Spain In Our Hearts
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Spain In Our Hearts

Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939

Adam Hochschild

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eBook - ePub

Spain In Our Hearts

Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939

Adam Hochschild

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About This Book

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. A sweeping history of the Spanish Civil War, told through a dozen characters, including Hemingway and George Orwell: A tale of idealism, heartbreaking suffering, and a noble cause that failed. For three crucial years in the 1930s, the Spanish Civil War dominated headlines in America and around the world, as volunteers flooded to Spain to help its democratic government fight off a fascist uprising led by Francisco Franco and aided by Hitler and Mussolini. Today we're accustomed to remembering the war through Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls and Robert Capa's photographs. But Adam Hochschild has discovered some less familiar yet far more compelling characters who reveal the full tragedy and importance of the war: a fiery nineteen-year-old Kentucky woman who went to wartime Spain on her honeymoon, a Swarthmore College senior who was the first American casualty in the battle for Madrid, a pair of fiercely partisan, rivalrous New York Times reporters who covered the war from opposites sides, and a swashbuckling Texas oilman with Nazi sympathies who sold Franco almost all his oil — at reduced prices, and on credit. It was in many ways the opening battle of World War II, and we still have much to learn from it. Spain in Our Hearts is Adam Hochschild at his very best. "With all due respect to Orwell, Spain in Our Hearts should supplant Homage to Catalonia as the best introduction to the conflict written in English. A humane and moving book."— New Republic "Excellent and involving... What makes [Hochschild's] book so intimate and moving is its human scale." — Dwight Garner, New York Times

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Information

Publisher
Mariner Books
Year
2016
ISBN
9780547974538
 

PART I

1


Chasing Moneychangers from the Temple

IN A STATE that was largely brown desert, the wide lawns of the University of Nevada stood out like a green oasis. On a bluff overlooking Reno, tree-shaded red-brick buildings were laced with vines and dotted with cupolas and windows in white frames. Spread around a small lake, the school had an Ivy League look that would make it a favorite location for Hollywood films set on campuses.
In the summer after his first year at Berkeley, Bob Merriman worked on a Ford auto assembly line in the nearby industrial city of Richmond and was appalled to find that the workers, not even allowed bathroom breaks, were routinely splashed by battery acid. The next summer, in 1934, he would be swept into a far more political world than the one he had known in Nevada. Some 15,000 West Coast longshoremen had formed a union and, when shipping firms refused to recognize it, walked off the job. Sailors, harbor pilots, and truck drivers carrying cargo to the docks joined them. In a display of solidarity rare for that era, the strikers and their allies—whites, blacks, Chinese and Filipino Americans—marched eight abreast up San Francisco’s Market Street under a union flag.
Just as the strike was one part of Merriman’s introduction to the political strife of his day, his surroundings at Berkeley were another. Teaching in his department, for instance, was the economist Paul Taylor, husband of the photographer Dorothea Lange; the couple went into sunbaked fields to research and publicize the dire conditions of California’s migrant farmworkers, among the poorest of the country’s poor. Berkeley was home to many others on the left: Democrats who wanted Roosevelt’s New Deal to be more far-reaching, Socialists who advocated a peaceful transition to public ownership of industry, Communists, and members of a host of smaller sects.

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