GUERRILLA WAR — SPAIN’S FORGOTTEN CONFLICT

June 5, 2020

IT’S A FORGOTTEN WAR. But its legacy lives on, affecting the lives of thousands of families.

Between Two Fires could not be more timely. This important book throws fresh light on a bitter guerrilla conflict which raged years after Spain’s Civil War and went largely unreported during the long years of dictatorship.

Attempts have been made — through the Ley de la Memoria Histórica — to heal some of the lingering wounds but this has only succeeded in exacerbating the fierce debate. Passions still flare when the Franco years are recalled.

Between Two Fires is the first book in English to examine the subject in depth. It throws fresh light on that desperate rebellion, which raged during the 1940s and 1950s

Scouring official archives from Seville and Barcelona to London and Washington, journalist and author David Baird has sought to dig out the true story behind the anti-Franco resistance movement. For more than five years he travelled across Spain, seeking out survivors and checking official and unofficial archives.

The result is his acclaimed book, Between Two Fires — Guerrilla war in the Spanish sierras. In the words of noted British historian Paul Preston: “As exciting as any thriller, yet deeply moving, it deserves to be read by everyone concerned with the history of contemporary Spain.” 

This is the true story of what happens when humble country folk find themselves in the front line in a secret war. Leading the guerrillas against Franco’s Civil Guard was a legendary figure, Roberto, a veteran of the Civil War and the French Resistance, charismatic but doomed.

Guerrilleros, villagers, Civil Guards give a moving account of bloodshed and betrayal,  courage and heroism. Little did they know that as the guerrilla war raged, politicians as far apart as London and Moscow were pulling the strings.

Check this Maroma Press website for more details and how to order this book, which in the words of Lorca biographer Ian Gibson “throws an intense light on an epic struggle”.

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LA GUERRA OLVIDADA EN LAS SIERRAS DE ESPAÑA

December 12, 2019

SE TRATA DE UNA GUERRA OLVIDADA — la lucha de unos guerrilleros en los años 1940 contra el regimen de Franco.  Una guerra de que el público no fue informada, ni dentro del país ni afuera. Ahora hay una nueva edición en castellano del libro de David Baird, La gente de la sierra — Lucha sin cuartel contra las fuerzas franquistas.

Cada día hay menos gente que vivío en su propia carne aquella lucha. Uno por uno, los testigos se van desapareciendo. Pero el libro La gente de la sierra deja constancia del impacto terrible de aquella guerra desconocida en las sierras de Málaga y Granada.

Recoge el testimonio — apasionante, espeluznante y emocionante — de los campesinos de la Axarquía. Y también de los guerrilleros y de la Guardia Civil. Read the rest of this entry »


Time to hit THE OTHER COSTA

April 29, 2019

Until recently there was no decent guide in English to one of the most scenic parts of southern Spain, a sub-tropical area which enjoys 3,000 hours of sunshine every year. 

But that’s all changed! Pick up a copy of “East of Malaga – Your guide to the Axarquía and Costa Tropical”.

Forget about Torremolinos, Marbella and all the other crowded resorts. Instead, head for The Other Costa. When leaving Malaga airport simply turn left instead of right and head east. Soon you are driving along the stretch of coast that runs from Málaga to Nerja, Almuñecar and Salobreña. Read the rest of this entry »


LIFE, DEATH AND HUMOUR IN A SPANISH VILLAGE

December 28, 2018

EVER MEET A WOMAN cured of disease by visions of the Virgin, a blind beggar who rides a motor-bike, a phantom who terrorises a whole community? You’ll find them all and much more in Sunny Side Up, David Baird’s nostalgic — often humorous, always moving — book about life in rural Spain.

It may read like fiction, but it’s all fact. It’s the Spain that Hemingway never saw and never wrote about.

“Baird’s ironic glance back over the past 30 years is recommended reading for anybody who has ever wondered what happened to ‘the real Spain’,” according to the Sunday Times.

When you travel the back roads of Spain, it’s easy to imagine that nothing ever happens in those whitewashed villages you pass, slumbering in the sun, forgotten by the world, far from the rat race…

Dream on. Behind those white walls you will find more drama and passion than you could ever imagine. All human life is here, in all its varieties.

British journalist David Baird and his Dutch wife found that out fast enough when — after travelling the world — they settled in an Andalusian village, seeking “the simple life”.

Soon they found that things were not so simple. The sub-title of Baird’s book is The 21st century hits a Spanish village. It’s the tale of  a rural community as its shifts from a medieval way of life into the computer age.

There’s passion and pathos, humour and tragedy. And also an insightful dissection of local ways, as well as a wicked glance at expatriate eccentricities.

Baird’s other books include Between Two Fires, a highly acclaimed account of a largely unreported guerrilla war in Spain in the 1940s, as well as travel books and two works of fiction (Don’t Miss The Fiesta! and Typhoon Season).

Sunny Side Up, distributed by Maroma Press, is on sale through English bookshops in Spain and via Amazon and other Internet sellers. It has been selected by several Spanish schools as a set book for its pupils.

The German edition, Leben im Pueblo, translated by Uwe W. Paulsen, is available from the publisher, Verlag Winfried Jenior, Lassallestr. 15, D-34119 Kassel, Germany. Tel.: 0561-7391621, Fax 0561-774148. E-Mail: Jenior@aol.com. Homepage: http://www.jenior.de

Read the rest of this entry »


Take a trip to THE OTHER COSTA

June 29, 2018

Until recently there was no decent guide in English to one of the most scenic parts of southern Spain, a sub-tropical area which enjoys 3,000 hours of sunshine every year. 

But that’s all changed! Pick up a copy of “East of Malaga – Your guide to the Axarquía and Costa Tropical”.

Forget about Torremolinos, Marbella and all the other crowded resorts. Instead, head for The Other Costa. When leaving Malaga airport simply turn left instead of right and head east. Soon you are driving along the stretch of coast that runs from Málaga to Nerja, Almuñecar and Salobreña. Read the rest of this entry »


LAND OF ETERNAL SUMMER

December 3, 2017

FINALLY it seems that winter is coming to Spain after one of the longest summers on record. Finally the ski slopes, from the Sierra Nevada to the Pyrenees, are being groomed for what promises to be a memorable season.

Along the country’s southern coast, however, sun-worshippers from northern climes are still stretching out on the beaches.

It recalls the the time, so long ago, when my wife and I fled the British winter by taking a train across Europe to the coast that some bright spark had dubbed “the Costa del Sol”. Read the rest of this entry »


RUPERT MURDOCH’S BIGGEST BLUNDER

March 31, 2017

AUSTRALIA’S OUTBACK IS A ROUGH, TOUGH PLACE. And nobody knows that better than the world’s leading media tycoon: Rupert Murdoch, dubbed the Dirty Digger.

He controls scores of newspapers and television channels from Tasmania to New York City. But he has not had it all his own way. 

Way back in the 1960s, before Murdoch set out to conquer the world, he learned a useful lesson: before going into battle, carefully check the opposition.

He blundered by starting a circulation war in the wrong place: the Outback. And ended up making a humiliating retreat. The scene was Mount Isa, a tough mining town lost in the red rock desert of northwest Queensland. Read the rest of this entry »


Sunny Side — the 21st century hits a Spanish village

June 11, 2016

Sunny Side Up is David Baird’s ironic look at rural life, reflecting the dramatic changes in southern Spain since he went to live there more than 30 years ago. And now it’s part of a school curriculum — making it required reading in Spanish schools.

Sunny Side cover

“This is a bit daunting,” admitted David, a journalist and author long based in the Axarquía (the eastern corner of Málaga province), when he heard that Sunny Side Up Up — The 21st century hits a Spanish village had been selected as a set book for Fifth Grade students at the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas in Motril, Granada province.

“I have to give presentations to the students and I’m used to asking questions rather than answering them.

“Fielding questions from a bunch of critical students is a different game — especially for somebody who until recently had never made a public speech in his life!”

Hilarious, nostalgic and moving, his book inspired the Sunday Times to comment: “Recommended reading for anybody who ever wondered what happened to the ‘real Spain’.”

After working around the world as a journalist, David has been based for some years in Spain, reporting  for international publications on everything from earthquakes to wine festivals.

Sunny Side Up is published by Maroma Press (www.maromapress.wordpress.com) and is available from English-language bookshops in Spain or from Amazon.

 


Praise from Lonely Planet

January 30, 2016

Lonely Planet, the leading guide book on Spain, has heaped praise on the Maroma Press publication Between Two Fires — Guerrilla war in the Spanish sierras

It comments: “A few communists and republicans continued their struggle after the Civil War in small guerrilla units in Andalucia’s mountains. David Baird’s book Between Two Fires fascinatingly documents the struggle between the guerrillas and the Guardia Civil around the village of Frigiliana in the 1940s and ’50s.”.

The fruit of years of investigation, Between Two Fires is the only book in English that relates what happened AFTER Spain’s Civil War, when rural communities were torn apart as rebels fought to undermine the Franco dictatorship.

To research what happened in those years when tight censorship sealed off Spain from the rest of the world author Baird interviewed former guerrillas, Civil Guards, villagers and their families.

He checked official files all over Spain and as far apart as London and Washington to find out just what happened in a war that went virtually unreported.

In the process  he uncovered details about a brutal crime that was covered up for more than 50 years and about the clandestine training of Spanish guerrillas by members of the American secret service.

Between Two Fires is on sale at English bookshops in Spain and from Amazon and other online outlets.

 


ICE, SNOW AND WAR IN THE SIERRAS

October 31, 2015

ANY DAY NOW the first snows will blanket the summit of one of southern Spain’s highest mountains — just a short distance from the Mediterranean beaches where (hardier) folk swim all year around.

La Maroma, soaring 2,068 metres, is the highest peak in Málaga province — and probably the closest thing to a holy mountain in these parts.

In the days before refrigeration the neveros (literally, “snowmen”) would trek to the top of Maroma to seek snow and ice. This they would pack hard in straw and load it in esparto baskets on the backs of mules. Transported to the coast, the ice was used to cool drinks or make ice-cream. Read the rest of this entry »