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Paul Preston is Principe de Asturias Professor of Iberian History at the LSE, and was head of the International History Department there for several years. He is regarded as the leading historian of twentieth-century Spain now working, especially in Spain itself where he is multiply honoured and holds a state monopoly on the interpretation of that country's modern history.
According to Preston (Spanish studies, London Sch. of Economics; Franco: A Biography), under one percent of the nearly 20,000 books on the Spanish Civil War are by or about the women who were embroiled in that conflict. Here he goes a long way toward rectifying this oversight, providing portraits of four unique women: Margarita Neken and Nan Green, who were committed to the Republican cause, and Mercedes Sanz Bachiller and Priscilla Scott-Ellis, who supported the pro-Fascist nationalists' movement. Neken and Sanz Bachiller were major players in the political realm, while Green and Scott-Ellis were highly competent nurses who contributed to the development of modern battlefield medical procedures. Preston uses diaries, memoirs, letters, and other primary documents to flesh out each woman's fascinating personal life. The general reader may struggle with the barrage of details, especially when it comes to the multitude of bickering factions that were indigenous to the conflict. Nevertheless, this complement to Preston's earlier Comrades: Portraits from the Spanish Civil War is a worthy addition to women's history collections and definitely belongs in every modern Spanish history collection.-Jim Doyle, Sara Hightower Regional Lib., Rome, GA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
'A magnificent achievement. Preston combines the skills of the professional historian with a profound understanding of women. Eminently readable, this is narrative history at its best.' Literary Review 'Newcomers to the Spanish conflict could hardly find a better place to start.' Sunday Times On Comrades: 'Paul Preston knows more about the Spanish Civil War than any other Englishman; more, even, than those who fought it. Anyone interested in Spain will want this book.' ALLAN MASSIE, Daily Telegraph On Franco: 'It is difficult to see this marvellous, brilliantly written and surely authoritative biography ever being matched. It is a book any historian would have been proud to have written.' IAN KERSHAW, THES On A Concise History of the Spanish Civil War: 'Paul Preston has an exceptional gift of lucid exposition, clarifying but not over-simplifying political situations often bafflingly complicated.' V. G. KIERNAN