Presumably every historian, whatever his personal emotions, tries to be accurate in his writing, and feels a sense of responsibility towards the thousands of readers who will take him at his word, with or without academic pedigrees and scholarly footnotes. Mr. Hills writes well, is frank in his views, and knows a great deal about many aspects of Spain, but his book contains so many errors or exaggerations that I would not be able to recommend it unless one could accompany it with a detailed series of corrections. He begins with the totally misleading statement that “uppermost in the conscience of the greater number of Spaniards is the belief that life on earth is of secondary importance.” There is absolutely no way of knowing how many Spaniards believe in personal immortality. My own experience of Spain, and my reading of recent Spanish literature, both fiction and nonfiction, nevertheless force me unequivocally to reject Mr. Hills’ confident generalization—a generalization which is then followed by a non-sequitur, to the effect that the absence of national and political divisions in the hereafter may perhaps explain why Spaniards have found political activities so important on earth.

In his short chapter on the Muslim conquest, Hills writes, without the slightest suggestion that the incident may be only legendary, that in 718 “a Visigothic nobleman, Pelayo, defeated a force of Arabs sent to liquidate him.” Speaking of one of the decisive battles of the Reconquista at Las Navas de Tolosa in the year 1212, he states that the Muslim commander “had formed a barrier of 10,000 Negroes bound with chains to form a human wall around his tent. The Navarrese crashed through them without counting the cost.” There is no evidence for such a human chain. Slicing through one, if it had existed, would have cost less than fighting unchained infantry or cavalry. But if a movie is to be made, the cutting up of the 10,000 should make a great scene.

With regard to accuracy the situation is no better in the chapters on contemporary Spain. Fernando de los Ríos, “far from being a pantheistic Krausist like his uncle, was a Marxist with an abiding hatred of all religion.” The Krausist doctrine of panentheism is quite different from pantheism; Fernando de los Ríos was distinguished by his eloquent defense of the humane, ecumenical, and charitable facets of the Spanish Catholic tradition; there were and are many Marxists in and out of Spain who do not feel a hatred, abiding or otherwise, for all religion. On the same page Indalecio Prieto is referred to as a Mason, a false charge which even that eager polemical journalist tired of denying during his long life-time. Hills defines the Radical Socialist Party of Marcelino Domingo as “ideologically Marxist. It was in fact a small bourgeois group without the slightest Marxist character. He has Luis Companys declaring Catalonia an independent republic in April, 1931, whereas it was Colonel Macià who made that gesture, and Luis Companys who helped the Madrid govennment to get the Colonel to withdraw the demand.

Despite the many inaccuracies, Hills is fair-minded in his interpretation of passionate events, a good example being his discussion of the post-Civil War repression. Nor do I blame him personally for the errors on Prieto and Companys. No doubt nine out of ten books currently available on the 1930s contain these errors, repeated from one another. Since 1939, Spain has been smothered in propaganda and mythology. Libraries ought to establish a special hyphenated category for Spain: “history-mythology.” Under this combined rubric Hills, along with Joaquín Arrarás, García Venero, Comín Colomer, Generals Kindelán and Martínez Campos, and many another, would get high marks; but not as a historian without the hyphen.