You've gotta love us, we come in all shapes and sizes, with regards to how we approach our rather strange little hobby, grown men, playing with little toy soldiers, freaks, geeks, nerds, you name it we're called it!!
But, do you realise, that in amongst the hobby, there are some incredibly talented painters, and model makers, and, some incredibly intelligent writers, and thinkers. We all take a different approach to our gaming hobby, for some folks, its the simple joy of turning up at a club night, or gathering a group of like minded mates together, setting up a table, deploying two armies, and throwing a few dice, its a chance to relax, have a laugh, and enjoy a bit of socialising with like minded mates.
For others, it can become an obession, you get transfixed on a particular period of history, or a famous general, or perhaps you just have to recreate Waterloo in 28mm ( Yes Chris Cope, I a looking at you here!!)
For me, its a mix of the two, I love to get together with the New Buckenham gang, after a stressful week at work, and just chill, throw some dice, and listen to the banter that does the rounds, but I have this obsession you see, that one particular dark period of a certain country's history, that still echoes on today, for me its..............
The Spanish Civil War 1936-39
Its a common misunderstanding, that this war was between the Fascists, and the Communists, and if you boil it down to that simple conclusion, then you are completely wrong. This war is so much more than that, and to try and understand its complexity requires a bit of reading.
You can of course, just paint up two opposing forces, and find a suitable set of rules, then get on with a game or two, or you could immerse yourself, and read, yes thats right read, and I am not talking about a google search, I mean real paper books.
As this blog is probably going to be very orientated towards this conflict over the course of this year, I thought hey why not throw a few options onto the table, for folks to have a look at. Now the books I'm going to suggest, are not Ospreys, or a quick whip through the salient points, but more in-depth, and not all of them are dry military tomes either.
So, good starting point
Beevor's book is a great start, it covers the causes that build up to the conflict, the war itself, and the aftermath. Some people say it has a left-wing slant, but I did not feel that at all. This is the one book in my collection, that gets referred back to on a number of occasions.
Ok, I will admit, its not an easy read, being a more scholarly and serious book, but it does cover the war in a great depth.
Ok, so there's a nice intro to the war itself, but what about the country? Good old Spain, favourite tourist destination for the Great British sun seeker, with its high rise hotels, endless beaches, and geared towards keeping us happy, a little taste of England on a foreign shore, where the sun burnt examples of your average moronic Brit abroad can be seen, shambling about looking for "egg and Chips" pointing at the beer taps in the "English Pub" shouting Oi Pedro Uno bigo beero poor favor. Sadly this tends to be the only taste of Spain that most of us have experienced, and it is so far removed from the reality.
So here are three books, that will give you some idea about Spain, its people its customs and its turbulent history
All three books have been written by people, who have lived, and worked in Spain for a number of years, and if you are seriously interested in trying to understand the Spanish Civil War, then I whole heartedly recommend picking up these three books, and having a good read. Because Spain goes a whole lot deeper, and to understand what made a nation split itself in two, pick up guns, and kill each other, requires that you peel away the surface layers, the gloss that hides the ugly truth lying beneath, and get to the rotten heart of the subject.
I coud list a plethora of titles that are worth reading, and maybe along the way I shall touch on a few other titles worth looking into, but for now, start with Beevor, and I would say the Giles Tremlett book as a companion read
I would love to hear what other SCW gamers think on the subject.