The People’s Army in the Spanish Civil War: A Military History of the Republic and International Brigades 1936-1939

Written by Alexander Clifford
Review by Edward James

The Spanish Civil War spilled a great deal of blood at the time and still spills great quantities of ink, which is surprising for a limited war sandwiched between two global conflicts.   What more can be written about it?  However, if you have a serious interest in the topic you will want to read this book.

he People’s Army is a military history focused on three major battles, Brunete, Belchite and Teruel.  The early months of the war, before the formation of the People’s Army, including the battle for Madrid, are covered only as background, as are the politics which led up to the war.  However, one cannot assess the performance of an army at war without assessing its opponent.  The result is a meticulously researched analysis of both the Republican and the Nationalist armies, including the foreign contingents which served in them from 1937 to 1939.

This is not revisionist history, although it corrects several myths.  Instead it celebrates the achievement of the Republic in raising a modern army at such short notice which acquitted itself surprisingly well against overwhelming odds.