The Spanish Civil War at Sea by Michael Alpert

This time last year I was starting a module on the Spanish Civil War and I enjoyed it a lot, hence I’m still reading books such as The Spanish Civil War at Sea by Michael Alpert* – Dark and Dangerous Waters – months after I finished the course. I only wish this book was published last year, when I started my module because it is really interesting. Not a lot of research is made on the naval side of the war, more likely because the Spaniards were not as involved. But, what makes this very interesting is how involved were the other European countries, such as Britain, France, Italy, Germany, and Russia.

The Spanish Civil War at Sea by Michael Alpert

I remember asking my tutor about submarines because I knew each side had submarines (or just 1). While I knew what happened, it was fascinating to read a bit more about this. This is a topic not widely covered in other books on the civil war, so it provides less known facts.

The European countries signed a pact of Non-Intervention, but, as it’s clear in the book, a lot of intervention was actually taking place. With tensions rising in the 1930s, some of the decisions took during the war, and that includes the maritime intervention, aggravated the rift between the main European countries.

Alpert uses just the right amount of primary sources, enough to make it interesting and engaging, but not too much so it distracts. I like the book a lot and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the Spanish civil war, but also who might want to see the politics of the 1930s Europe from a different perspective.

The Spanish Civil War at Sea by Michael Alpert

Details about the picture: the biscuits are called panellets and are of Catalan-Andorran origin
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Pen & Sword Maritime
Year it was published: 2021
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): European History
Pages: 256

About the author: Emeritus Professor Michael Alpert is a historian of modern Spain and a specialist on the Spanish Civil War. He has published in both English and Spanish. His English-language works include A New International History of the Spanish Civil War (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2nd ed. 2004); The Republican Army in the Spanish Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2007); Franco and the Condor Legion: The Spanish Civil War in the Air (Bloomsbury 2019), and the present volume: The Spanish Civil War at Sea: Dark and Dangerous Waters.
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword

*I was sent a copy of The Spanish Civil War at Sea by Michael Alpert for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.



4 thoughts on “The Spanish Civil War at Sea by Michael Alpert”

  • Sounds interesting. One of the histories I read – I think the Payne – did mention the various European powers and the war at sea but not in any great depth. I’ll add this to the maybe list, though I’m not sure if I’ll have run out of steam on the historical side before I get to it.

    • I was keen on reading on submarines and it was interesting, but the whole book was interesting because it shows how involved the non-intervention countries were in the conflict, at sea.
      Also, I would highly recommend trying the biscuits. :))

  • I suspect that all countries have spent a lot of time signing non-intervention pacts over the years, only to break the covenant before the ink is dry! I think this book might be a bit too narrow a focus for my general interest in the subject, however I’m pleased that it gave you another whole new perspective on the topic.—————-Have a nice weekend 🙂

    • The book has a narrow focus, that’s very true. For the ones studying the period is interesting because it is not widely written about. You might be tempted about the biscuits though (recipe is on my food blog). 🙂
      Have a nice weekend too xx

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