Bob Merriman and Jim Neugass are just simply surreal. Just from the prologue I was hooked.

This is a book
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
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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 severa ...more

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