THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR by Gabriel -- Ed. Jackson


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These 30-odd New York Times reports of the Spanish Civil War reflect all the weaknesses of undigested, on-the-spot reporting, though they are generally accurate on discrete matters of fact. The first three articles give a modicum of background history; the others comprise a diluted melange of battle reports, haphazard analyses of divergent political tendencies, and fragmentary descriptions of the diplomatic game the big powers waged at the expense of the Republican Loyalists. An uncensored report on the siege of Madrid froths about ""the Republican terror,"" overestimates Soviet aid, and takes the socialist pretensions of the Popular Front government all too seriously. Other reports, such as Herbert Matthews' sketches of the International Brigades, tend to be uncritical, sympathizing with individual elan rather than probing political subtleties; and in an article on anarchism Matthews plunges into the ""deep religious substratum"" of the ""egocentric"" Spaniard rather than undertaking sociological analysis. As a whole the collection adds nothing to secondary sources like Jackson's own The Spanish Civil War, and the patchwork reportage leaves the history of the war incoherent despite Jackson's excellent, though brief, introduction. For Matthews' account of his wrangles with the Times as correspondent from Loyalist territory, and his appraisal of his colleagues' pro-Franco coverage, see A World in Revolution (1971).

Pub Date: May 19th, 1972
Publisher: Quadrangle