A compelling, unflinching portrait of Spain in the early 20th century, this autobiographical trilogy is at once a charming coming-of-age saga and a chilling study of the rise of a fascist state. Not convinced? Admittedly, it's long...but this prose is as rich and as satisfying as an Andalusian feast.
An astonishing trilogy of books, collected in one volume, documenting the tumultuous first half of the 20th century in Spain
The Forging of a Rebel is an unsurpassed account of Spanish history and society from early in the twentieth century through the cataclysmic events of the Spanish Civil War.
Arturo Barea's masterpiece charts the author's coming-of-age in a bruised and starkly unequal Spain. These three volumes recount in lively detail Barea's daily experience of his country as it pitched toward disaster: we are taken from his youthful play and rebellion on the streets of Madrid, to his apprenticeship in the business world and to the horrors he witnessed as part of the Spanish army in Morocco during the Rif War. The trilogy culminates in an indelible portrait of the Republican fight against Fascist forces in which the Madrid of Barea's childhood becomes a shell and bullet-strewn warzone.
Combining historical sweep and authority with poignant characterization and novelistic detail, The Forging of a Rebel is a towering literary and historical achievement.
About the Author
Arturo Barea (1897-1957) was born in Badajoz and raised and educated in Madrid. For most of the Spanish Civil War, he acted as head of the Foreign Press and Censorship Bureau of the Republican Government in Madrid and was also the radio broadcaster who spoke as the 'Unknown Voice of Madrid'. Eventually forced out of Spain, he sought temporary asylum in France before crossing to England just before the outbreak of World War II. He and his wife Ilsa settled in Eaton Hastings near Faringdon in Berkshire. From 1940 until 1957 he transmitted a weekly broadcast for Spanish Radio to South America. He published novels and short stories as well as books of criticism, and his great autobiographical trilogy The Forging of a Rebel first appeared in English between 1941 and 1946.
Translator Ilsa Barea (1902-1973) was born and raised in Vienna, where she studied politics at Vienna University. In the 1930s she emigrated to Czechoslovakia for political reasons, before travelling to Spain in support of the Republican side early in the Civil War. She translated more than twenty books into English and lectured and broadcast in several languages. She died in Vienna while working on her autobiography.
"This is an exceptional book" - George Orwell
"One of the great autobiographies of the twentieth century" -New Republic
"One of the most significant Spanish prose works of [the 20th] century... Moving and dramatic" -New York Review of Books
"One of the best novels written in Spanish" - Gabriel García Márquez
'Perhaps the most definitive and personal account of [Spain's] history during the first four decades of the 20th century' - Guardian
'As essential to an understanding of twentieth-century Spain as the reading of Tolstoy is indispensable to the comprehension of nineteenth-century Russia' - Daily Telegraph