A Series For The Serious Reader

This Week

Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 by Adam Hochschild

From our partners at Booklist:

Why does a civil conflict in Spain in the 1930s, bloody as it was, still resonate for Americans? The answer lies in the subtitle of this dramatically personal book by the celebrated author of To End All Wars (2011) and King Leopold’s Ghost (1998). Americans remain interested in the Spanish Civil War, which eventually placed General Francisco Franco at the helm of what became a decades-long and highly repressive dictatorship, because Americans had a hand in helping the forces fighting Franco. In 1936 began a fierce, three-year defense of the government of the Spanish Republic against a military uprising led by the self-designated “Generalissimo” Franco, who had the backing of Hitler and Mussolini. Hochschild posits that approximately 2,800 American volunteers (most famously, Ernest Hemingway) fought in the war. Never mind that the republic was backed by the Soviet Union. Hochschild finds that most were Communists, “and we can’t understand them without understanding why Communism then had such a powerful appeal and why the Soviet Union seemed a beacon for hope to so many.” To arrive at such an understanding, Hochschild investigated several Americans who fought in the war, exploring why they went, what their experiences were, and what, in retrospect, they felt about the conflict and their participation in it. The result is a vivid addition to twentieth-century European history collections. ~Brad Hooper

Next Week

The Secret Chord: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks

“A page turner. . .Brooks is a master at bringing the past alive. . .in her skillful hands the issues of the past echo our own deepest concerns:  love and loss, drama and tragedy, chaos and brutality.” – Alice Hoffman, The Washington Post

A rich and utterly absorbing novel about the life of King David, from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of People of the Book and March.
With more than two million copies of her novels sold, New York Times bestselling author Geraldine Brooks has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. Now, Brooks takes on one of literature’s richest and most enigmatic figures: a man who shimmers between history and legend. Peeling away the myth to bring David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.

The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David’s life while also focusing on others, even more remarkable and emotionally intense, that have been neglected.  We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear him—from the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikal, Avigail, and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age. Brooks has an uncanny ability to hear and transform characters from history, and this beautifully written, unvarnished saga of faith, desire, family, ambition, betrayal, and power will enthrall her many fans.

Author Extra

This Week's Guest:

Adam Hochschild


Journalist, lecturer and author of seven books, Adam Hochschild discusses Spain in Our Hearts.  A sweeping history of the Spanish Civil War, told through nine American and British characters including Hemingway and George Orwell.  He unravels the complicated war between fascism, communism, and democracy that preceded World War II.

Air Date:

Check pbs.org and World Channel for air dates in your city.

Bookmarks by Mary Ann Gwinn

Books by Sons & Daughters of African Emigrants (Link to expanded Bookmarks content:  Oyeyemi Extended) Helen Oyeyemi belongs to a group of contemporary writers who have roots in Africa, but their reach is international. They are the sons and daughters of parents who fled African countries during the turbulent era of political revolution in the 1960s and 1970s.  These writers have a point of view that spans divisions of country, race and class. get the full list >

Well Read Book Club

The Well READ Book Club is easy to join . . . and it's FREE!

Book Club members can take part in online discussions with authors and Terry and Mary Ann, share reviews and comments on the Well Read website, participate in a live online chats with authors, and even win free prizes, like autographed books!

This Month's Selection:
book club benefits:
Book Club Benefits:
  • Win Books and Prizes
  • Live Chats with Authors and Well Read Co-Hosts
  • Share Your Ratings, Reviews and Comments
  • Monthly Newsletter
  • …and More!
  • FREE to Join!
close  x
join Well read!
close  x
Update Profile

You can update your account below. All fields are required.

Sign In