The war in Spain and those who wrote at first hand of its horrors.
From 1936 to 1939 the eyes of the world were fixed on the devastating Spanish conflict that drew both professional war correspondents and great writers. Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Josephine Herbst, Martha Gellhorn, W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, Kim Philby, George Orwell, Arthur Koestler, Cyril Connolly, André Malraux, Antoine de Saint Exupéry and others wrote eloquently about the horrors they saw at first hand.
Together with many great and now largely forgotten journalists, they put their lives on the line, discarding professionally dispassionate approaches and keenly espousing the cause of the partisans. Facing censorship, they fought to expose the complacency with which the decision-makers of the West were appeasing Hitler and Mussolini. Many campaigned for the lifting of non-intervention, revealing the extent to which the Spanish Republic had been betrayed. Peter Preston's exhilarating account illuminates the moment when war correspondence came of age.
Excellent...a splendid monument to scholarship. Always absorbing, frequently moving...it fills a crucial gap in the historiography of the Spanish civil war. — The Sunday Times
I cannot commend it enough. The story of those who fought to tell the story, at risk to their own lives and against the natural grain of their readers, is a cracker of a subject. [Preston] unpicks the tangles of lies, allegations and half-truths; revives reputations that have unjustly faded; and presents us with an overview that is lucid, unhurried and fresh to read — Nicholas Shakespeare, Daily Telegraph
A pioneering investigation of those foreign correspondents who did so much to influence world opinion at the time ... Preston sweeps the reader along with the lucidity of his prose, his passionate commitment to the subject, and, above all, his concern to rescue the reputations of those unjustly neglected and courageous figures who worked alongside far more famous names such as Hemingway, Dos Passos, Kim Philby and Martha Gellhorn. — Literary Review
Paul Preston has become a hugely influential historian of the Spanish Civil War, not only for his scholarship, but for his eye for detail and skill as a storyteller. In We Saw Spain Die these talents come to the fore, aided not only by the richness of the material, but also Preston's deep enthusiasm for his subject.
— Jason Webster, New Statesman
This testament to their testimony could not have been supplied by a more erudite expert. Preston is a peerless historian of Spain, and the only one who writes as readably as a professional journalist — Independent
A work of impressive scholarship. — BBC History Magazine
What marks out his work is not just an understanding of the period ... but also an ability to choose an angle from which to make old history seem new. — The Herald
There is much to inspire in the courage and commitment of these journalists and Preston has done us proud in telling their stories — Morning Star
A copper-bottomed tour de force — Catholic Herald
Compelling .... required reading for anyone in Spain or war reporting. — The Tablet
Anyone interested in the personal experiences of foreign journalists in the Spanish Civil War should start with this book — Times Higher Education
This meticulous history book adds an invaluable insight into these events as documented in the heat of the struggle and as such is highly recommended. — Socialist Review
Essential reading — Good Book Guide
Passionate and absorbing — The Guardian
A splendid monument to scholarship. Absorbing, funny, frequently moving ... it fills a crucial gap in the historiography of the Spanish conflict — Sunday Times
A fascinating book on two levels. It's a great political adventure story laced with sex, politics and death but it is also a profound book about journalism ... meticulously researched. — Tribune
Excellent — Daily Telegraph