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viva Espana

I love books that explain to me how we ended up where we are (and do so in story form).

If you are curious about Spain's fascist past, read "Death of a Nationalist" by Rebecca Pawel. (It was published in 2003 so isn't going to be on Barnes & Noble's "new books" table, but should be easily found in any bookstore that has a rich mystery section or by searching the internet.) It was an Edgar Award Winner.

It's a history/mystery that takes place during the Spanish Civil War with an unusual point of view: the growing moral quandary of Carlos Tejada Alonso y Leon, a member of the fascist Guardia. Pawel pulls no punches when it comes to depicting the casual brutalities spawned by the war, but it is a humane depiction of a divided people. And Pawal's research is meticulous. Kirkus Reviews called it "an intriguing juxtaposition of the political and the personal."

There are two follow-up books in the series; I didn't like them as much as the first, but for those who need closure, they exist.

Posted by
4149 posts

I haven't heard of this one but based on Monty's other recommendations (Furst, Gopnik, Leon) I'm going to rush out and get a copy to read before my trip to Spain this fall!

Posted by
145 posts

Thanks for the compliment. :) There are too few opportunities to share one's favorite travel experiences, and ditto one's favorite books. Combining the two is great.

Posted by
3900 posts

I prefer non-fiction to fiction, any particular recommendations on the subject?

Posted by
6001 posts

Another recent fiction book that takes place during the Spanish civil war is "Love and Ruin" by Paula McLain. It's a fictionalized account of the relationship between Martha Gelhorn, an award winning war correspondent, and Ernest Hemmingway (she was his 3rd wife). It's an easy summer read and I really enjoyed it. Takes place in Madrid, Cuba, Key West, and other places during the lead up to WWII.

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Since I have a lot of interest in George Orwell and his books, I have read most of them. One of the books I recently read was "Homage to Catalonia" ebook, which spoke about the Spanish Civil War and the events and memories of that time.

A masterpiece of Orwell with a political background ... The narrative of the Spanish Civil War, which ultimately leads to the start of Franco's rule and the beginning of a dictatorship in Spain.
The chapters of the story that describe the political relationships between the fascists, the communists and the anarchists are a little tedious and difficult.
However, Orwell's narration of his memories in the front line and the street clashes is very intriguing and exciting. If one is interested in politics and party affairs, he will enjoy the book. Written in the form of a truly awesome and perfect one ... But perhaps the only point of this book is that it was written for a particular audience and targeted to a particular stratum of the books ... hard ... nice and beautiful