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Memory and Cultural History of the Spanish Civil War, by Aurora G. Morcillo, editor

Leiden / Boston: E.J. Brill, 2014. Pp. xviii, 472. Illus., maps, plans, notes, index. $240.00. ISBN: 9004259953.

The Evolving Narrative of the Spanish Civil War

Arguably of all the events of the twentieth century, none remains more contentious than the Spanish Civil War of 1935-1936, and Prof. Morcillo (New Mexico) has collected some 15 essays by scholars from Spain, the U.S., Canada, and Ireland that address the question of how the narrative of the Spanish Civil War has evolved in the 80-some years since its end.

The essays are grouped  into six broad categories, covering institutional approaches to remembrance, individual and collective memories of violence, repression, and hunger, autobiographical testimony and views of gender roles, and more

Several essays are particularly interesting, notably one on the curious Franco-era notion of a unique “Hispano-Arabic” culture , as well as those on the Valle de los Caidos and on the myth and reality of “La Pasionaria,” Dolores Ibárruri. 

The se essays reflect modern views of the war and its aftermath, an go beyond the traditional Manichean “Nationalist vs. Republican” interpretations that are still very common even in many recent works. 

A volume in the Brill series “History of Warfare,” Memory and Cultural History of the Spanish Civil War is a necessary read for students of Spanish history, and is also likely to be of use to those interested in the evolution of historiography or of historical memory. 

Note: Memory and Cultural History of the Spanish Civil War is also available as an e-book

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Reviewer: A.A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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