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From The Pulitzer Prize Winning And Bestselling Author Of The Making Of The Atomic Bomb The Remarkable Story Of The Spanish Civil War Through The Eyes Of The Reporters, Writers, Artists, Doctors, And Nurses Who Witnessed It The Spanish Civil War Inspired And Haunted An Extraordinary Number Of Exceptional Artists And Writers, Including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Martha Gellhorn, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, And John Dos Passos The Idealism Of The Cause Defending Democracy From Fascism At A Time When Europe Was Darkening Toward Another World War And The Brutality Of The Conflict Drew From Them Some Of Their Best Work Guernica, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Homage To Catalonia, The Spanish EarthThe War Spurred Breakthroughs In Military And Medical Technology As Well New Aircraft, New Weapons, New Tactics And Strategy All Emerged In The Intense Spanish Conflict Indiscriminate Destruction Raining From The Sky Became A Dreaded Reality For The First Time Progress Also Arose From The Horror The Doctors And Nurses Who Volunteered To Serve With The Spanish Defenders Devised Major Advances In Battlefield Surgery And Front Line Blood Transfusion In Those Ways, And In Many Others, The Spanish Civil War Served As A Test Bed For World War II, And For The Entire Twentieth Century From The Life Of John James Audubon To The Invention Of The Atomic Bomb, Readers Have Long Relied On Richard Rhodes To Explain, Distill, And Dramatize Crucial Moments In History Now, He Takes Us Into Battlefields And Bomb Shelters, Into The Studios Of Artists, Into The Crowded Wards Of War Hospitals, And Into The Hearts And Minds Of A Rich Cast Of Characters To Show How The Ideological, Aesthetic, And Technological Developments That Emerged In Spain Changed The World Forever Simply a terrific read Rhodes, best known for his books on the Making of the Atomic and Hydrogen bombs takes his turn at the Spanish Civil War Based on unpublished memoirs of participants, most of whom are at NYU in NY, this is social history then political If you are looking for a detailed analysis of battles or politics this is not the book It is a very narrow, wonderfully written narrative history of the war as seen through the eyes of those unpublished manuscripts.The war is also examined from the point of view of art Both Pacasso and Miro have their works examined as are many of those literary lights, like dos Pasos, Hemmingway, Orwell and Stephen Spendor.The war was not only a testing ground for war tactics and technology but for medicine Blood transfusions were perfected and used, blood collection and storage was perfected and used, and triage, so common now, was introduced for the first time Rhodes writes with a fluidity and brio that is enviable Even if the subject matter does not interest you his writing will captivate A recommended read. Human stories during the Spanish Civil War woven into a compelling book In the initial section Rhodes details in a readily understandable form the build up to the Spanish Civil War and how General Francisco Franco led a military revolt against the republic aided by Mussolini and Hitler The republican side was aided by Stalin for a time, whilst the other western powers stood aside Despite the non intervention of the western powers, 40,000 foreign volunteers came to the republic s aid.The author tells the stories of some of those who travelled to Spain to support the republican cause There s some obvious characters here, Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, a brief appearance by George Orwell as well as lesser known characters such as Norman Bethune, a Canadian surgeon, Edward Barsky, an American doctor and Patience Darton, a British nurse.Robert Merriman, a Communist from California also features prominently He was the commander of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion of US volunteers on which the hero of Hemingway s war novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls was based.The book does concentrate quite significantly on the medical aspects of the Spanish Civil War as well as the processes that went into the creation of the major modern art pieces the war produced namely Picasso s Guernica , and the lesser known The Reaper by Joan Mir for the 1937 Paris World Fair both commissioned by the Republican Government The book would have benefited from images of these art works, however I was reading an ebook review copy so the final versions may well have photos.The book focuses on the characters and their personal stories and is therefore not a military history, however it s better for that Personal stories have much impact and I found the story of Patience Darton particularly moving If you are at all interested in the Spanish Civil War then well worth a read. Sadly, only 2 Stars for this TMZ version of Spanish Civil War history If you are interested in the celebs of the day, Picasso, Hemingway, Gelhorn, etc, then this could be a good read for you I don t give a fig for any of them Slightly better discussion on the medical aspects of the conflict, which paid benefits in the coming WWII Rhodes reputation encouraged me to read this but it does not measure up to my expectation at all Frankly it was boring You can find a much better account in War Is Beautiful An American Ambulance Driver in the Spanish Civil War Much better writing there too. A fascinating book about an amazing little war Sandwiched between the two World Wars from 1936 1939, Germany and Italy backed Franco to overpower the Republicans, backed by France, Britain, Russia, Canada and just about everyone else It was a test run for the Axis vs Allied of WW II The supporters of the Republicans was an amazing mix of idealists from Hemingway to Picasso and Miro, Orwell fought for them, JS Haldane developed blood transport and storage for them They developed an extensive medical support network, supplied in part by the Canadians Many people raised funds for the Republicans including Paul Robeson This book is like a lot of snapshots of the war, major battles fire bombing of Guernica , major figures, major inventions For a short 240 pg book it has an amazing bibliography over 20 pg Sadly the German and Italian firepower and air power just overwhelmed the Republicans and Franco ruled Spain for over 3 decades Hitler got to try out military moves for WW II A very interesting book.