Hochschild, author of the searing King Leopold’s Ghost, examines the complex political and social aspects of the Spanish Civil War, which began when Francisco Franco led a military uprising against the democratically elected Spanish Republic. He was backed by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Hochschild calls the war “a moral and political touchstone”, and “the opening act of the larger war to come”. He includes Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell in his narrative (and draws his title from Albert Camus: “Men of my generation have had Spain in our hearts… It was there that they learned one can be right and still be beaten…”). But his primary focus is on the 2800 Americans who went to war while the US, in an isolationist mode, stayed out of the conflict.