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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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... which generations of historians have turned in order to study this difficult and controversial subject, although many distinguished studies of the subject have appeared since (by historians such as PaulPreston, Raymond Carr and Martin Blinkhorn, to mention three British examples). My memories of Homage to Catalonia were not only of the fine, evocative writing, perhaps Orwell’s best, but of his ...

At Whatever Cost

Bernard Knox

24 March 1994
Franco: A Biography 
by Paul Preston.
HarperCollins, 1002 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 00 215863 9
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... 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. PaulPreston’s massive biography, on which he has worked for many years, is not, he writes in his Prologue, ‘a history a 20th-century Spain nor an analysis of every aspect of the dictatorship, but ...

Bloody

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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... friends dying on stretchers, just dumped in a hollow and forgotten. ‘I felt that I had suffered some permanent in jury to my spirit from which I would never entirely recover.’ One has to turn to PaulPreston’s new book to learn that Gurney was a sculptor and that he himself got an injury which prevented his ever sculpting again. ‘Women Writing Spain’ is the modish slogan-title to a chapter ...

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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... moron’. This also happens to fit the plotters in 1939 Spain quite neatly. Besteiro was the dreamy idiot. Casado, who pulled him into the conspiracy, was the self-dramatising, self-obsessed moron. PaulPreston, author of The Last Days of the Spanish Republic, hits hard from his first page. ‘This is the story of an avoidable humanitarian tragedy that cost many thousands of lives and ruined tens of ...

Paralysed by the Absence of Danger

Jeremy Harding: Spain, 1937

24 September 2009
Letters from Barcelona: An American Woman in Revolution and Civil War 
edited by Gerd-Rainer Horn.
Palgrave, 209 pp., £50, February 2009, 978 0 230 52739 3
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War Is Beautiful: An American Ambulance Driver in the Spanish Civil War 
by James Neugass.
New Press, 314 pp., £16.99, November 2008, 978 1 59558 427 4
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We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War 
by Paul Preston.
Constable, 525 pp., £9.99, June 2009, 978 1 84529 946 0
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... visit us, we do not feel quite so much like international orphans.’ Loyalist Spanish felt that they, too, were less like Republican orphans once their cause had been adopted by foreign journalists. PaulPreston catches this column-inch internationalism very well in his magnificent survey of the correspondents who worked in Spain, their minders in the Republic’s press offices, and the crew of dons ...

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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... In the introduction to the third revision of what was once called A Concise History of the Spanish Civil War – it’s no longer said to be concise – PaulPreston 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 ...

Prince and Pimp

Paul​ Foot

1 January 1998
The Liar: The Fall of Jonathan Aitken 
by Luke Harding and David Leigh.
Penguin, 205 pp., £6.99, December 1997, 0 14 027290 9
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... Are we all bare-faced liars?’ The question came from Jonathan Aitken, Minister of State for Defence Procurement, in January 1994. It was put to the then editor of the Guardian, Peter Preston. The words ‘we all’ referred to Aitken himself, his wife Lolicia and his faithful Arab friend Said Ayas. The answer to the question was ‘yes’. They were all bare-faced liars, but none more so ...

Diary

Dan Hancox: In Asturias

6 February 2014
... fat Santa Claus’, took me on a drive into Las Cuencas, as the coalfields are known, on his day off from writing the local newspaper’s ‘on this day in history’ column. In The Spanish Holocaust PaulPreston quotes the socialist Juan-Simeón Vidarte’s contemporary description of the repression that followed the October 1934 uprising in Las Cuencas. In Sama de Langreo, Franco’s soldiers took ...
22 June 1989
The Whitelaw Memoirs 
by William Whitelaw.
Aurum, 280 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 1 85410 028 9
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... In the early summer of 1981 a string of riots burned up and down Britain like Armada beacons. Brixton resembled post-Blitz London. Whole areas of Manchester, Preston, Wolverhampton and Hull were reduced to rubble and glass. In July, Liverpool lit up in a haze of flame and CS gas. Shortly afterwards Manchester erupted once again. The Home Secretary at the time was ...

Shoy-Hoys

Paul​ Foot: The not-so-great Reform Act

6 May 2004
Reform! The Fight for the 1832 Reform Act 
by Edward Pearce.
Cape, 343 pp., £20, November 2003, 0 224 06199 2
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... pot and were almost entirely in thrall to their landlords. The only elections that offered their diminutive electorate anything like a choice had come about by chance in a handful of places, such as Preston and Westminster. Naturally, most of the men who became MPs regarded this system as the best and fairest in the world. Equally naturally, most of the people who didn’t have a vote wanted to have ...

All This Love Business

Jean McNicol: Vanessa and Julian Bell

24 January 2013
Julian Bell: From Bloomsbury to the Spanish Civil War 
by Peter Stansky and William Abrahams.
Stanford, 314 pp., £38.95, 0 8047 7413 7
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... just what he wanted’. Soon he was sent to Madrid, where the Republicans hoped to lift the siege: if they took the town of Brunete they would gain control of the road west of the city. According to PaulPreston, however, Brunete was a ‘strategic irrelevance’, and the battle merely gave Franco the opportunity to kill a large number of Republicans using the Messerschmitts he had just acquired. On ...
7 April 1994
The Laurel and the Ivy: The Story of Charles Stewart Parnell and Irish Nationalism 
by Robert Kee.
Hamish Hamilton, 659 pp., £20, November 1993, 0 241 12858 7
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The Parnell Split 1890-91 
by Frank Callanan.
Cork, 327 pp., £35, November 1992, 0 902561 63 4
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... Sometimes he was Smith, sometimes he was Stewart, and sometimes he was Preston, but the most telling of the aliases Charles Stewart Parnell used to conduct the liaison with Mrs O’shea that eventually destroyed him was undoubtedly ‘Mr Fox’. Revealed by the divorce ...

First Puppet, Now Scapegoat

Inigo Thomas: Ass-Chewing in Washington

30 November 2006
State of Denial: Bush at War 
by Bob Woodward.
Simon and Schuster, 560 pp., £18.99, October 2006, 0 7432 9566 8
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... when ambition has not been fully realised’. In State of Denial, he’s a monster.When Jay Garner returned to Washington in the summer of 2003 – having been sacked by Rumsfeld and replaced with Paul Bremer – he was taken to the White House. Informed by Rumsfeld that Bush had ordered his ousting, he was now going to be thanked by the president for his work. It had not been easy; he’d been ...

Apocalypse

David Trotter

14 September 1989
The Rainbow 
by D.H. Lawrence, edited by Mark Kinkead-Weekes.
Cambridge, 672 pp., £55, March 1989, 0 521 22869 7
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D.H. Lawrence in the Modern World 
edited by Peter Preston and Peter Hoare.
Macmillan, 221 pp., £29.50, May 1989, 0 333 45269 0
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D.H. Lawrence and the Phallic Imagination: Essays on Sexual Identity and Feminist Misreading 
by Peter Balbert.
Macmillan, 190 pp., £27.50, June 1989, 0 333 43964 3
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... by the ‘fashionable androgyny’ of ‘consumer culture’, these critics will go to any lengths to discredit Lawrence’s advocacy of sexual polarity. Balbert catches them quoting out of context: Paul Morel’s patronising view of the suffrage movement is not Lawrence’s, but part of a dialogue with Clara Dawes which will eventually reveal Clara’s emotional failure; Miriam Leivers’s polemic ...

Pudding Time

Colin Kidd: Jacobites

14 December 2006
1715: The Great Jacobite Rebellion 
by Daniel Szechi.
Yale, 351 pp., £25, June 2006, 0 300 11100 2
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... 1971), historians began to probe beneath the advertised rationality of the Age of Reason. If the people believed in witches and fairies, then why not also in the Stuarts as divine right monarchs? Paul Monod’s Jacobitism and the English People 1688-1788 (1989) established the importance of Jacobite allegiance within English political culture. It was no longer convincing to depict Jacobitism as an ...

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