“Spain in our Hearts. Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939” by Adam Hochschild. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, 2016. ISBN 978-0-547-97318-0
This new book on the American participation in the Spanish Civil War brings in a variety of the usual suspects aswell as a few new faces to add to the mix. It is said that more books have been published on the Spanish Civil War than World War Two, and often I am asked which book would I recommend as a starter to try and understand this conflict. And after reading this, I would not hesitate to advise American readers to start with this one as a filling or d’oeuvre. A succinct, readable and engaging book that will allow even the least aware American to try and understand this incredible conflict. From the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn through to George Orwell and Eileen Blair, Hochschild introduces new characters such as Torkild Rieber of Texas Oil Company and Robert Merriman, the inspiration for Hemingway’s Robert Jordan in “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. All come to life to make a fascinating and very human story. In a similar style to Peter Wyden’s “The Passionate War”, this book opens new doors to explore this conflict based on new research only now appearing. I hope that readers will seek this book out and engage in this little known, but highly important conflict, seen as many as the prelude to World War Two.