10 books like Cry, Mother Spain

By Lydie Salvayre, Ben Faccini,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Cry, Mother Spain. Shepherd is a community of 8,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Prison of Women

By Mary E. Giles, Tomas Cuevas,

Book cover of Prison of Women: Testimonies of War and Resistance in Spain, 1939-1975

Johana Gustawsson Author Of Blood Song

From the list on resistance during The Spanish Civil War.

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Johana's favorite books.

Why did Johana love this book?

Tomasa Cuevas, who spent herself many years in jail during the Franco dictatorship, collected testimonies of women incarcerated following the Spanish civil war. Mary E. Giles brilliantly translated and edited those testimonies. Prison of women is a powerful book as it is an act of resistance by itself: Tomasa had to cross the country to interview those women at a time when Franco was still ruling and we cannot thank Mary E Giles enough for bringing these testimonies to us. She explains in a heart-warming introduction how she came to translate and edit this book.

Prison of Women

By Mary E. Giles, Tomas Cuevas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A translation of women's testimonies about their experiences in the prisons of Spain following the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 collected by Tomasa Cuevas, herself a surviving victim of the Francoist prison system.


The Sleeping Voice

By Dulce Chacon, Nick Caistor,

Book cover of The Sleeping Voice

Johana Gustawsson Author Of Blood Song

From the list on resistance during The Spanish Civil War.

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Johana's favorite books.

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. 

The Sleeping Voice

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…


Homage to Catalonia

By George Orwell,

Book cover of Homage to Catalonia

Peter Hain Author Of The Elephant Conspiracy

From the list on thrilling page-turners.

Who am I?

I am an activist-politician, who’s been both militant anti-apartheid protestor and Cabinet Minister, someone who tries to convey sometimes complex issues in straightforward terms, impatient with taking refuge down academic rabbit holes, striving to see the wood-for-the-trees. With the exception of George Orwell, each of the books I have recommended is by an author I know personally. My new thriller, The Elephant Conspiracy, sequel to The Rhino Conspiracy, reflects dismay at the corrupt betrayal of Nelson Mandela’s freedom struggle and the values which inspired it, the main characters fighting to revive those values of social justice, liberty, equal opportunities, and integrity, as well as service to others not selfish enrichment. 

Peter's book list on thrilling page-turners

Discover why each book is one of Peter's favorite books.

Why did Peter love this book?

I recall reading it in my late teens, less as the classic it was on the barbarous Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, and more as a personal discovery by Orwell of how his democratic socialist instincts were sharpened and shaped by the buffeting swirl of ideological clashes and bitter sectarian struggles within the inspirational resistance to Franco’s fascism in Spain. As he witnessed the heroism and the horror, the passion and sometimes the ulterior purposes of these competing groups, Homage to Catalonia for me was a gripping narrative, climaxing in the internecine firefight in Barcelona where the left helped defeat itself, and thereby opened the door to Franco’s murderous victory and equally murderous rule. 

Like Orwell’s, the socialism that I had come to believe in during the first ten years of my life in Britain was instinctively ‘libertarian’ rather than ‘statist’, favouring democracy and liberty rather than central control…

Homage to Catalonia

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Homage to Catalonia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Homage to Catalonia remains one of the most famous accounts of the Spanish Civil War. With characteristic scrutiny, Orwell questions the actions and motives of all sides whilst retaining his firm beliefs in human courage and the need for radical social change.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition is introduced by Helen Graham, a leading historian on the Spanish Civil War.

When George Orwell arrived in Spain in 1936, he…


Book cover of Desde la noche y la niebla

Johana Gustawsson Author Of Blood Song

From the list on resistance during The Spanish Civil War.

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Johana's favorite books.

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.

Desde la noche y la niebla

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


Ghosts of Spain

By Giles Tremlett,

Book cover of Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past

Gijs van Hensbergen Author Of Guernica: The Biography of a Twentieth-Century Icon

From the list on essential Spain.

Who am I?

A lifetime of an obsession with Spain since a childhood spent on Miro’s farm in Montroig del Camp and just a short walk away from where Gaudi was born I have cooked, researched, battled, and fallen in love with this extraordinary country. Almost 40 years ago I bought a farmhouse in Arevalillo de Cega in the central mountains in Spain from where I have crisscrossed the country in the footsteps of Goya, the culinary genius Ferran Adria and in search of information for my biography on Gaudi – the God of Catalan architecture. Spain is an open book with a million pages, endlessly fascinating, contrary, unique, and 100% absorbing. I fell in deep.

Gijs' book list on essential Spain

Discover why each book is one of Gijs' favorite books.

Why did Gijs love this book?

As the Guardian correspondent in Madrid, Giles Tremlett’s book is a no-holds-barred deep investigation into the Spanish psyche and recent history and its uncomfortable relationship to the trauma of the Spanish Civil War. It is brave, provocative, deeply-researched but above all immensely readable.

Ghosts of Spain

By Giles Tremlett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Spaniards are reputed to be amongst Europe's most forthright people. So why have they kept silent about the terrors of their Civil War and the rule of General Franco? This apparent 'pact of forgetting' inspired writer Giles Tremlett to embark on a journey around Spain and its history. He found the ghosts of Spain everywhere, almost always arguing. Who caused the Civil War? Why do Basque terrorists kill? Why do Catalans hate Madrid? Did the Islamist bombers who killed 190 people in 2004 dream of a return to Spain's Moorish past? Tremlett's curiosity led him down some strange and colourful…


Blood of Spain

By Ronald Fraser,

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

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Martha's favorite books.

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.

Blood of Spain

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


Spain at War

By James Matthews,

Book cover of Spain at War: Society, Culture and Mobilization, 1936-44

Jules Stewart Author Of Madrid: Midnight City

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

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Jules' favorite books.

Why did Jules love this book?

The Spanish Civil War is customarily written off as a military action involving insurgent army units allied with the Falange and other reactionary forces, waging war against a legitimately-elected Socialist-led government, albeit one infested with Communist conspirators. James Matthews takes the reader into another realm, often overlooked in the literally thousands of works published on this conflict. 

The book brings together the writings of thirteen outstanding historians and specialists, who examine broad-ranging and hitherto little-explored issues such as the Francoist doctrine of ‘martial masculinity’ and ‘turning boys into men’, the role of social work during the war, political economies and monetary policies, desertion and shirking military duties and Republican spies in the Nationalist rearguard.

Spain at War

By James Matthews,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Spain's principal and most devastating war during the 20th century was, unusually for most of Europe, an internal conflict. During the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939 two competing armies - the insurgent and counterrevolutionary Nationalist Army and the Republican Popular Army - engaged in a conflict to impose their version of Spanish identity and the right to shape the country's future. In its aftermath, Francoist Spain remained on a war footing for the duration of the Second World War.

In spite of the unabated flood of books on the Spanish Civil War and its consequences, historians of Spain…


Spain in Our Hearts

By Adam Hochschild,

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 the list on understanding the Spanish Civil War.

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of James' favorite books.

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. 

Spain in Our Hearts

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…


Guerra

By Jason Webster,

Book cover of Guerra

Jules Stewart Author Of Madrid: Midnight City

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

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Jules' favorite books.

Why did Jules love this book?

Jason Webster journeys across Spain to explore the lasting effects of the Spanish Civil War. The result of his travels is this book of fascinating and vividly retold true stories from the war. The more the author unveils of the passions that set one countryman against another, the more he is led to wonder: could the dark, primitive currents that ripped the country apart in the 1930s still be stirring under the sophisticated, worldly surface of today's Spain? With this moving and succinct account, Webster definitively establishes his credential as one of the most gifted and knowledgeable Anglophone writers who have interpreted Spain to the world.

Guerra

By Jason Webster,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After twelve years in Spain, Jason Webster had developed a deep love for his adopted homeland; his life there seemed complete. But when he and his Spanish wife moved into an idyllic old farmhouse in the mountains north of Valencia, by chance he found an unmarked mass grave from the Spanish Civil War on his doorstep.Spurred to investigate the history of the Civil War, a topic many of his Spanish friends still seemed to treat as taboo, he began to uncover a darker side to the country. Witness to a brutal fist-fight sponsored by remnants of Franco's Falangists, arrested and…


Stone in a Landslide

By Maria Barbal,

Book cover of Stone in a Landslide

Jacqueline Yallop Author Of Obedience: A Novel

From the list on brilliant old women as heroines.

Who am I?

Sister Bernard, the main character in my novel Obedience, is ninety. I’ve always been fascinated – and afraid – of what it means to grow old, particularly as a woman, and I like exploring the perspectives that age can bring. I enjoy seeing older women given a voice, especially when they don’t turn out to be the easy, likeable characters we might expect. There aren’t that many books with really old women as the main characters, because age is not glamorous or comfortable, but that’s why it’s interesting. I hope the novels on this list go some way towards redressing the balance. 

Jacqueline's book list on brilliant old women as heroines

Discover why each book is one of Jacqueline's favorite books.

Why did Jacqueline love this book?

In this short beautiful novel, Conxa looks back on a life blasted apart by the Spanish Civil War. The Pyrenean setting of the story is as magnificent and brutal as the action here, but what I love most is the calm, timeless voice of Conxa as she tells her story of love and war and family. This is a brilliant book about what it means to live a long life and the lingering effects of the past.

Stone in a Landslide

By Maria Barbal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stone in a Landslide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The beginning of the 20th century: 13-year-old Conxa has to leave her home village in the Pyrenees to work for her childless aunt. After years of hard labour, she finds love with Jaume - a love that will be thwarted by the Spanish Civil War. Approaching her own death, Conxa looks back on a life in which she has lost everything except her own indomitable spirit. ------- Why Peirene chose to publish this book: 'I fell in love with Conxa's narrative voice, its stoic calmness and the complete lack of anger and bitterness. It's a timeless voice, down to earth…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Spanish Civil War, Spain, and France?

8,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Spanish Civil War, Spain, and France.

The Spanish Civil War Explore 47 books about the Spanish Civil War
Spain Explore 158 books about Spain
France Explore 744 books about France