July is Spanish Civil War Month on Alvah’s Books

by Rebeca on July 1, 2009


Readers of this site know that I have a mild obsession concerning the Spanish Civil War. This month marks the 73rd anniversary of the start of the war. If you don’t know much about it (and confuse it with the Spanish-American War) and its importance in history, then come visit and read all the book reviews that will be posted for the next 31 days and beyond.

Once you start to read about the SCW–and there’s a lot of reading, more than 15,000 books have been written on the subject; a Google search will come up with 3.4 million entries—you’ll understand the fascination.

Why am I so passionate about it? My mother was from the Asturias–located in Northern Spain and known as “Zona Roja”—and I grew up listening to all the horrors of the war. Sadly, after several years of hearing the same old stories over and over, I tuned my mother out. However, my personal interest wasn’t sparked until a few years ago when I started writing my novel Julius. It started with one sentence, some research and then BANG! I was hooked.

Although there are thousands of books on the topic, if you visit your local bookstore (chain or independent) you’ll discover that many of these don’t carry any of the titles at all. I have recreated my mother’s collection (they were damaged in storage) via Amazon and combing through used bookstores.

If you want to familiarize yourself with the subject before you go and spend a small fortune,  below are some websites that hopefully will inspire you to learn more about the subject:

  • Wikipedia.  This is a good start. There’s so much information and it can be overwhelming, but spend a few hours with it and you’ll have a decent introduction.
  • Spartacus Educational. Another good source. The opening page is broken down by subtopics or chapters.
  • About the Spanish Civil War. This site is compiled by Cary Nelson, a professor at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.
  • La Cucaracha. This site has a lot of fun stuff, music of the Spanish Civil War, links to just about anything related to the war.
  • Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives. This is a great site for readers interested in the volunteers who went to Spain (including this site’s namesake and my hero, Alvah Bessie, but you all knew that, right?)

Not interested in reading and spending your entire day clicking links? This month, I have a special treat and I might do this more often if readers drop me a comment and tell me if they liked it or not.  Thanks to the folks at Viddler and embedding technology, I’ll be posting Granada’s The Spanish Civil War series. You’ll be able to watch all six parts.


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