Posts From Author: nana

Between the Crisis and the Catastrophe: Amanda Vaill on the Spanish Civil War

Spain’s war had become an experimental exercise — which will prevail, fascism or socialism? Whose weapons are stronger, Germany’s or Russia’s? — that the rest of the world was watching with interest. This is “a bleak and terrifying epiphany” for Arturo Barea, an aspiring writer working in Madrid as a press censor for the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War. When the conflict began, in 1936, Europe was shifting gears: those loyal to the Republican government found themselves ignored by a nervous Britain and France while the Nationalist insurgents, led by the ruthless General Franco, were being granted fabulous access to new innovations in warfare from Italy and a swiftly rearming Germany. Barea, realising that Spain was viewed internationally as little more than a test run for what was shaping up to be an even bigger conflict, was understandably put out. He’s one of a handful of characters at the centre of Amanda Vaill‘s superb close-up study of the conflict,┬áHotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014), and although of Vaill’s six protagonists he’s the only Spaniard, it’s his heart that the book’s beats in time with. His confreres on the frontline […]
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