by Salvador de Madariaga ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 27, 1957
One of the last great European liberals and an outstanding Spanish intellectual, whose role in representing his country abroad and serving her at home entitles him to speak authoritatively on her history. This book was published in England in 1952, but with this first American edition, contains extensive revisions and four new chapters bringing the story up to the summer of 1957..... This is an extraordinary book, but the market is certainly that of the avid student of Spanish history, the informed scholar in the realm of European history, and the foreign policy departments of European capitals. For the average reader interested in Spain, Lawrence Fernsworth's Spain's Struggle for Freedom (Beacon) -- see report on p. 789 -- will supply the real need for a critical survey. But Prof. de Madariaga plumbs depths of his country's history, explores the complexities of the Spanish character, sharply criticises the present dictatorship for scuttling the potentials of the country, evidenced in the early years of the century, in political, economic and sociological realms. Backgrounding his searching analysis of Spain today is one of the most illuminating of historical studies, actually a rounded biography of a country, from the primitive tribes of prehistoric Spain, through the complicated pattern of her history, the multi-colored aspects of her people, her rise and fall as a world factor, her great figures, -political, cultural, economic, and her heartening awakening in the early years of this century. Then war-stifling the hopes, setting her back again in every realm of activity, involving her in a Civil War which he insists was fundamentally Spanish to the core, the intervention of the Fascists and the Communists a secondary- though disastrous aspect. The present regime highlights the anomaly of Spain, reveals an internal anarchy, and -- through the dominance of the Right in the upper echelons and the seething dissatisfaction with betrayal below- leaves the way open for Communism. The greatest contribution the book makes, probably, is the closeup analysis of the Civil War, which he has approached with coldly penetrating detachment. Most interesting- for today's readers- is his analysis of the imminent possibility of change- and Spain's importance in the world picture. This is an important book, which should be in all public libraries where European history is well represented, and in college and university libraries.
Pub Date: Jan. 27, 1957
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1957
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