The Spanish Civil War, by Gabrielle Ranzato
You know a book about the Spanish Civil War is not going to be any good when it is part of a Traveller’s history series and views the rapine and theft and violence of the Republican left of Spain as an “opportunity” for social beneficial social change that was beset with problems instead of being rotten from the core. Basically, this is a book by and for fellow socialist and Communist travelers and the only benefit that anyone else will gain from it is seeing the warped and biased and crazy way that leftist view the world. Some people, like me, generally enjoy seeing how other people know the world as a way of studying our opposition and recognizing the blind spots and hypocrisy and internal tensions of those views so as to better counter them, but if you do not have this interest this book is easy enough to avoid and offers nothing worth reading unless you either are warped enough to be leftist or have an interest in counteracting the sort of perspective that can be found in this book and many other books like it that are less forthright about their biases.
This book is mercifully short, at about 100 pages or so. The book begins with a discussion of the initial attempt at a coup d’etat by right-leaning generals that failed to take over the country but provided a basis for further expansion (1). After that there is a discussion of the context of Spain’s troubled republic that founded on growing extremism and some malapportionment of seats that benefited the extremes against the middle (2). This leads to a discussion of the revolutionary moves of the left that led to a civil war within the civil war (3) and then finally the author turns his attention to Franco and his rise to power within the Nationalist ranks (4). The fifth chapter discusses the horror of the Civil War with the usual double standard between the harshly condemned “dirty work” against leftists on the one hand and then the explained away “spontaneous” violence done by the leftists on the other hand (5). After that there is a discussion about the roads to defeat and victory and then a bibliography, chronology, and index of names.
In reading books like this, especially if you come from a non-red perspective as I do, it is easy to see that the tendency for hypocrisy and injustice is extremely obvious to the reader and completely hidden to the writer. The writer thinks that anti-Christian intellectuals and those who have bought into the cult-mentality of Marxism have a moral superiority to those who believe in Christianity, and thinks that theft of other people’s property is entirely appropriate for those who feel themselves to be oppressed, instead of showing some initiative and seeking to better one’s position through education and hard work and the development of skills that will improve one’s life. This same sort of problem can be seen in many places where those who complain the most about injustice are those who have done the least to improve their lives or demonstrate their ability to rise from poverty to a better manner of living. It is hard to feel sympathetic for those who think that envy and theft is an appropriate response to one’s initial low social status. My sympathies in such a case are with those who worked hard and managed to better themselves, because that is what happened for me, and those who want to steal what I have earned had better be prepared to meet their maker, however little they acknowledge him in their words and deeds at present.