Franco may have won the war, but he lost the literature. So finds Nick Caistor in Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas. Javier Cercas’s Soldados de Salamina (Soldiers of Salamis) is a hybrid, metafictional (or self-reflective) blend of fiction and fact, novel and. Soldados de Salamina: Soldiers of Salamis. Javier Cercas, Author TusQuets $ (p) ISBN Tweet. More By and About This Author.

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In the final moments of the Spanish Civil War, fifty prominent Nationalist prisoners are executed by firing squad.

Among them is the writer and fascist Rafael Sanchez Mazas. As the guns fire, he escapes into the forest, and can hear a search party and their dogs hunting him down.

The branches move and he finds himself looking into slldados eyes of a militiaman, and faces death for the second time that day. But the unknown soldier simply turns and walks away.

Sanchez Mazas becomes a national hero and the soldier disappears into history.

Javier Cercas

As Cercas sifts the evidence to establish what happened, he realises that the true hero may not be Sanchez Mazas at all, but the soldier who chose not to shoot him. Why did he spare him?


And might he still be alive? In a time when some voices were still just starting to be heard gain, this book clearly points out that soldwdos is merely the opinion of who tells the story, and a hero and villain can be hard to identify when faced with individual tales. The book is put into three parts.

The tale is written as if the author is retelling what he has heard, giving it a personal approach. After hiding in the Chilean embassy for the first year of the war, he is then taken prisoner on the ship Uruguay until the end of the war, when he is taken to the countryside to be killed by firing squad.

There his miraculous escape occurs. Most Civil War tales tend to be told from the Republican point of view, but the author chose to see it from the Nationalist point of view instead, and makes no assumptions.

It shows how each individual was their own man, fighting through the turmoil that erupted around them. A moment of a shared gaze between a fleeing fascist and a Republican, who chose not to pull the trigger is the centre, along with the javker that men are men, never heroes in war. A founding member of the Falange, he escaped the fate of his cerfas Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera. The book was a best-seller in Spain, and I am ashamed to admit it has taken me this long to read the book.


It is rare to read a Civil War book which such a lack of prejudice. You are commenting using your WordPress.

Soldiers of Salamis – Wikipedia

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Skip to content In the final moments of the Spanish Civil War, fifty prominent Nationalist prisoners are executed by firing squad. Previous Valencia Photos of the Month: Got a comment, question or suggestion?

Soldados de Salamina

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