In the Shadow of Defeat: Radical Lives After the Spanish Civil War

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Eighty years ago in Spain an international war against fascism was fought, and lost. While the resulting World War drove back fascism and the Nazi empire, the progressive dream which antifascists had fought for in Spain was paralysed by Europe’s socially conservative postwar order. But the memory of that fight and dream lived on in progressive people the world over. 'In the Shadow of Defeat' tells the story of life after that defeat, and of the haunting which ensued across Europe and the West. But it also tells the story of how defeat brought forth powerful new ways of understanding – and living – progressive politics.

This story is told through the interlocking lives of five people who were caught at the heart of the storm in Spain. Europeans and Americans, men and women, straight and gay, activists and artists: all were significant historical players, and clear, courageous thinkers. All were politically engaged, and also driven by a strong creative vision.
The book follows the five protagonists after Spain, as they were scattered across continents by continuing war, political repression, and the Holocaust. It tells the stories of how they dealt with displacement and being haunted by Spain, but also of how they transformed their losses into new ideas, new creative projects, and new lives. Today we can recognise their predicament, and claim as our own many of their fears, and hopes. But their lives offer us more than a mirror, and more than a way of experiencing the turbulent past – for each has a particular quality of courageous imagination in facing up to the future, each very differently, but always in transformational ways. So we can draw on their five stories of resilience, honesty, and insight to help us face, survive, and reconfigure the challenges of our own history, and our own future, in new and difficult times.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages300
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

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