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Based on a huge trove of diary and personal letter material regarding principally British and. Many of Spain's current problems stem from the fact that the Spanish civil war set back the country's evolution toward modernity and democracy by at least 40 years from the outbreak of the army insurrection in 1936 to the death of Franco in 1975 and the distortions of justice and other institutions still persist It was not an exclusively Spanish conflict but a global one acted out in Spain not just by Spaniards but by all the fascist socialist liberal and conservative capitalist forces in Europe and the Americas—and thus we need the outsiders' views for a full perspectiveSpain did not die but it was badly wounded and still has not recovered fully The Second Republic did die in that terribly brutal war 1936 39 killed by a coalition of the Church the old oligarchy and crazed ideologues who feared the power of ordinary men and women—especially of the women—to decide for themselves how to live and whom to love Paul Preston has done a tremendous job digging up details of the lives and work of than a dozen journalists from half a dozen or countries who managed to reveal and in some cases horribly distort how that massacre was unfolding and the hundreds of thousands of particular murders it reuired And Preston has done much than that He has pulled together a coherent story from notes archives published reports and oral reminiscences by and about those journalists with their various languages and their diverse political viewsOf the Americans Herbert Matthews and Louis Fischer earn Preston's greatest appreciation for their personal courage and their insistence on getting the facts right regardless of pressures from their respective sponsors to slant their stories Matthews writing for The New York Times was expected by his editors to be favorable to the Nationals as the Franco led insurgents called themselves than to the forces defending the Republic Matthews was a moral Protestant indignant at fascist abuses but not ideologically committed to socialism and he exposed himself to considerable danger to report personally on such horrors as the bombing and strafing of civilian refugees fleeing from Málaga which had just fallen to the insurgents along the coastal road to Almería or the fighting in Valencia even though hewas convinced that his dogmatically conservative editors in New York treated his copy with 'suspicion anger and at times disbelief' tampered with his wording and buried entire stories because they were perceived to favour the Republican side In contrast they printed unashamedly partisan material from William P Carney his counterpart in the rebel zone despite knowing that it was someties faked p 22Fischer was under different political pressures A fluent Russian and German speaker and with a wife and child in Moscow he was committed to socialism and felt comradeship to though he never accepted the discipline of the Communist Party Whether he ever learned to speak Spanish fluently is unclear though he must have managed he had excellent personal relationships with prominent Republican ie Spanish Republic politicians even including Juan Negrín But despite his commitment he perceived and reported on what he saw as gross failures in political and military policy—for example the lackadaisical defenseworks supposedly protecting Madrid He was especially indignant with the aged trade unionist and prime minister Largo Caballero who was afraid to alienate his trade union supporters by ordering idle construction workers in Madrid to go out to Toledo and build serviceable trenches and breastworksAfter the fall of the Republic Fischer had the good sense to get his family out of Russia before Stalin's paranoia could destroy them His subseuent career included works on Gandhi and professorship at Princeton Matthews continued with the NYT and achieved notoriety again years later for his reports from Cuba proving that Fidel Castro was still alive and his guerrilla movement going strong Both Fischer and Matthews wrote many books not only on Spain that merit attentionHemingway Martha Gellhorn Josephine Herbst and John Dos Passos are also here interesting mostly for what they had to say about one another and less interesting for any insight into the Spanish struggle Hemingway was boisterous and outrageous and having a great testosterone charged time at one point firing off a machinegun to no purpose but with dangerous conseuences it drew return fire but you've got to love the big brute because in a jam he could pull his buddies through—on at least one occasion by sheer muscular force rowing a little boat across the mined Ebro river with Robert Capa Matthews and Henry Buckley aboardAnother reporter who deserves and gets major attention from Preston is the audacious and hyperenergetic little Russian Jew Mikhail Koltsov whose extremely vivid reports for Pravda would be his undoing when he returned to the USSR He not only wrote rapidly succinctly and dramatically he also carried a pistol and didn't hesitate to intervene and give military orders for which he had no authority when he saw it necessary to avoid disaster When reuired to do so by his party bosses however he was uite capable of writing outrageous lies condemning the leaders of the POUM as Trotskyists and traitors to the revolution As Koltsov surely knew the Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista had broken with Trotsky long before and was one of the main defenders of the socialist Republic in Catalonia but because it did not follow the dictates of Moscow Stalin ordered his operatives in Spain to destroy it—as George Orwell has famously recounted in Hommage to Catalonia Stalin was suspicious of all the Russians who had served in Spain whether as journalists or military officers probably in Preston's interpretation which is persuasive because they returned with a revolutionary participatory and much freer vision of socialist revolution than Stalin's democratic centralism could tolerate Koltsov like others who had been acclaimed as heroes in Spain was at first praised and then arrested and ultimately executed by Stalin's forces Oddly Preston makes only passing mention of Orwell mostly regarding his impressions of Koltsov and his grudging review of another reporter's book South African born George Lowther Steer's report on the ruins of Guernica from observations made as soon as Steer could get there after the devastating German bombardment of that uiet and undefended little Basue town Steer's book was essential to counter the massive disinformation campaign by Franco ist propagandists and their allies in the Catholic Church in the US and other countries who were claiming that there had been no bombardment but that the destruction was the work of leftist incendiaries Orwell recognized the value of the eye witness report but took issue with Steer's exaggerated and emotional bias for the heroic Basues as contrasted to the supposedly less noble Spaniards elsewhere Of the other British reporters mentioned here we

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We Saw Spain DieAmerican but also Russian and French correspondents 'We Saw Spain Die' tells of the courage and. We Saw Spain Die by Paul Preston is a thoroughly engaging often perplexing challenging and ultimately depressing book It’s a story of how observers presented and reported the unfolding events of the Spanish Civil War and chronicles the experience of some people who recorded history as it was made These observers were correspondents and journalists specifically for Paul Preston’s purposes the foreign onesHaving thus defined the specifics the generality provides essential context that helps us interpret the content of this book Spain’s war was in the mid 1930s Fascism was on the rise in Germany and Italy but important players were convinced that a policy of appeasement might avoid conflict Thus it was thought that giving away what you never really had or wanted might just satisfy another’s greed The Soviet experiment on the other hand was very much under way with Stalin strengthening his grip on power Ideologically the Soviet leadership expected an inevitable force of history to compel people across the globe to follow their lead despite the internal conflict over tactics between Stalin and Trotsky turning murderousAnd so Spain with its reforming democratically elected left wing government perhaps via its espousal of republicanism repelled the Western European powers and then inevitably forced it closer to the Soviet advice and assistance that was pragmatically available Thus the Spanish rebels derived encouragement from the Republic’s isolation and so launched an armed insurrection against the government clearly assuming they would not be opposed from outside the country Appeasement even assured that a blind eye would be turned on the presence of Italian and German forces lining up alongside the rebels It was into this context that outsiders went to observe to report and to analyseThe point illustrated by Paul Preston in We Saw Spain Die is that many of these correspondents did not in fact observe nor did they even bother to describe what they saw What they did at least a good number of them was arrive with a mindset fixed by their ideological standpoint in relation to the international context and then allow that mindset to filter experience so that only content that would reinforce the original prejudice was allowed through And so reporters who remained faithful to their experience followed their conscience and described precisely what they saw those who thus aspired to a detached impartiality could always be written off as liars because their copy always appeared to contradict the weight of material that presented a largely fictional but received and assumed position It’s what some people might describe as hegemonyThat truth is the first casualty of war has become a cliché but We Saw Spain Die also largely kills off integrity honesty impartiality and even justice for good measure And this is what is ultimately so depressing about the book If the reporting was dishonest or biased it conformed to assumptions that would see it published as authoritative If it was observant or faithful it often could not fit in the assumed paradigm and so it would be rubbished along with the career of the largely honest purveyor of the messageNo short review of We Saw Spain Die could begin to address any detail of the scores of stories that the book presents To cite even one as an example would be a distortion The book is both authoritative in its presentation of fact and forensic in its desire to achieve accuracy It deals not only with how foreign correspondents covered the Spanish Civil War itself but also how the positions they took influenced their lives and careers It is a truly great achievement and needs to be read both slowly and perhaps alongside Paul Preston’s other major work on the war The Spanish Holocaust But if a reader should value honesty truth accuracy and integrity then We Saw Spain Die will ultimately present a depressing experience but one that will encourage all of us to see history and maybe also contemporary events in a different light

Paul Preston ✓ 5 review

review We Saw Spain Die è PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free ½ ❴EPUB❵ ✻ We Saw Spain Die Author Paul Preston – Based on a huge trove of diary and personal letter material regarding principally British and American but also Russian and French correspondents 'We Saw Spain Die' teThe skills of the men and women who wrote about what was happening in Spain during the Civil W. Excellent book Paul Preston has written several non academic books on the Spanish Civil War and it would be easy for them to become repetitive but no This one focuses on the experiences and contexts of various foreign correspondents during the war and avoids the easy way of only discussing famous anglophone writers like Hemingway The course of the war the varying treatment of the press on the Republican and the rebel sides and the later reputations and work of the journalists are all brought in to create a fascinating narrative Preston is a very readable writer who also has the scholar's meticulous attention to detail a very enjoyable and informative read