Henry Buckley offered the best contemporary account of the Spanish civil warSpain in the 1930s hosted the first violent clash between the century’s conflicting ideologies. Writers such as George Orwell, Ernest Hemingway, André Malraux and Arthur Koestler became passionate witnesses to a complex civil war that pitched totalitarianism against democracy, while Stalinist communism and fascism fought a proxy battle and anarchism, Trotskyism, nationalism and Catholic fundamentalism poured petrol on the blaze.Often, though, the writers obscured the country. That was not the case with Henry Buckley, whose Life and Death of the Spanish Republic (1940) exudes not just authority, empathy and real knowledge, but also humility. Buckley was a straight-up newspaperman – mostly, but not only, the Daily Telegraph’s correspondent – who knew Spain better than any of them.He arrived in 1929, just as the soft dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera came to an end, and lived through the extraordinary eight-year life of Spain’s second republic. As a practising Roman Catholic, he was immune to the Protestant-spread “black legends” about Spain. But he was so appalled by the country’s reactionary church, which joined the army and landowners in fighting democracy, that he could not go to mass.Christ, he knew, would …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books