Book Review: ‘A Moment of War’ by Laurie Lee

a moment of war by laurie lee 21-8-13This is a tale of war, written by a poet, in language that draws pictures of a situation impossible to imagine. Lee walks into Spain across the Pyrenees to join the International Brigades for the last push of the Spanish Civil War. He arrives at Figueras, a town which remained loyal to the Republicans and so was bombed heavily by Franco. “War had shrivelled and emptied it, covered it with a sort of grey hapless grime so that even the windows seemed to have no reflections.” Lee is passed from one place to another, arrested as a spy, and finally undergoes basic training [how to use a gun] at Tarazona in La Mancha. Before meeting war face-to-face, which he finally does at Teruel, Lee regards his fellow soldiers, “a harmonious gathering of oddities and shared heroic daftness.” In their tattered uniforms they look more like prisoners of war than a crusading army, he writes. “We were convinced we possessed an invincible armament of spirit, and that in the eyes of the world, and the angels, we were on the right side of this struggle. We had yet to learn that sheer idealism never stopped a tank.”
Perhaps anyone considering going to war should read this book first.
‘A Moment of War’ by Laurie Lee
5 to remember
el/la poeta – poet
la lenguaje – language
fiel – loyal
los republicanos – the Republicans
la suciedad – grime

4 thoughts on “Book Review: ‘A Moment of War’ by Laurie Lee

  1. Lady Hancock

    Marvellous, Sandra. Do keep these coming.

    . My husband passed away on Sep 5. he had been ill a long time, over two years but died peacefully, without pain. At the moment my grief is partly absorbed by busy-ness – but when the Memorial Service is over and I have to begin a new life I shall re-read Laurie Lee. Thank you for the stimulus.

    Gill Hancock


  2. Pingback: Book Review: ‘Andalus’ by Jason Webster | Notes on a Spanish Valley

  3. Pingback: Pankhurst and Ethiopia | Anne Samson - Historian

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