100 books like Between Two Fires

By David Baird,

Here are 100 books that Between Two Fires fans have personally recommended if you like Between Two Fires. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Spanish Testament

Joan Fallon Author Of Spanish Lavender

From my list on the Spanish Civil War through oral history and narrative.

Why am I passionate about this?

Joan Fallon is a Scottish novelist who has lived in the province of Málaga, in southern Spain, for almost thirty years. She has a great passion for all aspects of Spanish history and culture. While writing a book about the lives of Spanish women after the Civil War, she learned about the unbelievable massacre of thousands of innocent people as they left their homes and fled to Almería in 1937. Women, children and old men were gunned down by cruising gunboats. A historian, teacher and now an author, Joan wanted to know why nobody ever spoke about this tragedy.

Joan's book list on the Spanish Civil War through oral history and narrative

Joan Fallon Why did Joan love this book?

This book was written in 1937 by a British journalist who was visiting Spain. This was the year that Málaga fell to the Nationalist forces. It is the year that I write about in Spanish Lavender, a love story set in the Spanish Civil War in Málaga. Arthur Koestler arrived in that city when thousands of people were fleeing from the advancing army. His book gives an eye witness account of what it was like there, the military situation, the devastation and the evacuation. He saw it all and wrote about it. Later he was arrested and imprisoned in a Nationalist gaol in Seville and described his experiences. For me it was the most useful book I could have found.

By Arthur Koestler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spanish Testament as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Als im Juli 1936 nach einem Generalputsch der Spanische Bürgerkrieg ausbricht, zeigen sich viele Intellektuelle auf der ganzen Welt solidarisch mit der bedrohten Republik. Auch Schriftsteller und Journalist Arthur Koestler reist wenig später als Kriegsberichterstatter nach Spanien. Dort erlebt er die Eroberung Málagas durch die Truppen von General Franco mit. Kurz darauf wird Koestler von faschistischen Putschisten festgenommen und durch ein Standgericht zum Tode verurteilt. Auf seine Hinrichtung wartend, beginnt Koestler, seine Beobachtungen und Gedanken in Ein spanisches Testament niederzuschreiben. Mit seinen autobiografischen Erinnerungen an jene bewegte Zeit ist Koestler das wohl bedeutendste Werk zum Spanischen Bürgerkrieg gelungen. Schriftstellerkollegen wie…


Book cover of Blood of Spain: An Oral History of the Spanish Civil War

Martha A. Ackelsberg Author Of Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women

From my list on anarchism and revolution in the Spanish Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been studying and writing about, anarchism, gender, and the Spanish Civil War for almost 4 decades. I first explored what it would mean to organize a society without formal institutions of authority; and, as part of that research, I looked at how anarcho-syndicalist organizations related to governmental institutions and the struggle against fascism in Spain. I then engaged in a multi-year investigation of the social revolution that occurred in the midst of the ensuing Civil War and, in particular, the activities of the anarchist women’s organization, Mujeres Libres. Through the research for my book, Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women, I was captivated by the extraordinary strength and enthusiasm of those women, and committed myself to telling their stories in ways that would be relevant to contemporary readers.

Martha's book list on anarchism and revolution in the Spanish Civil War

Martha A. Ackelsberg Why did Martha love this book?

Based on interviews Fraser conducted with both activists and everyday citizens (over 300 people, in total) who survived the Civil War, this book provides a powerful picture of the struggles, successes and defeats experienced by those who lived through it. It provides an extraordinary view of the complexity of the war and of the organizations that became involved in it.

By Ronald Fraser,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Blood of Spain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Conversations taped between June 1973 and May 1975 with more than three hundred survivors of the Spanish Civil War provide a chronological account of the fratricidal struggle, which brought violence and desperation to every family in Spain


Book cover of For Whom the Bell Tolls

David L. Robbins Author Of War of the Rats

From my list on love and war and describing both battlefields.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve penned (so far) seventeen novels, most set during some historical conflict or other, all of them revolving around intense personal relationships (loyalty, love, betrayal, those sorts of profound truths). I tend to read the sorts of books I wish to write. I also teach creative writing at a university (VCU); I tell my students that if they want to really know what a character is made of, shoot at them or have them fall in love. In my own work, I do both.

David's book list on love and war and describing both battlefields

David L. Robbins Why did David love this book?

Perhaps no writer has ever described war and love with the precision (if either can be subjected to such clarity) of Hemingway.

I was moved on every page by the power of his scenes, like reportage, from war, matched by an internal landscape that is equally tragic and explosive. 

By Ernest Hemingway,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked For Whom the Bell Tolls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inspired by his experiences as a reporter during the Spanish Civil War, Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls tells the story of Robert Jordan, an American volunteer in the International Brigades fighting to defend the Spanish Republic against Franco. After being ordered to work with guerrilla fighters to destroy a bridge, Jordan finds himself falling in love with a young Spanish woman and clashing with the guerrilla leader over the risks of their mission.

One of the great novels of the twentieth century, For Whom the Bell Tolls was first published in 1940. It powerfully explores the brutality of…


Book cover of Malaga Burning: An American Woman's Eyewitness Account of the Spanish Civil War

Joan Fallon Author Of Spanish Lavender

From my list on the Spanish Civil War through oral history and narrative.

Why am I passionate about this?

Joan Fallon is a Scottish novelist who has lived in the province of Málaga, in southern Spain, for almost thirty years. She has a great passion for all aspects of Spanish history and culture. While writing a book about the lives of Spanish women after the Civil War, she learned about the unbelievable massacre of thousands of innocent people as they left their homes and fled to Almería in 1937. Women, children and old men were gunned down by cruising gunboats. A historian, teacher and now an author, Joan wanted to know why nobody ever spoke about this tragedy.

Joan's book list on the Spanish Civil War through oral history and narrative

Joan Fallon Why did Joan love this book?

Gamel Woolsey was the wife of Gerald Brenan, who has written many books about Spain. They were living in Málaga when the Civil War broke out. This is a book of her experiences and the people she met then.

By Gamel Woolsey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Malaga Burning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gamel Woolsey instinctively understood that a civil war, with all its irrationality of blood killing blood, could not be told by a journalistic recitiation. Yet through her vivid character sketches and her powerful eyewitness account, a reader comes away from Gamel Woolsey's memoir with the feeling of having attained a grasp of the Spanish war--as great, perhaps, as if one had plowed through some multi-tomed work heavy with statistics. Her descriptions of Spanish life are timeless, and therefore remain as fresh and compelling as when written.


Book cover of Desde la noche y la niebla

Johana Gustawsson Author Of Blood Song

From my list on resistance during The Spanish Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a French writer of Spanish origin. My two grandfathers shared history with Spain’s darkest hours. My maternal grandfather was born in Barcelona and he was a teenager at the time of the war; just like Salvayre’s parents, he had to flee Spain as the bombs were hitting his city. My paternal grandfather, who was in his twenties at the time of the civil war, decided to fight for the “International Brigades” to defend Spain’s freedom. It is to honour their memory and one of the millions of men and women who suffered from those almost four decades of dictatorship that I wrote Blood Song, a historical thriller, the third installment in the Roy and Castell series.

Johana's book list on resistance during The Spanish Civil War

Johana Gustawsson Why did Johana love this book?

This is the only book in my selection that can just be found in Spanish language. But it’s a fantastic book as Juana Doña wrote a novel about the eighteen years she spent as a political prisoner in the Franco jails. From the night and the fog is a testimony about the resistance that women organised from their prison cells, the fight they led with incredible spirit and resilience despite the inhuman conditions they were living in, mots of them having lost so many loved ones in the war. The horrifying truth shines in a painful but necessary way.

By Juana Doña,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Desde la noche y la niebla as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rare book


Book cover of We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War

Jules Stewart Author Of Madrid: Midnight City

From my list on the Spanish Civil War and its impact on Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first set foot in Madrid in 1962, when the deep scars of a three-year siege were still very much in evidence. Over the years I have observed it evolve into the most vibrant and fascinating city in Europe. I lived in Madrid for a total of twenty years and after moving to London, I found myself missing it very badly, so much so that I decided to put my enthusiasm to pen and tell the world what a spectacular place it is. The result was three books: Madrid: The History, Madrid: A Literary Companion for Travellers, and the latest, Madrid: Midnight City, co-authored with Helen Crisp, a long-time visitor who shares my enthusiasm for this city perched atop the Castilian plateau. 

Jules' book list on the Spanish Civil War and its impact on Spain

Jules Stewart Why did Jules love this book?

Paul Preston needs no introduction to readers of contemporary Spanish history. He embodies the term ‘Hispanist’ and has been writing about the country for decades, with a focus on the Spanish Civil War. Preston tells the gripping tale of those who fought to tell the story, often at risk to their own lives, namely the foreign correspondents who, in reporting the war, made every effort to reveal the truth. Preston catches this column-inch internationalism with brilliance in his survey of such notables as Ernest Hemingway and Henry Buckley. The book is absorbing, frequently moving, and sprinkled with humour. It fills a crucial gap in the historiography of the Spanish Civil War.

By Paul Preston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Saw Spain Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The war in Spain and those who wrote at first hand of its horrors.

From 1936 to 1939 the eyes of the world were fixed on the devastating Spanish conflict that drew both professional war correspondents and great writers. Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Josephine Herbst, Martha Gellhorn, W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, Kim Philby, George Orwell, Arthur Koestler, Cyril Connolly, Andre Malraux, Antoine de Saint Exupery and others wrote eloquently about the horrors they saw at first hand.

Together with many great and now largely forgotten journalists, they put their lives on the line, discarding professionally dispassionate approaches and…


Book cover of Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

James McGrath Morris Author Of The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, DOS Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War

From my list on understanding the Spanish Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

James McGrath Morris is the author of The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War, which the Economist said was “as readable as a novel.” His previous work, Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, The First Lady of the Black Press was a New York Times bestseller. His next book is Tony Hillerman: A Life.

James' book list on understanding the Spanish Civil War

James McGrath Morris Why did James love this book?

Both Hemingway and Orwell show up in this compelling, well-written, and sweeping account of the war. Hochschild is a brilliant writer who was aspired to take up this topic by Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. Like he did in King Leopold’s Gold, Hochschild focuses his attention on a limited number of people making it easier to follow the story. The co-founder of Mother Jones, he brings to the book a lively magazine-style of narration. If Thomas’s work is too much, this is the one history worth reading. 

By Adam Hochschild,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spain in Our Hearts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. A sweeping history of the Spanish Civil War, told through a dozen characters, including Hemingway and George Orwell: A tale of idealism, heartbreaking suffering, and a noble cause that failed.

For three crucial years in the 1930s, the Spanish Civil War dominated headlines in America and around the world, as volunteers flooded to Spain to help its democratic government fight off a fascist uprising led by Francisco Franco and aided by Hitler and Mussolini.

Today we're accustomed to remembering the war through Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and Robert Capa’s photographs. But Adam Hochschild…


Book cover of Mexique: A Refugee Story from the Spanish Civil War

Mary Beth Leatherdale Author Of Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees

From my list on what it’s like to be a refugee.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up on a farm in Southwestern Ontario, Canada that my family had owned for six generations, my world was small. That all changed when I moved to Toronto and met my husband, the Canadian-born son of Polish Jews who survived death camps and the Holocaust. His family taught me what it means to find yourself in the crosshairs of history, to be forced to make impossible choices under dire circumstances. I’m passionate about sharing stories that build understanding and celebrating those forced by fate to be fighters — their strong yet often surprising personalities, their unique journeys, and their inspiring grit. 

Mary's book list on what it’s like to be a refugee

Mary Beth Leatherdale Why did Mary love this book?

I’m a big fan of picture books for older readers that tackle tough subjects. Before I read Mexique, I knew nothing about the 456 Spanish children who were sent to Mexico by ship to escape the Spanish Civil War in 1937. Yet, what I love about this book is how it goes beyond the historical facts to share the truth of the story in a moving and memorable way. The lyrical narrative is written in 1st person from the perspective of a child on the ship. And, the artwork, based on actual photographs, with its child-like style, somber colours, and graphic-novel style panels is stunning. You feel like you’re on the journey with the children. Waiting and wondering when you can return home. 

By María José Ferrada, Ana Penyas (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mexique as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On May 27, 1937, over four hundred children sailed for Morelia, Mexico, fleeing the violence of the Spanish Civil War. Home was no longer safe, and Mexico was welcoming refugees by the thousands. Each child packed a suitcase and boarded the Mexique, expecting to return home in a few months. This was just a short trip, an extra-long summer vacation, they thought. But the war did not end in a few months, and the children stayed, waiting and wondering, in Mexico. When the war finally ended, a dictator—the Fascist Francisco Franco—ruled Spain. Home was even more dangerous than before. 

This…


Book cover of The Sleeping Voice

Johana Gustawsson Author Of Blood Song

From my list on resistance during The Spanish Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a French writer of Spanish origin. My two grandfathers shared history with Spain’s darkest hours. My maternal grandfather was born in Barcelona and he was a teenager at the time of the war; just like Salvayre’s parents, he had to flee Spain as the bombs were hitting his city. My paternal grandfather, who was in his twenties at the time of the civil war, decided to fight for the “International Brigades” to defend Spain’s freedom. It is to honour their memory and one of the millions of men and women who suffered from those almost four decades of dictatorship that I wrote Blood Song, a historical thriller, the third installment in the Roy and Castell series.

Johana's book list on resistance during The Spanish Civil War

Johana Gustawsson Why did Johana love this book?

The Sleeping Voice is the most poignant novel about women in the Spanish civil war you will get to read. Those voices are the ones of the women who fought throughout the dictatorship not to be forgotten as the silent soldiers they were. Those voices tell us that the real heroes are very often anonymous. You won’t be able to part with Hortensia, Elvira and Tomasa, the heroines: I can guarantee that they will all stay with you. I actually chose a quote from that book to open Blood Song: it is about a mother wondering how the sea looks like as her boys are laying in it. 

By Dulce Chacon, Nick Caistor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sleeping Voice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dulce Chacon's book has had an immense success in Spain, no doubt because the novelist speaks with a just and powerful voice, and because she has allowed women - the most anonymous, the most suppressed, the most silenced - to speak out" Le Monde

It is 1939. In the Ventas prison in Madrid a group of women have been incarcerated. Their crime is to have supported or fought on the Republican side in Spain's cruel and devastating Civil War. Chief among them are Hortensia, who fought with the militia and is pregnant by her husband Felipe - a man still…


Book cover of International Communism and the Spanish Civil War: Solidarity and Suspicion

Oleksa Drachewych Author Of Left Transnationalism

From my list on international communist movement between World Wars.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in the topic of international relations and when I started graduate studies, I focused on Russian and Soviet foreign policy between the World Wars. When I began my research, I learned of the existence of the Comintern and was fascinated both by this attempt to develop a worldwide movement and its connection to Soviet foreign policy. Since then, I have focused on trying to understand the individuals who populated the parties and the organization and unearthing a legacy that still resonates today. One cannot fully understand the history of decolonization or of human and civil rights movements without considering the influence of the Comintern. 

Oleksa's book list on international communist movement between World Wars

Oleksa Drachewych Why did Oleksa love this book?

Lisa Kirschenbaum, also offering a transnational approach to Comintern history, highlights the role of the Comintern apparatus and shared experiences in forming a common bond between communists. Whether it is the various training schools in the Soviet Union, the propaganda efforts English-language communists worked for, or their service in Spain during the Spanish Civil War as part of the international brigades, communists remained committed to their ideals, even as the Soviet Union drifted away from them. Focusing on the grassroots support for communism, Kirschenbaum treats their belief in the movement as legitimate. This belief helps explain not only why so many people came to identify with key ideas in the movement, such as anti-fascism, but also why some left the movement following the Stalinist terror or the Nazi-Soviet pact. 

By Lisa Kirschenbaum,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked International Communism and the Spanish Civil War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

International Communism and the Spanish Civil War provides an intimate picture of international communism in the Stalin era. Exploring the transnational exchanges that occurred in Soviet-structured spaces - from clandestine schools for training international revolutionaries in Moscow to the International Brigades in Spain - the book uncovers complex webs of interaction, at once personal and political, that linked international communists to one another and the Soviet Union. The Spanish Civil War, which coincided with the great purges in the Soviet Union, stands at the center of this grassroots history. For many international communists, the war came to define both their…


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