Friday, March 02, 2007

A Valley of Betrayal by Tricia Goyer

Do you have a time period you just love to read? Or watch. Whatever. I do. I love the depression era, the WWII era (might as well throw on the roaring 20s). Maybe because I didn't have to live it. Maybe because I like the look of the shoes. I'm shallow, I admit it. But something about that time period fascinates me. It has ever since The Diary of Anne Frank or The Hiding Place. I can't remember which came first for me.

Imagine my joy and surprise when I found out that an author I love to read came up with another topic to write in my time period. But on a war I'd never heard of. The Spanish Civil War.

As usual, Tricia Goyer writes from several points of view that seem so disconnected until...they aren't. I just love it. And I love learning about history that I didn't know even existed.

She apparently didn't either. Here's what Tricia has to say about the story behind the story:

A few years ago when I was researching for my fourth World War II novel, Arms of Deliverance, I came across a unique autobiography. One B-17 crewmember I read about claimed to make it out of German-occupied Belgium after a plane crash due, in part, to his skills he picked up as a veteran of The Spanish Civil War. Reading that bit of information, I had to scratch my head. First of all, I had never heard of the war. And second, what was an American doing fighting in Spain in the late 1930s? Before I knew it, I uncovered a fascinating time in history—one that I soon discovered many people know little about. This is what I learned:

Nazi tanks rolled across the hillsides and German bombers roared overhead, dropping bombs on helpless citizens. Italian troops fought alongside the Germans, and their opponents attempted to stand strong—Americans, British, Irishmen, and others—in unison with other volunteers from many countries. And their battleground? The beautiful Spanish countryside.

From July 17, 1936-April 1, 1939, well before America was involved in World War II, another battle was fought on the hillsides of Spain. On one side were the Spanish Republicans, joined by the Soviet Union and The International Brigade—men and women from all over the world who have volunteered to fight Fascism. Opposing them, Franco and his Fascist military leaders, supported with troops, machinery, and weapons from Hitler and Mussolini. The Spanish Civil War, considered the “training ground” for the war to come, boasted of thousands of American volunteers who joined to fight on the Republican side, half of which never returned home.

Unlike World War II, there is no clear line between white and black, good and evil. Both sides committed atrocities. Both sides had deep convictions they felt worth fighting and dying for.

Loyalists—also know as the Republicans were aided by the Soviet Union, the Communist movement, and the International Brigades. If not for the weapons and volunteers from these sources their fight would have ended in weeks rather than years. While many men fought side by side, their political views included that of liberal democracy, communism and socialism. The Catholic Basque Country also sided with the Republic, mainly because it sought independence from the central government and was promised this by Republican leaders in Madrid.

Nationalists—or Francoists were aided mainly by Germany and Italy. The Nationalist opposed an independent Basque state. Their main supporters were those who believed in a monarchist state and fascist interests. The Nationalist wished for Spain to continue on as it had for years, with rich landowners, the military, and the church running the country. Most of the Roman Catholic clergy supported the Nationalists, except those in the Basque region.

During the Spanish Civil war, terror tactics against civilians were common. And while history books discuss the estimated one million people who lost their lives during the conflict, we must not forget that each of those who fought, who died, had their own tales. From visitors to Spain who found themselves caught in the conflict, to the communist supporters, Basque priests, and Nazi airmen . . . each saw this war in a different light. These are the stories behind A Valley of Betrayal.

Jamie here: In case you missed Tricia's wonderful WWII books, I suggest you jump in on this one from book one. And while you are waiting for the next in the series to come out, you can read From Dust and Ashes, Night Song, Dawn of a Thousand Nights, and Arms of Deliverance.

1 comment:

Tricia Goyer said...

Thank you so much for your kind words! It was great visiting your blog!

I think there needs to be a book on The Spanish Civil War . . . I have a book I think could be converted :-)