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`Miracle of November' by Dan Kurzman is a graphic and compelling account of the stand of Madrid in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). This is the only book that I have read on this particular battle but I have no hesitation is saying that it is a great military account covering the Loyalists forces holding Madrid against repeated assaults by the rebel forces led by General Franco. The book is very similar in format to Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts book `The Day Guernica Died' (another great book on the Spanish Civil War). In both books the authors let the participants tell the story through first-hand accounts. Dan Kurzman, author of `Left to Die' and many other great military books, tells the story of why and how the Civil War started and then covers the military campaign to seize Madrid with forces flown in from Spanish Morocco. The story is well told and covers both sides of the conflict, the narrative is fast paced and you find it hard to put the book down. I really enjoyed this book and I found myself reading until late at night wondering what was going to happen to many of the participants knowing full well the final result for Spain. The book was first published in 1980 but I don't think that it has aged and I am not aware of any other book in English currently available on the market. The author does not fail to tell the terrible story of murder and the retribution carried out by both sides during the fighting for Madrid. I was not aware of the full story in this regard nor of the numerous acts of bravery carried out by ordinary people helping to save their friends although they were on the `other side'. This is a great book of human courage and bravery against the odds and also of treachery and domination played by the world powers to their own benefit and Spain's detriment.
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