A Moment of War by Laurie Lee

A Moment of War by Laurie Lee is part of a trilogy, but I read it as a stand-alone memoir. It works. I was interested in his memories of the Spanish Civil War. He fought in the war for the Republican cause, with the International Brigades.

It is nicely written and interesting. It’s a very short book, less than 150 pages, so it doesn’t take long to read. I enjoyed it and I think it could be interesting for a wide array of readers. His experience in the war is not about the politics around it, in a way, for the soldier, it doesn’t matter, he is still in the cold, waiting to kill someone or to be killed by someone else. He felt detached, in a way, and I think that is natural, as he was not fighting for his country, but for an idea, for someone else’s freedom.

A Moment of War by Laurie Lee

This book was written many years after the war ended and that is something to take into account too. His memories are less reliable, maybe there is a rosy-tint to them. He also had time to think about the events, what happened, and have a more analytical perspective than if the book was written just before the war ended, when the memories and feelings were still raw.

I would definitely recommend this book. It is a classic and, especially due to its size, a must read.

A Moment of War by Laurie Lee

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My rating: 4/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Penguin
Year it was published: 2014 (first published in 1991)
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): Memoir
Pages: 144

About the author: Laurence Edward Alan “Laurie” Lee, MBE, was an English poet, novelist, and screenwriter. His most famous work was an autobiographical trilogy which consisted of Cider with Rosie (1959), As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969) and A Moment of War (1991). While the first volume famously recounts his childhood in the idyllic Slad Valley, the second deals with his leaving home for London and his first visit to Spain in 1934, and the third with his return in December 1937 to join the Republican International Brigade.
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2 thoughts on “A Moment of War by Laurie Lee”

    • It’s such an important part in European history, for so many reasons. Not only it because of the soviet and Nazi/fascist involvement in the conflict, but also for propaganda, including films and radio, for appeasement and non-intervention. A lot can be learned from it.
      This memoir is about his experience, but as in many memoirs, it seems less important if the conflict was between Spaniards in Spain or between different countries in WWII, the fear was just the same.

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