100 books like Spain in Our Hearts

By Adam Hochschild,

Here are 100 books that Spain in Our Hearts fans have personally recommended if you like Spain in Our Hearts. 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 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 Homage to Catalonia

Peter Hain Author Of The Elephant Conspiracy

From my list on thrilling page-turners.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Peter Hain 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…

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 The Spanish Civil War

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?

First published in 1961, and reissued many times since, The Spanish Civil War remains the single best account of the Spanish Civil War. Thomas was a historian who had served in the British government and whose political allegiances shifted from the Labour to the Conservative party. His seminal work was quickly adopted by the left in Europe and the United States as the go-to work on a legendary clash between the right and left. Despite a few errors and the publication of new accounts, Thomas’s book deserves to be the first on any list like this one. It was banned in Spain until after Franco’s death. Travelers would smuggle copies across the border.

By Hugh Thomas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Mr. Thomas has understood [the Spanish Civil War] incredibly well and has written it superbly. A full, vivid and deeply serious treatment of a great subject.”—Vincent Sheean, The New York Times Book Review

A masterpiece of the historian’s art, Hugh Thomas’sThe Spanish Civil War remains the best, most engrossing narrative of one of the most emblematic and misunderstood wars of the twentieth century. Revised and updated with significant new material, including new revelations about atrocities perpetrated against civilians by both sides in this epic conflict, this “definitive work on the subject” (Richard Bernstein, The New York Times) has been given…


Book cover of Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War

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?

If there was a soap opera in the midst of the Spanish Civil War, it would have been filmed at Madrid’s Hotel Florida where famous foreign supporters of the Republican cause stayed. For a brief time, as it became clear Franco would prevail, armed amateur mercenaries, writers, filmmakers, and journalists, drank and did all they could for the lost cause. The tale of three love affairs, including that of Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, animate this book whose entertaining style masks some insightful passages. Certainly, a book that’s hard to put down.

By Amanda Vaill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Madrid, 1936. In a city blasted by civil war, six people meet and find their lives changed forever. Ernest Hemingway, his career stalled, his marriage sour, hopes this war will give him fresh material and new romance; Martha Gellhorn, an ambitious novice journalist hungry for love and experience, thinks she will find both with Hemingway in Spain. Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, idealistic young photographers based in Paris, are inventing modern photojournalism as they capture history in the making. And Arturo Barea, Madrid's foreign press chief, and Ilsa Kulcsar, his Austrian deputy, are struggling to balance truth-telling with loyalty to…


Book cover of The Time of the Doves

Jenny Jaeckel Author Of Boy, Falling

From my list on historical fiction by diverse women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning author and illustrator who works in a variety of genres, including Historical Fiction. When historical fiction is well done it conveys times and events as they were lived and breathed by real people. Historical fiction by diverse women tells the stories of those consistently left out of the “historical record.” Human life is rich and diverse, and the stories belong to all of us, not just those who have historically had the power to control the cultural narratives. As a writer and student of history, it has been my pleasure to explore characters that are not often represented, characters that are ordinary for their times, and extraordinary as well. 

Jenny's book list on historical fiction by diverse women

Jenny Jaeckel Why did Jenny love this book?

The Time of the Doves is one of my favorite books of all time for its intimacy, immediacy, and unusual descriptive power. Natalia, a young woman living in Barcelona around the time of the Spanish Civil war, paints for the reader a vivid and seamless picture of her life from the inside out—her loves and losses, survival, the confusion of a world broken by chaos and violence and put back together again by perseverance and tenderness. A short but unforgettable read that I return to again and again.

By Mercè Rodoreda, David H. Rosenthal (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Time of the Doves - by Mercè Rodoreda - is the powerfully written story of a naïve shop-tender during the Spanish Civil War and beyond, is a rare and moving portrait of a simple soul confronting and surviving a convulsive period in history. The book has been widely translated, and was made into a film.


Book cover of Forgotten Places: Barcelona and the Spanish Civil War

Jason Webster Author Of Why Spain Matters: The Story of the Land that Shaped the Western World

From my list on Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jason Webster is the international best-selling author of fifteen books on Spain, including Duende, Sacred Sierra, The Spy with 29 Names, Violencia: A New History of Spain, and the Max Cámara series of crime novels. He is a publisher, broadcaster, award-winning photographer, a board member of The Scheherazade Foundation, and is married to the Flamenco dancer Salud.

Jason's book list on Spain

Jason Webster Why did Jason love this book?

Another book which brings the history of a city to life. For years, Nick Lloyd has been leading highly informative guided walks around Barcelona sites associated with the Spanish Civil War, and now he has compiled much of his vast knowledge on the subject in this excellent book. Packed with fascinating details and anecdotes, this is pretty much the last word on the subject.

By Nick Lloyd, Nick Lloyd,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a guide to Barcelona in the Spanish Civil War, beginning in the 19th century with the conditions and movements which led to the social revolution of 1936, and ending with the fall of the city on 26 January 1939 when Franco's tanks drove down the Diagonal and set about destroying everything the Republic and the revolutionaries had built. Stories from the aftermath of the war, the exile and the Franco regime are also included. In addition with dealing with the more obvious issues such as anarchism, the Spanish Republic, Catalonia, George Orwell, the aerial bombing, and the May…


Book cover of There Your Heart Lies

Diane Josefowicz Author Of Ready, Set, Oh

From my list on you’ve never heard of about Rhode Island.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Rhode Islander, I didn’t have to do too much research to write Ready, Set, Oh. I was born in Providence, and I grew up in Cranston, a suburb outside the city. After graduating from a local high school, I studied at Brown University and after years of living in different cities, fifteen years ago I settled in Providence with my family. I adore this place—we have vibrant neighborhoods, gorgeous beaches, plenty of history, and a surprisingly lively literary scene. I assembled this list to draw attention to some great but under-recognized books set in Rhode Island, either by Rhode Islanders or writers with significant connections to the Biggest Little. 

Diane's book list on you’ve never heard of about Rhode Island

Diane Josefowicz Why did Diane love this book?

I’ve been reading Mary Gordon ever since a fellow writer put her novel Spending in my hands in 1999. Two decades later, I remain as impressed by Gordon’s moral intelligence as by her luscious prose. In this novel, Marian, an older woman living in coastal Rhode Island, relives her young adulthood, which she spent fighting Franco’s forces in Spain while posing as the wife of a politically engaged doctor who happened to be her dead brother’s former lover. Now Marian’s granddaughter has arrived on her doorstep in search of her history and is inspired to visit Spain herself. But what she discovers is only what Marian already knows, living by the coast: that a quiet life in a backwater can also be free and meaningful.

By Mary Gordon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked There Your Heart Lies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At nineteen, Marian Taylor cut herself off from her wealthy, conservative Irish Catholic family and left America to volunteer in the Spanish Civil War—an experience she has always kept to herself. Now in her nineties and diagnosed with cancer, Marian finally shares what happened to her during those years with her granddaughter Amelia, a young woman of good heart but only a vague notion of life’s purpose. Marian’s secret history—of personal and ethical challenges nearly unthinkable to Amelia’s generation, of the unexpected gifts of true love and true friendship—compels Amelia to make her own journey to Spain to reconcile her…


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 Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past

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

From my list on essential Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Gijs van Hensbergen 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.

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…


Book cover of Lord of All the Dead

Jonathan Spyer Author Of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict

From my list on the human impact of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and journalist. I grew up in London’s Jewish community, and lived in Israel and Jerusalem for most of my life. I'm fascinated by the Mid-East region, its history, religions, music, cultures, and colors, and by Jewish history. As a result of my experiences as a soldier in the Second Lebanon War of 2006, and the Second Intifada of 2000-4, my focus on conflict became central to my work. After the 2006 war, I became a conflict reporter, and I've covered war and insurgency in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Ukraine, Lebanon, and Israel/West Bank/Gaza for a variety of publications. I also like to focus on the ways war and conflict impact human lives.   

Jonathan's book list on the human impact of war

Jonathan Spyer Why did Jonathan love this book?

In this book, Javier Cercas, a Spanish journalist and novelist, sets off on a journey to discover the truth about his great-uncle, Manuel Mena, who was killed aged 19 at the Battle of the Ebro, during the Spanish Civil war. Cercas is a man of the center-left, but his relative was killed while fighting on the side of General Franco’s nationalist, anti-Communist and anti-democratic insurgency. This book is about the way that conflict and its memory remains present in families over subsequent generations, shaping subsequent lives in myriad ways, sometimes unseen. It is of particular value I think because of the way in which Cercas manages to examine his opposition to the cause with which his great-uncle served, and his deep sense of linkage to his relative, without ever compromising either.  

By Javier Cercas, Anne McLean (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lord of All the Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lord of All the Dead is a courageous journey into Javier Cercas' family history and that of a country collapsing from a fratricidal war. The author revisits Ibahernando, his parents' village in southern Spain, to research the life of Manuel Mena. This ancestor, dearly loved by Cercas' mother, died in combat at the age of nineteen during the battle of the Ebro, the bloodiest episode in Spain's history.

Who was Manuel Mena? A fascist hero whose memory is an embarrassment to the author, or a young idealist who happened to fight on the wrong side? And how should we judge…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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

10,000+ 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 Barcelona.

The Spanish Civil War Explore 48 books about the Spanish Civil War
Spain Explore 193 books about Spain
Barcelona Explore 40 books about Barcelona