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Paul Preston's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Paul Preston recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Paul Preston's favorite book recommendations of all time.


The Spanish Civil War

Since its first publication, Hugh Thomas's The Spanish Civil War has become established as the definitive one-volume history of a conflict that continues to provoke intense controversy today.

What was it that roused left-wing sympathizers from all over the world to fight against Franco between 1936 and 1939? Why did the British and US governments refuse to intervene? And why did the Republican cause collapse so violently? Now revised and updated, Hugh Thomas's classic account presents the most objective and unbiased analysis of a passionate struggle where fascism and...
Recommended by Paul Preston, and 1 others.

Paul PrestonIn my five choices I have included Helen Graham’s short, very precise and up-to-date scholarly essay on the war. So I thought that, given that these will be five books aimed at people starting to be interested in the Spanish Civil War or indeed people who we might want to get interested in the subject, it would be a good idea to have a big colourful account of the war. I was torn between Thomas’s... (Source)

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Recommended by Paul Preston, and 1 others.

Paul PrestonYes. The author Herbert Southworth was always my inspiration. I think he probably knew more about the Spanish Civil War than any man who has ever lived. He was an absolutely extraordinary man who was born in Canton, a tiny Oklahoma town, in 1908. He worked in copper mines in Arizona in the 1920s. I think he was one of the few Anglo-Saxons to do so because most of the workers were Mexicans and... (Source)

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Recommended by Paul Preston, and 1 others.

Paul PrestonIan Gibson later wrote the great biography of Lorca, which is another wonderful book. This book on the death of Lorca was his first and was published by a Spanish exiled publishing house in Paris in 1971 and won a lot of international prizes. As a literature student Ian had gone to Granada to do a thesis about Lorca’s poetry. And he got hooked on the whole mystery of his death and what had... (Source)

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In 1940, The Daily Telegraph correspondent Henry Buckley published his eyewitness account of his experiences reporting from the Spanish Civil War. The copies of the book, stored in a warehouse in London, were destroyed during the Blitz and only a handful of copies of his unique chronicle were saved. Now, 70 years after its first publication, this exceptional eyewitness account of the war is republished with a new introduction by Paul Preston. The Life and Death of the Spanish Republic is a unique account of Spanish politics throughout the entire life of the Second Republic,... more
Recommended by Paul Preston, and 1 others.

Paul PrestonThe book was published in 1940 and a few copies were distributed to reviewers but the bulk of the copies were in a warehouse that was hit during the Blitz. Maybe a few copies made it into bookshops but most of them were actually blown up. And because of wartime restrictions on paper, it wasn’t reprinted. It is one of the great rarities of Spanish Civil War literature. Although recently I have... (Source)

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Amid the many catastrophes of the twentieth century, the Spanish Civil War continues to exert a particular fascination among history buffs and the lay-reader alike. This Very Short Introduction integrates the political, social and cultural history of the Spanish Civil War. It sets out the domestic and international context of the war for a general readership. In addition to tracing the course of war, the book locates the war's origins in the cumulative social and cultural anxieties provoked by a process of rapid, uneven and accelerating modernism taking place all over Europe. This... more
Recommended by Paul Preston, and 1 others.

Paul PrestonI think Helen Graham is probably the most profound historian writing about the Spanish Civil War in the English language. This little book, an Oxford University Press paperback, which is a short introduction, is a remarkable work in that in a very short space she manages to deal with everything. Despite spending 40 years researching this subject myself, I found that it just glitters with... (Source)

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