Helen Graham reviews Paul Preston’s “Spanish Holocaust”

March 2, 2012

Given recent events in Spain, Helen Graham writes in today’s Independent “Paul Preston’s monumental, rigorous and unflinching study” of repression in the Spanish Civil War has become “important and opportune in ways that reach far beyond the purely academic.” Preston’s The Spanish Holocaust, which will be released in the US next month, traces “the fundamentalist origins of the military coup that unleashed the killing” and “reconstruct[s] its complex consequences”:

Recognizing that the initial massive violence was generated by the military rebels themselves remains the biggest taboo of all in democratic Spain’s public sphere. Franco’s dictatorship has never been delegitimised since his death in 1975, notwithstanding the symbolic measures of recent years. It is this military responsibility, which Garzón sought unsuccessfully to confront, that lies at the heart of Preston’s study. He builds on a lifetime’s research into the destruction of democracy in 1930s Spain to show how a military-led coalition against political and social reform triumphed, against the divided and inexperienced centre-left government of the Second Republic.

Read the full review here.