Adam Hochschild on the moral drama of the Spanish Civil War


Historian Adam Hochschild discusses Spain in Our Hearts, his eye-opening chronicle of the Spanish Civil War.  When General Francisco Franco led a coup against Spain's left-leaning elected government, three thousand Americans defied the strictures of the US government and crossed the Atlantic to join the Spanish Republican Army and fight the forces of fascism. Here Hochschild delves into how he found so many fresh angles on the conflict — for instance, the story of how an American oil tycoon secretly bankrolled Franco — and how he understands its lessons.

Hochschild is one of the best — the most evocative and sensitive — writers on the great moral dramas of history. He is the author of eight books, including King Leopold's Ghost (on the drama of imperialism in the Belgian Congo), Bury the Chains (on the drama of slavery and abolitionism in the 19th-century transatlantic), and To End All Wars (on the drama of World War I). A founder of Mother Jones magazine, he now teaches narrative nonfiction at UC Berkeley's School of Journalism. 

Resources on the Spanish Civil War

Adam Hochschild, Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 (Houghton Mifflin, 2016)

The American Lincoln Brigade Archives

Virginia Cowles, Looking for Trouble (1941)

Guide to Spanish Civil War digital archives and primary sources (Yale University)

Music resources for this episode

Blue Dot Sessions"Jackbird" (license), "Front Runner" (license), and "Drifting Spade" (license)

Charlie Haden and Carla Bley, "Introduction to People" (C. Bley), from The Ballad of the Fallen (ECM, 1983)