Monday, April 25, 2016
Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939
By Adam Hochschild
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. 438 pgs. Nonfiction
I am sure that at some point, I learned that just before World War II, a Civil War was fought in Spain. However, until reading Spain in Our Hearts, I don’t remember a thing about it. Fortunately, Adam Hochschild has published this detailed and personal portrait of a brutal war that many consider the opening battle of World War II.
The opposing forces were the country’s democratic government and a fascist uprising led by Francisco Franco. Hitler and Mussolini were quick to send aid to the Nationalist forces but the Federalists, the sitting government, found assistance hard to acquire. The United States and almost all the nations who would later become the Allied Forces, rigidly stayed neutral. Only the Soviet Union could be persuaded to send arms to the struggling army.
The amazing part of this story is that many individuals from other nations, including Americans, joined with these warring factions. Many were willing to give their all in a foreign country to the ideologies they so strongly believed in. Hochschild tells this story through the eyes of some of these brave and devoted volunteers. A wonderful book describing a pivotal period of world history.