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Sheep into Goats

Gabriele Annan

24 January 1980
The British Aristocracy 
by Mark Bence-Jones and Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd.
Constable, 259 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 09 461780 5
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The Astors 
by Virginia Cowles.
Weidenfeld, 256 pp., £8.50, November 1980, 9780297776246
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Barclay Fox’s Journal 
edited by R.L. Brett.
Bell and Hyman, 426 pp., £8.95, July 1980, 0 7135 1865 0
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... a vanishing social phenomenon as a romantic construction or a slightly exclusive categorical imperative. The Astors’ failure (in her eyes) to live up to some similar ideal is probably what makes VirginiaCowles sound a bit bad-tempered. She does not love them, and though the American public may have ‘looked upon [them] as their own species of royalty’ they have no glamour for her. They are just a ...

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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... press corps operates, and shows empathy with the talented mob working out of the Hotel Florida in Madrid during the siege. Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn and Herbert Matthews of the New York Times and VirginiaCowles were among that crew, most of them hotly committed to the anti-fascist cause. Gellhorn, with mounting desperation, used her friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt to warn of the consequences of non ...

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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... By and large, anglophone journalists – and writers – were disposed to the Republic. The list of sympathisers includes Dos Passos, Hemingway, Gellhorn, Claud Cockburn, Matthews, Josephine Herbst, VirginiaCowles. Their attempts to make sense of the conflict on the ground and exert influence on behalf of the Republic are told in detail. So are their altercations, including a famous falling out between ...

For a Lark

Patricia Beer

21 March 1996
Hearts Undefeated: Women’s Writing of the Second World War 
edited by Jenny Hartley.
Virago, 302 pp., £12.99, May 1995, 9781853816710
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... Undefeated were totally exempt from Connolly’s strictures. Martha Gellhorn wrote about Dachau, Mavis Tate about Buchenwald. Laura Knight and Rebecca West covered the Nuremberg trials as Fleur Cowles had covered the Nuremberg rally eight years previously. But the women who described themselves, persistently and irritatingly, as ordinary, unimportant, even simple, did tend to write as though they ...

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