in the UK
Since its first publication, Hugh Thomas' "The Spanish Civil War" has become established as the definitive one-volume history of a conflict that continues to provoke intense controversy today. What was it that roused left-wing sympathizers from all over the world to fight against Franco between 1936 and 1939? Why did the British and US governments refuse to intervene? And why did the Republican cause collapse so violently? Now revised and updated, Hugh Thomas' classic account presents the most objective and unbiased analysis of a passionate struggle where fascism and democracy, communism and Catholicism were at stake - and which was as much an international war as a Spanish one. "Remarkable ...a definitive account". ("Sunday Times"). "A prodigy of a book ...about the most heroic and pitiful story of the twentieth century". (Michael Foot). "His masterwork". ("Independent"). "A full, vivid and deeply serious treatment of a great subject". ("The New York Times Book Review"). Hugh Thomas is the author of, among other books, "The Spanish Civil War" (1962), which won the Somerset Maugham Award, "Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom" (1971), "An Unfinished History of the World" (1979), and the first volume of his Spanish Empire trilogy, "Rivers of Gold" (2003).
Penguin Books Ltd
Publisher and industry reviews
UK Kirkus review
First published in 1961 and now updated, this has become one of the definitive studies of what essentially turned into an international civil war. Combatants of various nations, political shades and religions pitched in to fight for ideologies that in most cases even their own governments would not support. For a time it seemed the conflict could lead to a world war - then a world war did indeed come, but from a different direction, and the Spanish struggle became relegated to little more than a footnote in our history books. Thomas examines every aspect of the war in meticulous detail, beginning with the causes of resentment and ending with a long and considered summary that puts the bewildering range of events into context. The focus is penetrating, even down to the most minute details of individual skirmishes. Equally harrowing are descriptions of the effects on Spain's civilian population as the warring factions fought for causes that to the average Spaniard were not always clear. Essentially, the war was born out of fear - many people feared the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy, others feared the spread of communism in Russia. Add to that a host of religious intolerances and you have, as Hugh Thomas says, a situation that in recent decades has become all too familiar. Many Britons took part in the Spanish Civil War, some members of the same families fighting for opposite sides. That internecine split became magnified many thousands of times over in Spanish households, and the repercussions are still felt today. The book is not an easy read, Thomas's style being somewhat didactic and old-fashioned, but there is no better background to a long-misunderstood conflict. (Kirkus UK)
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