Most histories of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) have examined major leaders or well-established political and social groups to explore class, gender and ideological struggles. The war in Spain was marked by momentous conflicts between democracy and dictatorship, communism and fascism, anarchism and authoritarianism, and catholicism and anticlericalism that still provoke our fascination. In this title, Michael Seidman focuses instead on the personal and individual experiences of the common men and women who were actors in a struggle that defined a generation and helped to shape our world. By examining the roles of anonymous individuals, families and small groups who fought for their own interest and survival - and not necessarily for an abstract or revolutionary cause - the author reveals a powerful but rarely considered pressure on the outcome of history. He shows how price controls and inflation in the Republican Zone encouraged peasant hoarding, black marketing and unrest among urban workers. Soldiers of the Republican Army responded to material shortages by looting, deserting and fraternizing with the enemy. Seidman's focus on average, seemingly nonpolitical individuals provides a new vision of both the experience and outcome of the war.
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