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Publisher's Summary

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling 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 (1936-1939) 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 Earth.
The 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, listeners have long relied on Richard Rhodes to explain, distill, and dramatize crucial moments in history. Now he takes us onto battlefields and into 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.
©2015 Richard Rhodes (P)2015 Simon and Schuster
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ellen on 05-22-15

Fascinating history lesson

Enjoyed the story, performance and learned much about a period that I knew very little about before selecting this title. Recommended by a friend and five star worthy!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By sabas on 01-17-17

Awkward approach to a civil war

What was most disappointing about Richard Rhodes’s story?

I found shocking how Spaniards are describe as mere passive figures in this story. No one can deny the huge influence of external actors in the Spanish conflict, but in the end it was a civil war. This fact doesn't come across at all in this book.

What three words best describe Christian Coulson’s performance?

I wonder why the producer didn't choose a reader fluent in Spanish, since the book is full of names and expressions in this language. Christian Coulson is not even able to mispronounce Spanish words consistently throughout his reading.

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