A concise history of the Spanish Civil War by Paul Preston

A concise history of the Spanish Civil War by Paul Preston is the second book I read by him. The first one I read, Doves of War, was published more recently and it’s not as biased as this one. The [left-wing, if it matters] bias was what made me deduct a star from a possible 5. I’m bothered by any kind of bias, especially from a historian, because it shows that they are not taking a birds-eye view on the subject.

A concise history of the Spanish Civil War by Paul Preston

For example, he says that the communists in the Spanish civil war shouldn’t be judged harshly because we have now the benefit of hindsight and we know what happened in Russia [some of it]. But the Spanish civil war started in 1936, and at the same time, in the 1930s, Stalin was on his killing spree [e.g. Great Purge of 1937], while Hitler started his in 1940, after the end of the Spanish war. Shouldn’t we analyse what happened at that point? What people believed in that moment and what resources they had access to? But Preston is keen to mention a bit too often for my taste what right-wing historians and Franco apologists said. On top of that, none of the people in the Spanish war knew the horrors of either Stalin’s or Hitler’s regime, as we do today.

Besides this annoyance, I liked the book, hence the 4 stars. It presents the situation clear, or as clear as it can be in so many pages. I think the book is a good starting point to understand the war. I’ve enjoyed it and it reads fast. Anybody who studies this period should consider reading it. I will continue to read books by Paul Preston, because he is one of the leading historians on this topic.

A concise history of the Spanish Civil War by Paul Preston

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 4/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Fontana Press
Year it was published: 1996
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): European History
Pages: 259

About the author: Paul Preston, born in Liverpool and educated at Oxford, is passionate about the Spanish Civil War. He is the author of Franco and Juan Carlos, holds the PrĂ­ncipe de Asturias Chair of Contemporary Spanish History at the London School of Economics. He lives in London.
Books by Paul Preston: The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution, and Revenge; The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain; Franco: A Biography; A Concise History of the Spanish Civil War; We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War; A People Betrayed: A History of Corruption, Political Incompetence and Social Division in Modern Spain; The Last Stalinist: The Life of Santiago Carrillo; The Last Days of the Spanish Republic;
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