Constable and Robinson (September 2008)
We Saw Spain Die is about the courage and the skill of the men and women who wrote about what was happening in Spain during the Civil War, by the world's leading authority. Based on a huge trove of diary and personal letter material regarding principally British and American, but also Russian and French, correspondents, We Saw Spain Die is a study of how the war correspondent came of age.
It examines the problems - political, professional and personal, faced by some of the century's greatest war correspondents both within Spain and also in America, Britain, France and Russia. It throws light not just on the Spanish Civil War but also on internal politics within all those countries. The most powerful message is that it re-vindicates a number of America's greatest liberal journalists.
Along with the professional war correspondents, some hardened veterans of Abyssinia, others still to win their spurs, came some of the world's most prominent literary figures: Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Josephine Herbst and Martha Gellhorn from the United States; W H Auden, Stephen Spender, Kim Philby and George Orwell from Britain; André Malraux and Antoine de Saint Exupery from France.
Paul Preston is Príncipe de Asturias Professor of Contemporary Spanish History and director of the Cañada Blanch Centre of Contemporary Spanish Studies at LSE.
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'No history of modern Spain can be written from now on without constant recourse to the lavish and fascinating details and the penetrating analyses of this masterly work.'
London Review of Books
'It is difficult to see this marvellous, brilliantly written and surely authoritative biography ever being matched. It is a book which any historian would be proud to have written.'
'Preston's book is a work of great scholarship, making use of much new material. But it is not dry: He is a master of narrative, with an eye for the arresting and sometimes horrific detail. A gripping read.'
'Brilliantly clear-minded and detailed...the definitive biography of Franco; there is nothing to match it in Spanish. It is a triumph of clarity, judicious analysis and detailed research.'
Colm Tóibín, Sunday Times