The civil war that tore Spain apart between 1936 and 1939 and attracted liberals and socialists from across the world to support the cause against Franco was one of the most hard-fought and bitterest conflicts of the 20th century: a war of atrocities and political genocide and a military testing ground before WWII for the Russians, Italians and Germans, whose Condor Legion so notoriously destroyed Guernica.
Antony Beevor's account narrates the origins of the Civil War and its violent and dramatic course from the coup d'etat in July 1936 through the savage fighting of the next three years which ended in catastrophic defeat for the Republicans in 1939. And he succeeds especially well in unravelling the complex political and regional forces that played such an important part in the origins and history of the war.
©2006 Antony Beevor (P)2011 Orion
Beevor is without doubt one of the world's best historians. His works on Stalingrad and Berlin have won him international kudos. This is the first of his books to make it on to Audible, despite several requests. The Spanish war comes to life and the inconceivable savagery, incompetence, neglect, slaughter, hatred and indifference which pervaded this tragic period are vividly painted. Sadly, although it is meticulously researched and brilliantly detailed, it fails as an audiobook. There are just too many names, the sequence of events is too convoluted to remember and eventually the listener loses the plot. Great narration.
Excellent and detailed book about the Spanish Civil War. Great narrator. Beevor goes into detail about the Civil War inside the Civil War, and Stalin's use and abuse of the Republican cause. A great book, very thorough, with historical, geographical, political and military angles well covered; yet it manages to stay at the level of human interaction and to be moving and reflective
I had just finished reading Antony Beevor's WW2 book which was fantastic and gave me a much greater understanding of WW2.
Unfortunately this book did not have the same effect on me. After finishing it I still have little idea of what caused the Civil war and the key events. There were just too many similar names and too many small skirmishes. I think someone with a little understanding of the civil war and the history of Spain would gain a lot more from this book.
Oh, this is good. A mass of complicated and difficult material rendered in an accessible way by a very accomplished historian, and a splendid, lambent narration which finds a perfect tone for the text. I really enjoyed this, although the waste, betrayal and vicious stupidity which underpin the conflict made it almost unbearable in places. Notwithstanding that, Beevor finds places to foreground the triumph of human decency against hellish odds. All in all, this is a smashing piece of work.
Brilliantly explained history of the war which destroyed a country, highlighting the different parties and exploring their motives. Keeps you interested all the way through, keeping up the pace of the storytelling to make it a very interesting read. This is a staggering read.
Beevor is a fantastic researcher, and he can write brilliantly. This book covers a dark period in European history and covers it very well, with lots of detail. However, if Spanish is not a language you know, it requires quite a bit of concentration to get to grips with. This is one of those times that I would want to read a book in the traditional way, just because it needs maps to understand fully.
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