As an experiment, I’m going to try writing quick book summaries of the books I read. One session, about 10 minutes. Revising allowed later. Go!
Read: September/October 2012
Until just a few years ago, I knew very little about Spain’s troubles in the 20th century. Actually, that’s too weak: I didn’t even know that I knew very little about Spain’s troubles. I barely knew there were troubles at all. There’d been a dictatorship, of course, which (shockingly to me) lasted until 1977; there’d also been a civil war, which I, err, learned about from Pan’s Labyrinth. Beyond that, I held a (perhaps understandable) American view of Europe as a simple collection of ethnically-based nation-states: Spain is filled with Spaniards, Germany is a uniform collection of Germans, and so on1.
This state of affairs lasted until someone very close to me, who had studied in the Basque Country, told me about brutal repression of the Basques under Franco. In Europe, I made friends early on with a great group of Catalans, whose attitudes toward toward el Centro (Madrid), Spain as a country, and toward Spanish history were (and are) endlessly fascinating. It’s possible these sympathetic early exposures to people from the regions gave me a bit of bias in Iberian matters, but after reading this history, it’s hard to imagine any other conclusion with regard to the war than this: