Kicking off the reading for #NorthernFires, we have to decide where to start. We need one that gives us the setting, background, and context of the song’s topic: northern fires and the bombing of Guernica.

Three of the books on the syllabus pertain directly to the Spanish Civil War. One is fiction (For Whom the Bell Tolls), and one is very detailed (The Spanish Civil War). Thus, we land on The Battle for Spain as our introduction to the topic.

About the Author

Sir Antony James Beevor is a military historian who is no stranger to writing about battle and war. Beevor himself served in military, which we will need to keep in mind as we read, as it affects the perspective he brings to the events.

About the Book

The English-language version of The Battle for Spain was published in 2006, on the 70th anniversary of the start of the war. It’s a re-write and update of his 1982 text The Spanish Civil War. The Spanish-language version of this newer version won the “La Vanguardia Prize for Non-Fiction”.

Getting Going

With that introduction completed, let’s get going with reading this book as our introduction to the topic. I’ll do a fast skimming read of the whole book, and then come back for some commentary.

If you want to really hone in on the northern fires and bombing of Guernica, you can head directly to pages 231 to 233 in the version we are reading to get a quick and terrible glimpse of the events relevant to the song/topic.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts as we get into this book!

Note: if you’re looking to find any of the books from our reading list, I created a bookshop list of them here.