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In Praise of Middle Government

Ian Gilmour, 12 July 1990

Liberalisms. Essays in Political Philosophy 
by John Gray.
Routledge, 273 pp., £35, August 1989, 0 415 00744 5
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The Voice of Liberal Learning: Michael Oakeshott on Education 
edited by Timothy Fuller.
Yale, 169 pp., £20, April 1990, 0 300 04344 9
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The Political Philosophy of Michael Oakeshott 
by Paul Franco.
Yale, 277 pp., £20, April 1990, 0 300 04686 3
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by Ted Honderich.
Hamish Hamilton, 255 pp., £16.99, June 1990, 0 241 12999 0
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... And from the same publisher comes the first full-length study of Oakeshott’s political thought. Paul Franco has produced a fair, readable and clear account of one of the best, if one of the most tantalisingly elusive, of English political theorists. Because he is concerned, perhaps rightly, to stress the consistency of Oakeshott’s political ...

At Whatever Cost

Bernard Knox, 24 March 1994

FrancoA Biography 
by Paul Preston.
HarperCollins, 1002 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 00 215863 9
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... Francisco Franco Bahamonde has the dubious distinction of having held onto absolute power longer than any other European dictator of the first half of the 20th century. His 39 years of dictatorship, first as Nationalist supreme commander in the Civil War of 1936-9 and then as Caudillo – God-given leader – of Spain until his death in 1973, leave even his runner-up, Salazar of Portugal, well behind (32), and far outstrip his enemy Stalin (25) and his allies Mussolini (21) and Hitler, whose world-shaking career of war, genocide and destruction lasted a mere 12 years ...

Race, God and Family

Dan Hancox: Francoism, 2 July 2015

Franco’s Crypt: Spanish Culture and Memory since 1936 
by Jeremy Treglown.
Vintage, 336 pp., £16.99, March 2015, 978 1 78470 115 4
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... reminder of another past that night: a small array of stickers on a shop window with General Franco’s face on them. They had been put out by a tiny fascist grouplet called Nudo Patriota Español; alongside Franco’s face they had composed a slogan involving a pun on the huelga general (‘general ...

Homage to Spain

Douglas Johnson, 22 May 1986

Homage to Catalonia 
by George Orwell.
Secker, 260 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 436 35028 9
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The Spanish Civil War 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hamish Hamilton, 1115 pp., £20, March 1986, 0 241 89450 6
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The Triumph of Democracy in Spain 
by Paul Preston.
Methuen, 274 pp., £14.95, April 1986, 0 416 36350 4
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... is because they are difficult to recognise or to define. Should we continue to write about guerres franco-françaises, arising from the Paris Commune, the Resistance movements, or the Organisation de l’Armée Secrète formed by Algerian settlers, or should we think of them as civil wars? Often there is a reluctance to admit to the existence of civil wars as ...

Into the Net

Neal Ascherson: Records of the Spanish Civil War, 15 December 2016

Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39 
by Adam Hochschild.
Macmillan, 438 pp., £25, April 2016, 978 1 5098 1054 3
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¡No Pasarán! Writings from the Spanish Civil War 
edited by Pete Ayrton.
Serpent’s Tail, 393 pp., £20, April 2016, 978 1 84668 997 0
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The Last Days of the Spanish Republic 
by Paul Preston.
William Collins, 390 pp., £25, February 2016, 978 0 00 816340 2
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A Distant Heartbeat: A War, a Disappearance and a Family’s Secrets 
by Eunice Lipton.
New Mexico, 165 pp., £18.50, April 2016, 978 0 8263 5658 1
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... it as a state of affairs worth fighting against, and they were not only on the rebel side with Franco. Most of the political coalition defending the Republic – liberals, many socialists and above all the huge and well-organised Spanish Communist Party – feared that the anarchist eruption in Catalonia would weaken the war effort and frighten off the ...

War within wars

Paul Addison, 5 November 1992

War, Strategy and International Politics: Essays in Honour of Sir Michael Howard 
edited by Lawrence Freedman, Paul Hayes and Robert O’Neill.
Oxford, 322 pp., £35, July 1992, 0 19 822292 0
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... to Liddell Hart or G.M. Trevelyan. Howard, who wrote the first history in English of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, and a brilliant volume in the official history of grand strategy in the Second World War, demonstrated long ago his mastery of military history in its classical form. But he was also an innovator. He recognised the need to rescue ...


Dan Hancox: In Asturias, 6 February 2014

... a report calling on the government to repeal the 1977 Amnesty Law which prevents crimes from the Franco era being formally investigated. The report also calls for funding to be restored to the short-lived Historical Memory Project, which some 12 or 15 years ago had begun to document and excavate Franco’s mass graves, and ...

Bring on the crooners

Sebastian Balfour, 6 June 1996

Juan Carlos of Spain: Self-Made Monarch 
by Charles Powell.
Macmillan, 253 pp., £13.99, January 1996, 9780333649299
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The Government and Politics of Spain 
by Paul Heywood.
Macmillan, 331 pp., £42.50, November 1995, 0 333 52058 0
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... Second Republic were compelled to bury the memory of their former allegiance in order to survive Franco’s vengeful regime. When the dictator died 36 years later, the price of a peaceful transition to democracy was to forget the barbarities of his regime. And now, in the aftermath of a less solemn occasion, the Spanish people are being invited to forget the ...

I’m all for it

R.W. Johnson, 30 March 2000

Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII 
by John Cornwall.
Viking, 430 pp., £20, September 1999, 0 670 87620 8
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... entrusted to your leadership’ and sending him fawning greetings on his birthday. He fawned on Franco in similar fashion, congratulating him on a great ‘Catholic victory’ in Spain and urging the Spanish bishops to uphold ‘the principles taught by the Church and proclaimed with such nobility by the Generalissimo’. Pacelli seems to have concluded ...

What Sport!

Paul Laity: George Steer, 5 June 2003

Telegram from Guernica: The Extraordinary Life of George Steer, War Correspondent 
by Nicholas Rankin.
Faber, 256 pp., £14.99, April 2003, 0 571 20563 1
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... well, and it may have been her influence that prompted Steer’s next move. He arrived at the Franco-Spanish border in August 1936, in time to report the first action of the Basque campaign in the Civil War. Margarita died in childbirth the following year; Steer buried her in Biarritz, then, grieving and more devil-may-care than ever, continued to report ...


Michael Church, 9 October 1986

The Children of the Souls: A Tragedy of the First World War 
by Jeanne Mackenzie.
Chatto, 276 pp., £14.95, June 1986, 9780701128470
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Voices from the Spanish Civil War: Personal Recollections of Scottish Volunteers in Republican Spain 1936-39 
edited by Ian MacDougall, by Victor Kiernan.
Polygon, 369 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 948275 19 7
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The Shallow Grave: A Memoir of the Spanish Civil War 
by Walter Gregory, edited by David Morris and Anthony Peters.
Gollancz, 183 pp., £10.95, June 1986, 0 575 03790 3
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Spanish Front: Writers on the Civil War 
edited by Valentine Cunningham.
Oxford, 388 pp., £15, July 1986, 0 19 212258 4
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The Spanish Cockpit 
by Franz Borkenau.
Pluto, 303 pp., £4.95, July 1986, 0 7453 0188 6
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The Spanish Civil War 1936-39 
by Paul Preston.
Weidenfeld, 184 pp., £10.95, June 1986, 0 297 78891 4
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Images of the Spanish Civil War 
by Raymond Carr.
Allen and Unwin, 192 pp., £14.95, July 1986, 0 04 940089 4
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... Civil War offers the reverse of the medal. Most of the 2700 Britons who rushed off to fight Franco were ordinary (often unemployed) workers, and the 20 Scottish recollections which Ian MacDougall has gathered reflect an almost exclusively proletarian world. Since many of these volunteers were friends (three came from one family), their stories ...

Notes from the Land of the Dead

Colm Tóibín: Art and Politics in Catalonia, 20 March 2014

A Personal Memoir: Fragments for an Autobiography 
by Antoni Tàpies, translated by Josep Miquel Sobrer.
Indiana, 429 pp., £26.99, February 2010, 978 0 253 35489 1
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Complete Writings Volume II: Collected Essays 
by Antoni Tàpies, translated by Josep Miquel Sobrer.
Indiana, 744 pp., £26.99, November 2011, 978 0 253 35503 4
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... as bombs fell … I can still hear with horror the piercing cries and see the smoke.’ With Franco’s troops moving towards Barcelona, Tàpies’s father went into hiding, afraid that the Catalan government ‘would require him to go into exile with them or join the resistance’. As the war ended, Tàpies remembers seeing ‘some neighbours climbing ...

Go and get killed, comrade

Gideon Lewis-Kraus: Spanish Civil War, 21 February 2013

Unlikely Warriors: The British in the Spanish Civil War and the Struggle against Fascism 
by Richard Baxell.
Aurum, 516 pp., £25, September 2012, 978 1 84513 697 0
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I Am Spain: The Spanish Civil War and the Men and Women Who Went to Fight Fascism 
by David Boyd Haycock.
Old Street, 363 pp., £25, October 2012, 978 1 908699 10 7
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... once called A Concise History of the Spanish Civil War – it’s no longer said to be concise – Paul Preston points out that this prelude to the Second World War has generated as many books as the Second World War itself. During the Cold War, with the CIA busy collaborating with anarchists and Trotskyists to try to obscure ‘the fact that ...

How Left was he?

Paul Addison, 7 January 1993

John Maynard Keynes: The Economist as Saviour 1920-1937 
by Robert Skidelsky.
Macmillan, 731 pp., £20, November 1992, 0 333 37138 0
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Maynard Keynes: An Economist’s Biography 
by D.E. Moggridge.
Routledge, 941 pp., £35, April 1992, 9780415051415
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... not echo the anti-fascist line of the Left; if he was enraged by the activities of Mussolini and Franco, there is little evidence of the fact in Skidelsky’s account. Another striking feature of his inter-war career was the absence from his mind of the Left-Liberal preoccupation with poverty, the social services and the redistribution of wealth. In ...

Noovs’ hoovs in the trough

Angela Carter, 24 January 1985

The Official Foodie Handbook 
by Ann Barr and Paul Levy.
Ebury, 144 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 85223 348 5
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An Omelette and a Glass of Wine 
by Elizabeth David.
Hale, 318 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7090 2047 3
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Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook 
by Alice Waters, foreword by Jane Grigson .
Chatto, 340 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 7011 2820 8
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... indeed make good 20th-century sense to worship food, but punters of ‘foodism’ (as Ann Barr and Paul Levy jokily dub this phenomenon) are evidently not about to drop to their knees because they are starving.‘Foodies’, according to Barr and Levy, are ‘children of the consumer boom’ who consider ‘food to be an art, on a level with painting or ...

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