Funny how you can pick up a book and it turns out to have a relevance you hadn't realised. In an article titled "For whom the bell tolled" John Walsh in today's Independent writes about the writers that went out to fight in the Spanish Civil War and the reaction of the literary establishment and the arguments the conflict created with some backing the communists but others being caught inbetween not wanting to back either so picking a group like the anarchists as a safer bet.
The article mentions Hemingway and Orwell but also W H Auden that went out to fight but also several other writers including the likes of Ezra Pound who were vocal in the debate it sparked in literary circles about which side was worth fighting for.
The 70th anniversary of the Civil War is on the 17 July so it is an interesting time to be reading For Whom the bell tolls.
Also a good stepping stone tip - the next book to go for after Bell Tolls -is mentioned in the article. It remarks that the other major work to come out of the Civil War was L'Espoir by Andre Malraux. Time to head to eBay or Abe to get that one...
To read the Independent article click on: http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/books/features/article1178558.ece