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  What Book Are You Currently Reading? (search mode)
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Author Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading?  (Read 336503 times)
Lumine
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« on: February 06, 2013, 10:48:09 pm »

I decided to learn more about the Spanish Civil War, so I just read Franco by Paul Preston (good analysis on Franco's propaganda), Every inch a King: Alfonso XIII by Princess Pilar of Bavaria (obviously biased, but good), Count Ciano's Diary (a work of narcissism) and España bajo el sable, by Rodrigo Soriano (good). I guess that will give me the viewpoint of foreign diplomats, monarchists, republicans and Franco.
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Lumine
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2013, 12:09:48 pm »

I decided to learn more about the Spanish Civil War, so I just read Franco by Paul Preston (good analysis on Franco's propaganda), Every inch a King: Alfonso XIII by Princess Pilar of Bavaria (obviously biased, but good), Count Ciano's Diary (a work of narcissism) and España bajo el sable, by Rodrigo Soriano (good). I guess that will give me the viewpoint of foreign diplomats, monarchists, republicans and Franco.

Interesting. I need to read Preston's biography of Franco. Probably I'd take it in lending at the public library or at the university student's. I think that the last book on the Spanish Civil War that I read was one by Antony Beevor, but I found it a bit disappointing (probably Preston is better on this subject).

I really enjoyed reading Preston's book, but apparently the one I got was not the main biography of Franco, it was more of his life in the view of his own propaganda (Franco, el Gran Manipulador was the full title of this one), so I think I'll have to search for Preston's full book on Franco. I am really surprised that so many british historians wrote books about the subject, and I'm struggling to find an objective book from a spanish historian.

Spain during the 1920' and 1930' looks more and more fascinating, and I think I will need more material on both the Republican Leadership and Sanjurjo, Mola and Queipo de Llano. Could you please recommend some books about them?
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Lumine
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2013, 08:41:11 pm »

It's difficult for a Spanish historian avoiding an emotional identification with the topic, as you can imagine. However, there are fine works written in this country. As for the Republican leadership, Santos-Juliá (ideologically is a centrist) is an expert in the figure of Azaña, which is indispensable to understand the period. Here's an article about one of his books: Vida y Tiempo de Manuel Azaña.

http://elpais.com/diario/2008/12/08/cultura/1228690807_850215.html

Another figure on the Republican side, a very controversial one, is Juan Negrin, the last PM who tried desperately to support the resistance until the end. Negrin has been very ill-treated by Francoist historians (normal) and also from left-wingers. In recent times there has been an attempt of researching more thoroughly in his figure. Though Ángel Viñas cannot be considered impartial (he tekes sides with the Republican and Negrín causes), he's a serious historian and his efforts have been notable. Another historian in a similar way is Julián Casanova. In the Foundation of Juan Negrín there's bibliography. In favour of this institution talks that La gran Estafa: Negrín, Prieto y el Patrimonio Español by Francisco Olaya Morales is in the list. 

http://www.fundacionjuannegrin.com/bibliografia.php?actual=2&id=11

Personally I think that Ricardo Miralles' Juan Negrín. La República en Guerra is a good book. Here's a review:
http://www.historiacontemporanea.ehu.es/s0021-con/es/contenidos/boletin_revista/00021_revista_hc27/es_revista/adjuntos/27_35.pdf

I'm not very familiar with bibliography treating specifically the figures of Sanjurjo, Mola or Queipo de Llano. There's a book written by Gabriel Cardona, a person with a military background but opposed to Franco, with an interesting title: A Golpes de Sable. Los grandes militares que han marcado la Historia de España. Also I've found a brief article about Mola by the same historian:

http://www.laaventuradelahistoria.es/2002/03/29/mola-el-general-que-pudo-mandar.html

On a footnote, Juan Vigón (minister with Franco) wrote a book called El general Mola: el conspirador.

If you are interested in battles and military questions, I found interesting the books written by Jorge Martínez-Reverte: La Batalla del Ebro, La Batalla de Madrid and La Caída de Cataluña. Martínez-Reverte has not an academic background (he's journalist) but his researches are serious and well regarded by historians, also his books on these battles are exhaustive but entertaining. As for the Battle of Madrid, he discovered some documentation that threw some light on the controversial events of Paracuellos del Jarama.

Thank you very much! I've already started to search those books, and I managed to get the full works of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera to have the view of the Falange. I think I can relate to the emotional identification of historians, since most of the works here about moments such as Allende government and Pinochet's regime are incredibly biased due to the division of the country.

Despite the fact that most of my attention goes to the monarchists, the Republican leaders seem very engaging (especially Azaña, who seems more moderate than what I suspected). The whole period is complex and full of irony and interesting characters (I was surprised at how young Azaña, Franco, Gil Robles and Calvo Sotelo were for the times), so I think I will be reading about it for a while.
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Lumine
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2013, 06:33:26 pm »

Red Alert by Peter Bryant. A magnificent and chilling novel, but having seen Dr. Strangelove before gives me some troubles to take the novel seriously... (I keep thinking of the insane General Jack Ripper instead of the disturbed General Quinten)
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Lumine
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2013, 08:19:51 pm »

I'm reading again "The First Man in Rome", by Colleen McCullough. I want to reread the whole saga again (the only one I'm missing is "Antony and Cleopatra"), since I have been discovering several details I missed the first time, and because I enjoy the way she solves the lack of information on several characters by merely improvising an explanation that is both reasonable and plausible (most of the time).
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Lumine
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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2015, 07:21:08 pm »

A rather old version of Maurice Druon's The Poisoned Crown. I have become very interested in The Accursed Kings as of now, so I'm planning to acquire all seven as I find them.
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Lumine
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2015, 07:29:58 pm »

East and West, by Chris Patten. Patten's term as Governor of Hong Kong is rather fascinating (specially considering the reaction of the Chinese government to some of his actions), and his analysis of China and the Asian Tigers is interesting as well.
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Lumine
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2016, 11:42:23 pm »

Just finished Stefan Zweig's "Fouche" and "Marie Antoinette", and I'll probably be moving onto Napoleonic-related works. I need to read more historical works of Zweig (I had read his Magellan years ago as well), but he could easily be among my favourite authors very soon.

I'm not yet sure why, but I find his psychological insight into the people he writes about utterly fascinating (and hilarious at times).
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Lumine
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2016, 03:04:48 pm »

Just finished Stefan Zweig's "Fouche" and "Marie Antoinette", and I'll probably be moving onto Napoleonic-related works. I need to read more historical works of Zweig (I had read his Magellan years ago as well), but he could easily be among my favourite authors very soon.

I'm not yet sure why, but I find his psychological insight into the people he writes about utterly fascinating (and hilarious at times).

Read Marie Antoinette, but haven't read Fouche.

Have you read Maria Stuart by him? Very fascinating.

Fouche is probably one of the best works I've ever read, partly because of how well he gets in the mind of such an enigmatic character, and also because he paints a different picture of Fouche's actual relevance (I think he's way underestimated in comparison to Talleyrand). Maria Stuart I haven't, but it will probably go into my reading list soon...
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Lumine
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2016, 08:59:10 pm »

Emil Ludwig's Cleopatra. Usually I'm a fan of his biographies (Bismarck, Lincoln and Hindenburg are amongst the best books I've read, Wilhelm II not so much), but even it this one is written well it annoys me that he gets so many details wrong.

Granted, it's from 1937, but still...
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Lumine
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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2017, 12:28:05 pm »

Adios al Septimo de Linea, a classic (and rather long) Chilean war novel regarding the War of the Pacific.
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Lumine
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« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2018, 01:13:53 pm »

As part of my extensive research for Dynasties and Empires I'm finishing Francis Hackett's Francis the First and I'm on a highly enjoyable re-read of Stefan Zweig's Magellan, easily one of the best books I've ever had the pleasure to read.
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