100 books like The Spanish Civil War

By Hugh Thomas,

Here are 100 books that The Spanish Civil War fans have personally recommended if you like The Spanish Civil War. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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 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 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 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 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 Guerra

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?

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.

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…


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 Stone in a Landslide

Jacqueline Yallop Author Of Obedience: A Novel

From my list on brilliant old women as heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Jacqueline Yallop 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.

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…


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

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?

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.

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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Spanish Civil War, Spain, and Adolf Hitler?

11,000+ 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 Adolf Hitler.

The Spanish Civil War Explore 51 books about the Spanish Civil War
Spain Explore 195 books about Spain
Adolf Hitler Explore 126 books about Adolf Hitler