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Some new acquisitions

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Simon

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« on: December 08, 2007, 09:21 AM »
A few more titles that I was lucky enough to stumble across at Hay-on-Wye last month!

Frazer, R. ‘Blood of Spain: The Experience of Civil War 1936-39’ (1979) Allan Lane.
The result of oral history taken from interviews from over 300 eye witnesses of all stripes, especially those well behind the front lines and ‘ordinary folk’. It’s a summary from a corpus  of over 2,70,000 words!. The introduction, so far that’s all I’ve had time for, notes the willingness of witnesses to talk to an outsider, this is especially relevant give the dates when the interviews took place, i.e. between 1973 – 75.

Borkenau, F. ‘The Spanish Cockpit’ (1937) Faber & Faber.
Franz Borkenau was a professional sociologist of Austria extraction who made two visits to Spain; in 1936 and again in 1937. The first is recorded as a ’Diary of a Revolution’ and concentrates of the battles of the first few months. The second was a longer visit which included Barclona, Valencia, Malaga , and is much more an analysis of the political meltdown that was then occurring in the Republic. One has to know that Borkenau was a former member of the German Communist Party, but became disillusioned and left it in the 1920’s. In his forward to the book Gerald Brenan states that ‘. . .The Spanish Cockpit is not only a model of what the study of a revolution should be, but one of the best books ever published on Spain.’

Rankin, N. ‘Telegram from Guernica’ (2003) Faber & Faber. NB Not the other, i.e. Ian, Rankin!
Biography of George Steer, the pioneering war journalist who first broke the news of the Guernica atrocity. The bombing of Gernika is only one chapter of this book, although it is obviously the highlight. As well as gripping description of events as seen by several journalists, followed by the siege of Bilbao, there is a detailed history of how the news was treated abroad – which is in some respects more important as the control pf war reporting had contemporary resonance, i.e. the destruction from the air of poor civilian populations  by technologically advanced foreign powers – I’ll say no more!

For some light relief I’m also reading ‘The Peninsular War: A New History’, by Charles Esdale (2002).  Actually I’m not really interested in wars as such, in case you were all thinking I have some sort of military fetish - I’m not like that at all! -  it’s just that that’s where most histories seem to get recorded. So I’ll also recommend a bizzo travel book; ‘Madrid: a travellers companion’ (1988) a wonderful anthology of travel writing collated by Hugh Thomas. Contributors range from Casanova, who was warned that the Inquisition wanted to know everything, including ‘. . . whether persons of the opposite sex sleep together . . . if not married will cause both parties to be imprisoned!’  - Casanova was more bothered when his snuff was confiscated at the Puerto de Alcalá; to Napoleon writing home to Josephine, ‘I am leaving directly to grapple with the English . . . the weather is beautiful; my health perfect; do not be anxious about anything’; Manet on the Prado, ‘what pleasure it would have given you (Fantin-Latour) to see Velasquez, who alone is worth the whole journey’ Plus hundreds of others of course. It was through this book that I found Arturo Barea, whose vivid description of Lavapies (called El Avapies in those days, it was where the poultry used to be driven to for sale!) is a masterpiece of prose!

Now I should be getting down to some ‘work’!

Simon

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2007, 23:38 PM »
Greetings Simon and All,
Thanx for that update, Simon.
I remember Orwell spoke very highly of Borkenau's "Cockpit" so off I went to my bookshelves to check out Penguin's The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters Vol. 1 and here follows one of the many references he made to Borkenau:
(From a review in Time and Tide, July 1937)
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Dr Borkenau has performed a feat which is very difficult at this stage for anyone who knows what is going on in Spain; he has written a book about the Spanish war without losing his temper. Perhaps I am rash in saying that this is the best book yet written on the subject, but I believe anyone who has recently come from Spain will agree with me.

He goes on to give some background in a letter to Rayner Heppenstall, referring to the atrocities being committed in Spain in the suppresion of the P.O.U.M.:
Quote
Meanwhile it is impossible to get a word about this mentioned in the English press, barring the publications of the I.L.P., which is affiliated to the P.O.U.M. I had a most amusing time with the New Statesman about it. As soon as I got out of Spain I wired from France asking if they would like an article and of course they said yes, but when they saw my article was on the suppression of the P.O.U.M. they said they couldn't print it. To sugar the pill they sent me to review a very good book which appeared recently, The Spanish Cockpit, which blows the gaff pretty well on what has been happening. But once again when they saw my review they couldn't print it as it was 'against editorial policy', but they actually offered to pay for the review all the same - practically hush-money.

And then in a letter a couple of weeks later to Geoffrey Gorer he mentions that Borkenau wrote to him to tell him that he (Orwell) "was the only reviewer who had mentioned the essential point of the book, i.e. that the Communist Party is now the chief anti-revolutionary party."

Just over a year later, reviewing (for New English Weekly) another book by Borkenau, he goes on to say "...it remains the best book on the subject and, what is more, it is a book different in kind from nearly all that have appeared on either side. ... I hope Dr Borkenau will not only go on writing, but that he will find many imitators. It is a most encouraging thing to hear a human voice when fifty thousand gramophones are playing the same tune."

The whole business was yet another turn of the screw that made Orwell hugely unpopular with the British intelligensia, erstwhile friends of his, and who were mostly pro-Communists (in the Spanish war) and/or pacifists (in the war against Hitler).

Regs.,
Technopat

PS.
"blow the gaff on" and "sugar the pill" (Sp. anyone?)

PPS.
I realise that iberianatureforum is not the place for this kinda stuff, but I'd be very grateful if anyone could fill me in on the details (or a rough outline) of the smear campaign against Orwell that was started some years back in the UK (by Timothy Garton-Ash of the Gruniad?). Being over here, I missed out on it and never got round to checking it out. Maybe over the personal message system or whatever it's called?
« Last Edit: December 12, 2007, 00:05 AM by Technopat »
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2007, 00:06 AM »
PPPS.
"Cockpit" has been on my "to read one day" list for some 20-odd years. Will get round to it one day.
Regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Simon

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« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2007, 20:36 PM »
Hi Techo et al,

That's an interesting pointer about our fried Mr Blair (no, not that one!). Searching my Guardian archives I couldn't find anything very controversial from Sñr Garton-Ash but did find an interesting appreciation of Erics Hobsbawn and Blair by
David Aaronovitch (The political acuity of Orwell and Hobsbawm should be treasured by both Right and Left, Sunday November 2, 2003) and a great e-mail debate between DJ Taylor and Scott Lucas (Saturday June 28, 2003).

I'm not sure if you can view these if you are not a subscriber, if this is the case I can send you copies by e-mail. I'll leave that side of the thread for off-line, as you say. But meanwhile I highly recommend the novel 'Dr Orwell and Mr Blair' by David Caute (Weidenfield & Nicholson, 1994) for some light reading.

Meanwhle, a book that I couldn't buy at Hay was 'The Revolution & The Civil War in Spain' by Pierre Broue & Emile Temime (1961). Broue was an unrepentant Trotskyist and his analysis of the revolution reflects this. The book is still in Hay, however, and the bookshop have offered it to me post free - and at £100 for a paperback I should think so too!

None of the books that I mentioned above are rare first editions, I should point out, as I don't do that kind of collecting!

Happy reading

Simon

Offline Clive

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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2007, 21:01 PM »
The book "The Revolution & The Civil War in Spain" is due for reprint in June/July of next year....

You can find it on page 5 of "Iberian history fact and fiction" (UKbooks) at The iberianatureforum bookshop

:)
« Last Edit: December 27, 2007, 20:38 PM by Wildside »
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2007, 22:16 PM »
Thanx for that, Simon and thanx for that*, Clive! Will get round to having a butcher's, but I like the idea, I like it  :clapping: .

*The iberianatureforum bookshop

Regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Simon

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« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2007, 07:23 AM »
Wow Clive, thanx for that indeed! Why didn't we know of this before!

Simes

Offline Clive

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« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2007, 09:44 AM »
The iberianatureforum bookshop only opened for business yesterday.. :)
Explore the nature of Iberia at www.wildsideholidays.com

The beautiful town of Ronda, the City of Dreams?

The spectacular Caminito del Rey, El Chorro and Guadalhorce reservoirs El Camino del Rey

Simon

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« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2007, 12:50 PM »
Wow!

Offline Clive

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« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2007, 12:59 PM »
So if anyone needs to buy late Christmas presents or regalos de los tres Reyes... There is still time to make an order and get it delivered on time.....

:)

The iberianatureforum bookshop

« Last Edit: December 27, 2007, 20:40 PM by Wildside »
Explore the nature of Iberia at www.wildsideholidays.com

The beautiful town of Ronda, the City of Dreams?

The spectacular Caminito del Rey, El Chorro and Guadalhorce reservoirs El Camino del Rey

Simon

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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2007, 08:04 AM »
Thanks for the reminder of that great debate, Techno, heady days indeed and methinks we'll ne'er see thier likes again!

Happy Chrstmas and happy reading!

Simon

Simon

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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2008, 08:38 AM »
Clive,

I saw the Pierre Broue book when I first looked at the bookshop, but now ity's not there. I'd like to order it in advance of its publication date, June if I remember rightly.

Also a general query abot the bookshop: can I fill up my shopping basket but nt actaually make the order until a later date, i.e. when I have accumulated enough to save the p + p?

Sorry if this sond sobvious, but I have a huge dread of internet shopping!

Cheers

Simon

Offline Clive

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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2008, 09:55 AM »
Hi Simon,
Sorry, that book got lost in the big reshuffle last week. It is now the first book in Spanish civil war category.

what's in your shopping basket should stay there until you make an order, However if you clear out your cookies on your computer they will probably be lost. Best to have a list of the books in a word file or something as well...

If we don't have a particular book added just ask or you can use the search box at the side for anything else and order it that way... The forum still gets a small percentage...

Clive
Explore the nature of Iberia at www.wildsideholidays.com

The beautiful town of Ronda, the City of Dreams?

The spectacular Caminito del Rey, El Chorro and Guadalhorce reservoirs El Camino del Rey

Simon

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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2008, 06:47 AM »
Thanks Clive, that's great. I'm now grinding my teeth because I paid full price (£12.99) at Gatwick airport for the War of Independance book that you are offering for about nine quid!!!

Simon  :'(

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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2008, 11:07 AM »
Simon, I've been thinking of buying that (I'm sure it's the same one if it's in the airport bookshop). Is it good?
Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
Spanish Civil War Tours in Barcelona
http://www.iberianature.com/
A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
The Amazon/Forum Bookshop - lend us a hand
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/shop/index.htm
And also now The Natural History of Britain
http://iberianature.com/brita

Offline Clive

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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2008, 14:39 PM »
Start a new topic for particular books please.....

:)
Explore the nature of Iberia at www.wildsideholidays.com

The beautiful town of Ronda, the City of Dreams?

The spectacular Caminito del Rey, El Chorro and Guadalhorce reservoirs El Camino del Rey

Simon

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« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2008, 11:05 AM »