42 books directly related to the Spanish Civil War 📚

All 42 Spanish Civil War books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

Forgotten Places: Barcelona and the Spanish Civil War

By Nick Lloyd,

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

Why 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.


Spanish Testament

By Arthur Koestler,

Book cover of Spanish Testament

Why 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.


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

By Ronald Fraser,

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

Why 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.


For Whom the Bell Tolls

By Ernest Hemingway,

Book cover of For Whom the Bell Tolls

Why this book?

Anaïs Nin doesn’t mention historical fiction, though she dances around this solution. So I approached Hemingway’s classic novel having already written mine, cowed by the fact that this was my first reading of the model of Spanish Civil War fiction. But I was immediately drawn in by the tangibility of the action, by the sensations, and by the completeness of the characters. It was somehow comforting to know that the main character was based on the noble Robert Merriman of the International Brigades, almost like a family connection, with other historical people mentioned by name. The Spanish language hovers in the background of the dialog and occasionally bursts out raw. I loved translating to myself phrases like, “I obscenity in the milk of thy mother,” and laughed at Hemingway’s tirades against anarchism, completely contrary to Orwell’s viewpoint. 


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

By Gamel Woolsey,

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

Why 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.


Between Two Fires-Guerrilla War In The Spanish Sierras

By David Baird,

Book cover of Between Two Fires-Guerrilla War In The Spanish Sierras

Why this book?

This book takes a different look at the Spanish Civil War. It looks at the history of the guerrilla war in the Spanish sierras, where poorly armed men waged a drawn out battle against the Nationalist troops for years. It is also in the province of Málaga.


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

By Tomas Cuevas, Mary E. Giles,

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

Why 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.


The Sleeping Voice

By Dulce Chacon, Nick Caistor,

Book cover of The Sleeping Voice

Why 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. 


Cry, Mother Spain

By Lydie Salvayre, Ben Faccini,

Book cover of Cry, Mother Spain

Why this book?

The former French psychiatrist Lydie Salvayre won the prestigious Goncourt Prize for that brilliant novel about the Spanish civil war. Salvayre’s parents, who were Republicans, had to flee Franco’s regime, and we feel that her writing is sewn with emotion and memories. The two voices we hear echo perfectly that troubling period of Spanish history: the one of Salvayre’s own mother recounting her experiencing the civil war and the one of the French writer Georges Bernanos. A novel not to be missed.


Homage to Catalonia

By George Orwell,

Book cover of Homage to Catalonia

Why this book?

Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War, on the side of the anti-Franco Republicans, between December 1936 and June 1937. He fought for the Marxist POUM militia in Barcelona and at other flashpoints in Catalonia. As time went on, however, he became disenchanted by the fractures between the different parties on the Republican side—and, in particular, the rise of the Soviet-sponsored Communist line. By the end of the work, though still committed to socialism and the overthrow of Franco’s Nationalists, he is profoundly uneasy about the brand of Communism holding sway—an unease which found subsequent voice in Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.


Desde la noche y la niebla

By Juana Doña,

Book cover of Desde la noche y la niebla

Why 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.


The Spanish Civil War

By Hugh Thomas,

Book cover of The Spanish Civil War

Why 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.


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

By Adam Hochschild,

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

Why 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. 


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

By Amanda Vaill,

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

Why 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.


Guerra

By Jason Webster,

Book cover of Guerra

Why 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.


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

By James Matthews,

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

Why 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.


The International Brigades: Fascism, Freedom and the Spanish Civil War

By Giles Tremlett,

Book cover of The International Brigades: Fascism, Freedom and the Spanish Civil War

Why this book?

In 1936 an attempt by a coalition of reactionary army officers to overthrow the Spanish government outraged left-wingers around the world. By the start of the next year the International Brigades had been formed under the watchful eye of the Soviet Union to help the beleaguered Republic. At least 35,000 men from countries as diverse as Britain, China, Sweden, and Cuba fought and died on Spanish battlefields for a lost cause. Giles Tremlett’s expansive narrative history brings them vividly to life, with both their heroism and flaws, and shows why their struggle is still remembered today.


Spain in Arms: A Military History of the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939

By E.R. Hooton,

Book cover of Spain in Arms: A Military History of the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939

Why this book?

The Spanish Civil War ended more than eighty years ago, hence one might assume the people of Spain would have long since buried the ideological discord and personal animosities that tore the country apart in three years of savage fighting. Not so, as the author points out. He looks at the character of the war’s most notorious protagonist, Francisco Franco, described as a ‘‘general of standard ability but given to flights of fancy’. Certainly one of the costliest of these castles in the air was his determination to make short work of his siege of Madrid, which against all the odds, held out heroically to the end.

Hutton identifies the battle of Teruel, fought during the worst Spanish winter in twenty years, as the tipping point of the war. This is one of the four fronts he analyses in detail and with deep perception.


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

By Paul Preston,

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

Why 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.


Deadly Embrace: Morocco and the Road to the Spanish Civil War

By Sebastian Balfour,

Book cover of Deadly Embrace: Morocco and the Road to the Spanish Civil War

Why this book?

Foreigners also joined the other side. Around 80,000 volunteers from Morocco, a Spanish protectorate, signed up to fight with the rightist rebels for money, adventure, and jihad. Sebastian Balfour’s fascinating book traces the intertwined history of the two countries to show why poor North African Muslims ground under the heel of Spanish imperialism felt they had more in common with General Francisco Franco’s right-wing Nationalists than with the Popular Front government in Madrid. Moroccan soldiers were vital to Franco’s eventual victory even if many would become bitter that their country never got the independence the nationalists had promised.


Franco and the Condor Legion: The Spanish Civil War in the Air

By Michael Alpert,

Book cover of Franco and the Condor Legion: The Spanish Civil War in the Air

Why this book?

General Franco’s rebellion would never have stood a chance without the support of Nazi Germany. The rebels lacked airpower and Hitler was happy to supply some in the form of the Condor Legion, intended both to support Franco and give the fledgling Luftwaffe a taste of battle. The Legion’s most notorious action was the bombing of Guernica but Michael Alpert shows Germany’s influence on all aspects of the Spanish Civil War in his very readable and wide-ranging  book that also takes in Russian and Italian airborne intervention.


Mine Were of Trouble: A Nationalist Account of the Spanish Civil War

By Peter Kemp,

Book cover of Mine Were of Trouble: A Nationalist Account of the Spanish Civil War

Why this book?

The Nationalists had their own International Brigades in the form of the many thousands of foreigners who came to support Franco’s cause. Most ended up in the Spanish Foreign Legion, among them the Cambridge-educated conservative Peter Kemp. Motivated to take part by a fierce hatred of communism, he saw sharp end of the Civil War and had most of his teeth smashed out by a mortar shell at the Ebro but never lost faith in the rightness of Franco’s cause.  Years later he wrote this, recently republished, memoir of the war that is equally vivid and disturbing, never more so than when he describes executing a British deserter from the Internationalist Brigades.


Guernica

By Dave Boling,

Book cover of Guernica

Why this book?

You don’t have to know much about the Spanish civil war to have heard of Guernica. If you’ve ever seen Picasso’s work depicting the bombing, this book creates the story of the people of the town going about their everyday lives just before the painting’s horror. As a reader, you know what is coming but are helpless to do anything but care for characters who are oblivious to the destruction coming their way. 

As an author, I found inspiration in this novel for my own portrayal of the civil war in Spain. The trick is to let ordinary people tell the story for you.


The Spanish Labyrinth: An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil War

By Gerald Brenan,

Book cover of The Spanish Labyrinth: An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil War

Why this book?

This book was originally published almost immediately after the Civil War and provides an extraordinarily rich—and yet very readable---account of the many conflicting forces that led up to the war. It is an indispensable introduction to that history.


Defying Male Civilization: Women in the Spanish Civil War

By Mary Nash,

Book cover of Defying Male Civilization: Women in the Spanish Civil War

Why this book?

Mary Nash is the “dean” of women’s history in Spain, who has done excellent work on the history of working-class Spanish women, birth control, anarchism, and much more. This book, her only major work published in English, places the roles of women—and the revolutionary activities of Mujeres Libres—into its broader historical context. Importantly, she looks not only at the activities of left-wing and revolutionary women, but at how the fascist counter-revolution affected women and families in the years that followed the war.


Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship

By Noam Chomsky,

Book cover of Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship

Why this book?

This is a now-classic essay that explores the ways mainstream news media (and subsequent academic studies) downplayed and/or misrepresented the revolutionary nature of the Spanish Civil War. Although the war began as a result of a failed military coup d’etat against a legally-elected republican government, it came to be seen simply as a battle between communists (identified with the government) and supporters of order (who were actually the fascist rebels!). Drawing parallels with the ways U.S. media represented the revolutionary forces in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, Chomsky makes clear just how significant that misrepresentation became—not just at the time, but in the continuing historiography of the Spanish Civil War.


International Communism and the Spanish Civil War: Solidarity and Suspicion

By Lisa Kirschenbaum,

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

Why 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. 


Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past

By Giles Tremlett,

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

Why 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.


The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain

By Paul Preston,

Book cover of The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain

Why this book?

The whole of Spanish history is contentious, with hardly a fact not subject to challenge or attack. But slowly, clarity and understanding have come forth, and finally, in this volume, the extraordinary scholar Paul Preston gives us the facts about the campaigns of extermination in the Spanish Civil War. Anyone who wants a solid, grounded, informed understanding of this miserable time of slaughter needs this book. Painful reading, and all the more necessary for that.


The Shadow of the Wind

By Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves (translator),

Book cover of The Shadow of the Wind

Why this book?

I have always loved libraries. This novel takes place in 1940s Barcelona, a place of danger, romance, and memories that linger like ghosts. There’s a hidden library, a lost author, and a touch of romance, all set during the dangerous aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. What more could I want?


The Bloody Game: An Anthology of Modern War

By Paul Fussell (editor),

Book cover of The Bloody Game: An Anthology of Modern War

Why this book?

We are in danger of engaging with war as though it were a philosophical enquiry or a strategic game if we leave out its essence: the death, the suffering, the destruction, the fear, the devastation that it brings, reflected in many among the texts in this anthology, written by eye-witnesses. Others – including the poems – are the product of a different sort of engagement with war: not the attempt at rational analysis but of artistic sublimation of the experience. This, too, represents a thoroughly valid approach missing from the academic works recommended in this section. 

If this collection can be faulted, it is for leaving out works – many of great impact at their time, and some not without literary merit – that turned the experience of war into its direct or indirect praise. We thus look in vain for excerpts from Ernst Jünger’s Storm of Steel, for example. This omission is understandable, perhaps even commendable, but gives a skewed picture of how War was interpreted and how its image was passed on to new generations.


The Time of the Doves

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

Book cover of The Time of the Doves

Why 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.


Mexique: A Refugee Story from the Spanish Civil War

By María José Ferrada, Ana Penyas (illustrator),

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

Why 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. 


Stone in a Landslide

By Maria Barbal,

Book cover of Stone in a Landslide

Why 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.


Looking for Trouble: The Classic Memoir of a Trailblazing War Correspondent

By Virginia Cowles,

Book cover of Looking for Trouble: The Classic Memoir of a Trailblazing War Correspondent

Why this book?

I would love to invite Virginia Cowles to dinner, but unfortunately she died in a car accident in the 1980s (Ouija board, anyone?). A socialite turned war correspondent, Virginia navigated not just Nazis and Fascists while covering the Spanish Civil War and WWII, but an entire misogynist war bureaucracy bent on keeping her from doing her job. Looking for Trouble is a smart, funny, moving, and insightful account of being on the front lines in high heels and a fox fur jacket.


There Your Heart Lies

By Mary Gordon,

Book cover of There Your Heart Lies

Why 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.


A Long Petal of the Sea

By Isabel Allende, Nick Caistor (translator), Amanda Hopkinson (translator)

Book cover of A Long Petal of the Sea

Why this book?

This story starts in Spain’s Civil War but immigrates to Chile. I have two reasons to be attracted to this book. First I grew up in South America and so am drawn to this setting, but second I had a writing mentor who was a small boy during the Franco regime. (I published his story in my blog.)

An exodus of thousands of Spaniards escaped into France and Cristian Zozaya was separated from his parents for years until they were able to immigrate to South America. His story echoes the beginning of Allende’s, except hers is about adult refugees in a marriage of convenience. The protagonists face trials in Chile with yet another dictatorship, but the ending is pleasing.


The Confidential Agent: An Entertainment

By Graham Greene,

Book cover of The Confidential Agent: An Entertainment

Why this book?

Graham Greene is another master craftsman of thriller novels that explore political, moral, and ethical ambiguities in a way that both entertains and provokes. Better known for Our Man in Havana, Greene was sufficiently uncomfortable with The Confidential Agent that he wanted it published under a pseudonym. Yet I agree with critics that this tale of a foreign agent’s covert efforts to buy British coal to fuel a European civil war is among his best. Greene reputedly wrote it in six weeks, assisted by a diet of amphetamines and an affair with his landlady’s daughter, giving the novel a pace and rawness that reflect its creation.  


Dispatches from the Front: The Life of Matthew Halton, Canada's Voice at War

By David Halton,

Book cover of Dispatches from the Front: The Life of Matthew Halton, Canada's Voice at War

Why this book?

The story of a brave and insightful Canadian journalist sent by the Toronto Star to get a read on the Nazi regime shortly after Hitler’s 1933 seizure of power. As soon as he set foot in Germany, Matt Halton had a good sense of where this might be headed, and he remained in Europe for the next decade as Hitler ran roughshod over international treaties and norms and then plunged the continent, and much of the world, into war. You can sense the indignation in Halton’s public and private pronouncements – not just over Nazism’s outrages, but over the failure of politicians, other journalists, and the wider public to see what he was seeing. A timely reminder of why good journalists matter, and why authoritarian leaders hate them.


South from Granada

By Gerald Brenan,

Book cover of South from Granada

Why this book?

Even though this book was written in the 1920s, any visitor to inland Spain today will feel like they have been transported into its pages. The situations he finds himself in, mixed with the characters and traditions he has to deal with, make you feel like his book could have been written yesterday.


Travels with Myself and Another

By Martha Gellhorn,

Book cover of Travels with Myself and Another

Why this book?

This book is, in my opinion, the best travelouge ever. She has been my hero since I read her For Richer or Poorer and saw what she said about my fellow countrymen: ''They were stronger in their defencelessness than the various khaki-clad people who overrun them'. She got straight to the core of the matter. And how true about being overrun: happening, again, right now, early 2021.

Her Travels with Myself and Another is my favorite among her works. It is full of powerful insight and absolutely great writing whatever she was describing, be it meeting Chiang Kai-shek (she was not impressed) or Zhou Enlai (she was) or people in the street


Race Rebels : Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class

By Robin D. G. Kelley,

Book cover of Race Rebels : Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class

Why this book?

This book is a brilliant collection of essays highlighting “race rebels,” where Kelley looks outside of traditional politics and organized movements to find Black resistance to forces such as white supremacy, labor exploitation, and war. Kelley focuses in on the everyday lives of working-class Black men and women, highlighting a “hidden transcript” of expression and resistance in things like music, language, dance, and choice of dress.  He elevates the political potential found in these cultural elements, urging historians to see these “style politics” in the social and economic contexts which give rise to them, for they are powerful and worthy of our attention.